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Everything You Need to Know about Teaching English in Spain with BEDA

teach english in spain beda

I began this blog right before I moved to Spain in 2010 to teach English for two years. Consequently, I receive many queries, tweets, emails and carrier pigeons asking me how I did it. Now I went through the auxiliares de conversación program through the Spanish Ministry of Education, thought there are several other routes you can also get the magical golden ticket (visa) to live in Spain as an American. Yari runs the blog Lady in Spain, and teaches English with the BEDA program, one of the alternatives to the messy auxiliar program. Luckily, Yari is kind enough to share her thoughts and give us a breakdown of the BEDA program. 

While the Ministry program is, by far, the most well known program for teaching English in Spain, there are other options. One of those options is the Bilingual English Development and Assessment program aka BEDA. I have been in Spain for 8 months now as an auxiliar with the BEDA program and I could not be happier.  I have kept a blog following my Spain journey, which you can see here. 

teach english in spain beda

 What is Beda?

Their website states that BEDA is a program that “offers the opportunity to live in Spain as a Language & Culture Assistant, get valuable experience working in a classroom, learn about the rich and enticing culture of Spain and have an eye-opening, unforgettable experience while providing an enriching addition to your resume.” Some other things you should know is that BEDA is only for concertados (a privately run school that is funded by the State). Also, all of the schools that participate in BEDA are Catholic schools. The program requires you to take a course though Comillas University. This course is meant to help you learn more about bilingual education and assessment. They also give you ideas of activities that you could do with your students. This year, the classes were held Friday afternoons. The class lasts about 3 hours. I should mention that the classes are about once a month and that you get a break time during those 3 hours. Personally, I didn’t mind the classes and I feel like they look good on a resume. However, I know plenty of BEDA auxiliares who feel they didn’t really gain much from the classes. It’s all a matter of opinion. Part of the classes you take are Spanish courses. You take a Spanish test during orientation and that decides what group you will be placed in for the Spanish classes or if you test out of the classes entirely. I tested out of them, but I have friends who took them and found them to be pretty helpful.

Where are you placed?

The vast majority (300 of 365) of the placements for BEDA are in Madrid. The other regions are: Andalucía, Canary Islands, Castilla-La Mancha, Galicia and Murcia.

teach english in spain beda

What do you do in BEDA?

Essentially, you help teach English is some way or another at the school to which you are assigned. I am lucky in that I am at a great school where I work with the English program. I work with secondary students and I love it. I like the way I am used at my school because I don’t have to do any lesson planning. I meet with the BEDA coordinator weekly and we decide what I’ll be doing with the students. She encourages me to come with ideas and give my opinion on what activities I think will and won’t work with the students. In Bachillerato, I cover the listening and speaking portions of their textbook. If I finish those early, then I can do an activity of my choosing with the class. Not all auxiliares have the same set-up. I know some who do lesson planning and work with the science/geography teachers rather than English. Just like with any of these programs, the key is to be open-minded and adaptable.

What’s the application process like?

Applying to BEDA is actually pretty simple. You go to their site and click on the link that says “Apply Now.” That link is not active now, but during the application period it will take you to a PDF that you fill out with basic information such as your Spanish level and education. Along with that PDF, you email a cover letter, and CV (which should have your picture) to the coordinator. After this, there is the interview process. You will get emailed a date and time to have a Skype interview with one of the coordinators. DO NOT STRESS OVER THIS INTERVIEW. It is a brief interview, in English, where they will ask you things like what age group you would prefer to teach and how many hours you would like to work. Then, you have the opportunity to ask any lingering questions you may have about the program or living in Spain in general. Once this is done…you wait and wait for the email that will inform you if you have been accepted. Some people are placed on the waitlist.

teach english in spain beda

Now let’s break down the pros and cons of the BEDA program.

I prefer to start with the cons:

    • Mandatory Class: While I may see this as a pro, I do understand that it deters a lot of people from wanting to do the program.

    • Pay is based on the hours you work and you don’t really have much say in how many hours you will be assigned. The pay scale for BEDA is as follows:

  • 24 hours: 1200€ (gross)

  • 22 hours: 1100€ (gross)

  • 20 hours: 1000€ (gross)

  • 18 hours: 900€ (gross)

  • Most BEDA auxiliares work 5 days week. We aren’t as lucky as many of the Ministry auxiliares who benefit from a 3-day weekend every week. [However, don’t think that BEDA auxiliares don’t travel as often—we do. Just on a slightly more limited time frame than Ministry auxiliares].

  • Program fee of 175€

  • Majority of placements in Madrid (again this is relative – if you really want to be in Madrid, than this is obviously a pro).

  • The first month, you are only paid half of your regular stipend because you only work half of the month.

teach english in spain beda

Now for the pros:

  • Payment is always on-time and consistent.

  • BEDA helps you with all the NIE paperwork. You fill out all the forms during orientation and you go in groups with other auxiliares (and a BEDA coordinator) to the NIE fingerprinting appointment. They will email you with the date and time that you have your appointment.

  • BEDA sets up your bank account for you. All of the auxiliares have an account with La Caixa. You will get all your bank paperwork and card at orientation as well.

  • Healthcare provided by Caser

  • If you ever have an issue at your school, the coordinators (Samantha and Esther) are extremely helpful. For example, I was originally at a different school and I was not happy with the work environment. I called the coordinator and she offered to switch me to another school stating that sometimes auxiliares and schools aren’t compatible and you need to find one that suits you.  I started at my new school the very next day and I could not be happier with my school, the faculty, and my students.

  • While all the schools are Catholic, they understand that not all the auxiliares are Catholic or even religious. I have a friend who is Jewish and he has felt very welcomed by his school.

  • Mandatory class. I see this as a pro because I did find the classes to be helpful and let’s be honest…it looks pretty damn good on a resume. Also, the classes make it really easy to meet fellow auxiliares.

  • There is no limit to the amount of years you can renew.

In all honesty, I have had a really great experience with BEDA this past year. I actually just received my email stating that I will be at the same school I currently teach at, but my hours have increased from 18 to the maximum of 24 for the next school year. I know that many people have gotten their acceptance emails recently, so please feel free to leave any questions you may have in the comments. Also, if you’ve had experience with BEDA, I’d love to hear your opinion of it…especially those who have done both BEDA and the Ministry program.

Be sure to keep up with Yari’s adventures in Spain on her blog Lady in Spain and on twitter!

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49 Responses to Everything You Need to Know about Teaching English in Spain with BEDA

  1. amelie88 May 16, 2013 at 3:21 am #

    I’ve been following Yari’s blog since before she left for Spain and I knew about BEDA when I was in Madrid. There is also another auxiliar program named UCETAM that I did and it also places auxiliares in colegios concertados. However there is no mandatory class and the pay is slightly higher–you have a choice of working 25 or 18 hours. It seems that both programs are fairly similar. The one hiccup with UCETAM is that there is a limit to how many times you can do the program–you can only do it a maximum of two years due to some weird bureaucracy. My friend who did UCETAM will be doing BEDA next year since she has done the two years with UCETAM (she got herself a Spanish novio, hence the third year as an auxiliar in Madrid!). I also wrote about all the ways you can teach English in Madrid over at Go Overseas and I covered both the auxiliar program, UCETAM, and BEDA. :)

    • Liz May 21, 2013 at 12:31 am #

      Hey! I would love to interview you about UCETAM! Would you be interested? I never knew anyone specific who had done it! Tons of questions :)

      • amelie88 May 21, 2013 at 12:46 am #

        I’d be honored! Ask away! E-mailing is probably easier–ameliesayshola@gmail.com

      • Elizabeth "Liz" March 13, 2014 at 4:37 am #

        Yes I am interested. I am not young however. Does age matter? I am 67 but have lots of energy. I don’t speak Spanish but would like to learn. Do you recommend Rosetta Stone?

        • Katraf July 13, 2014 at 5:32 pm #

          Hi I am also “not young” I am 56 and currently learning spanish 2 nights a week at university. I think I need to be living in Spain so that I get practical experience and am forced to listen and speak the language on a daily basis. You can read a text book till you go mad but we don’t have enough speaking or listening practice to helpmeet really sink in. I am also interested in being a language and culture assistant. I would love to be in a smaller town population less than 200,000 or so. I like Liz am full of energy and very motivated to make this opportunity happen. I am enrolling in a Cambridge CELTA course and have put my name down to assist refugees with their English here in Brisbane Australia. How easy is it for people of our age group to get a position? Regards Kat

    • michael May 23, 2014 at 7:53 am #

      Amelie I would like to ask some questions about teaching in Spain.

  2. Trevor Huxham May 16, 2013 at 5:31 am #

    Thanks for running this really informative guest post, Liz; I haven’t decided what the next step is after Year 2 in Galicia with the auxiliares program, and BEDA is sounding more and more attractive.

    • Liz May 20, 2013 at 11:41 pm #

      Yeah, I wish I had known more about BEDA before I left Spain

  3. Daniel Catalan May 17, 2013 at 11:19 am #

    Well said, Yari. You da best.

    • Liz May 21, 2013 at 12:25 am #

      Thanks Yari!

  4. Kirstyn May 17, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

    Woah! The two main blogs I follow have collided into one! This post makes me happy! I accepted a position with BEDA recently. The coordinators are SUPER helpful!! I have nothing but good things to say about the program thus far. I’m thrilled to be a part of BEDA for next year.

    • Liz May 21, 2013 at 12:35 am #

      Excellent news, that makes me really happy!

  5. Jessica May 19, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    This program sounds amazing! I’m playing with the thought of teaching English in Spain, and if I go ahead with it then BEDA will be the group I apply with. The coordinators sound lovely and helpful. Fingers crossed!

    • Liz May 21, 2013 at 12:36 am #

      It sounds like a better all around deal than the auxiliar program, that’s for sure!

  6. Alex May 20, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

    Nice to know about BEDA. Just wanted to know, if a new migrant could become eligible for it or a PR is must have?

    • Liz May 21, 2013 at 12:37 am #

      Not sure I understand your question…

  7. northierthanthou May 20, 2013 at 8:52 pm #

    That’s a heck of a hockey party.

    • Liz May 21, 2013 at 12:34 am #

      I know, right?

  8. Ferdinand Pareno June 26, 2013 at 2:24 pm #

    Is the pay from Beda enough to pay for lodging and the necessities?

  9. Patricia July 13, 2013 at 1:23 am #

    Hi, I love to found this info… I am from Costa Rica and I would like to do this program. I study English Teaching.

  10. xandra July 13, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

    Thank you SOOOOO much for doing this, I’ve been looking for good programs to teach abroad in Spain and this really helped me tons with my research. I am working on my Linguistics degree with concentration in ESL teaching so this really helped. Cheers!

  11. mackenzie July 25, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

    Do you have to speak fluent spanish to do the BEDA program? I was going to do the CELTA to teach english abroad and I wanted to go to a spanish speaking country but my spanish is far from fluent

  12. Sergio Enriquez July 26, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

    I’m very much interested in doing either the Auxiliares or BEDA program but want to be financially prepared before I apply! For those of you who have done the program already, did you save a good amount of money before going? In addition, are you living paycheck to paycheck (and is it enough) or are you also working somewhere else to be able to afford your experience there (examples)? I would really appreciate the advice!

  13. Michelle August 10, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

    Hi Liz!

    I am wondering about BEDA, and about UCETAM, but also about possibilities of teaching English in Barcelona. Would you be available for a Skype chat sometime? :)

    Thanks! And happy travels!
    Michelle

  14. Jase August 22, 2013 at 10:34 pm #

    Thank you again for getting back to me on the above issues, I really appreciate it! One thing I am beginning to wonder about the Comillas classes…do we pay for them, or are they provided?

  15. Ronaldo October 22, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

    Hi Liz,
    Very cool article. I just would like to know, how certain it is to get the job since there is a fee to apply?
    I wouldn’t want to throw money away…
    Thanks

  16. Ronaldo October 22, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

    Hi Liz,
    Can one apply to start in the second semester (Jan 2014)?

  17. Damir November 21, 2013 at 3:55 am #

    How do you apply to BEDA? The link no longer works and my Spanish is not good enough to find my way around the website. Am I too late to apply for the next school year? Any help is appreciated!

  18. Lauren Rios December 8, 2013 at 9:56 pm #

    Hi, I’m very interested in applying in applying to the BEDA program but the link doesn’t work. How do I access the application?

    Thanks, Lauren Rios

  19. Rodrigo January 1, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

    Hey Liz,
    Thank you so much for all of the valuable information! I graduate from college in May, and I think a year in Spain will definitely help me out in different ways. I will be applying to both programs (definitely Galicia for the Ministry program)

    • Liz January 3, 2014 at 8:59 pm #

      Galicia is one of the best spots to be an auxiliar!

  20. meghan January 12, 2014 at 4:15 am #

    I was curious if you found another teaching opportunity in logrono and how you did it. Most of these programs are in madrid but i really want to be in logrono or smaller towns but I dont know where to find information on it! Thanks so much for your blog!

  21. La Tejana @ Debt Free Tejana February 4, 2014 at 12:54 pm #

    Hey Liz and Yari! Great post- thank you for all of the information. I had not known about the BEDA program and am SUPER interested. My biggest concern is that I am too old. What is the typical age of student participants? I’ll be 26 by the time I’d be able to go and while I know 26 is young, is the program typically college students taking a year off or students right out of college?

    Thanks!

  22. Jennifer February 15, 2014 at 5:09 pm #

    If you had to do it all over again, what town/city would you choose? Im having a hard time deciding if I want to be in a large city like madrid or a smaller one. What are your thoughts on the two?

  23. Dru February 27, 2014 at 9:27 pm #

    I am dying waiting for the placement e-mail from BEDA for this upcoming year. Can I ask if anyone knows the chance that I will be placed outside of Madrid? I am living in Madrid now, and would like to live in Toledo. BEDA sounds great, but I am doing a similar program this year (called UP education, I would not recommend it) and I’d like to make a bit more money, so I plan on doing the Ministerio Auxiliares program if I am placed in Madrid with BEDA. Anyone with BEDA placed out of Madrid? Any ideas what the likelihood is?

  24. Shauna May 30, 2014 at 9:42 pm #

    Hello,

    I was accepted into the BEDA program for the next school year. I was placed about an hour outside of Madrid and will be looking for a flat in Charmartin. Are you familiar with this area? I would love to hear more about your experience with the BEDA program, Madrid and your choice to teach again.

    Thanks!

  25. Christopher June 19, 2014 at 6:21 am #

    Hi Liz,

    I really enjoyed your article! Thank you so much for sharing your experience with the program. I’m not currently looking for a job teaching abroad, but i’ve become very interested in the idea of teaching abroad. Would it be possible to schedule a 15-20 minute call out of your busy schedule to ask a few questions about your experience and your advice on teaching abroad? Thank you for your time.
    Best,
    Chris

  26. Courtney July 9, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

    Have you ever researched any sort of au-pair programs through any country? I’d be curious to know if you have info on things like that- or know of any trustworthy blogs that do! :)

  27. su arıtma August 2, 2014 at 12:49 am #

    You actually make it look quite simple using your business presentation nonetheless to locate this disorder to get actually something which I feel I’d under no circumstances realize. It sort of feels too intricate and intensely big for me. I am taking a look frontward in your upcoming post, I will try and purchase the suspend from it!

  28. Adrienne September 12, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

    I would love to speak with you about teaching English in Spain. I am thinking about it but would like to start in January 2015. I currently hold a masters degree in educational counseling, a school counseling certification in NYS, and have taught ESL (English as a second language) as well as many other subjects for the New York City Department of Education. Are there credentials enough?

  29. Spanish affirmative tu commands activity September 24, 2014 at 2:00 am #

    Hey! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this post reminds
    me of my previous rolm mate! He alwats kept chatting about this.
    I will forward this write-up to him. Fairly cerrtain he will have a good read.
    Thank you for sharing!

  30. Aubrie December 8, 2014 at 5:51 am #

    Hello!

    I have a question about the courses, from what I’ve seen on the website it makes it sound like the obligatory courses are spread out over two years. Is it necessary to do this job for two years? Do you still receive the certification thing if you only do it for one year?

    Thanks for all the info!
    :)

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