Back in the fall of 2009, my senior year of college, I decided I wanted to move back to Spain after graduation to teach English for a year or two before making my way in the world. Hearing the auxiliar de conversación program was the best way to get a visa for Spain, I applied with enthusiasm as soon as the application opened.
The Auxiliar de Conversación program in Spain places Americans (among others) in public elementary and high schools for 8-9 months. You receive a monthly grant of 700 euros per month and you work 12 hours a week (1,000 euros and 16 hrs/wk – Madrid) from the Spanish Ministry of Education. You can access the online application here. There are other ways to come to Spain to teach English but as an American it’s very difficult to get sponsored for work papers, the ministry and other programs provide us with student visas. The other main programs are CIEE and BEDA.
My first year in Córdoba I didn’t read blogs, I didn’t know anyone who had done the program, and I didn’t even know about the Facebook groups. There are so many things I wish I had known that I learned the hard way. About halfway through the year, depressed as hell and ready to call it quits, I decided to give the auxiliars a second chance and share everything I had learned on my blog, hoping to help future auxiliars not make the same mistakes as me and to have the best year possible and be prepared!
And you know what happened? My second year in Logroño could not have been more perfect. I had the best year of my life and I hope to encourage you all to the same, any which way I can, because I know you will not get this kind of help from the Spanish government or from the people who run this program.
My goal is to encourage you to go live abroad for a year and travel the world and show you how to do so you have the time of your life.
Where to start?
- A guide to the 17 regions in Spain and how to chose where you want to live
- Comprehensive budget breakdown of costs of living and travel for over 30 cities in Spain
- Everything You Need to Know about Teaching English in Spain with BEDA
Practical tips for Auxiliar de Conversación in Spain
- What you should do before you leave for Spain to prepare for your move
- How to pack for a year in Spain
- Tips for finding a great apartment in Spain
- Everything you need to know about setting up a bank account, cell phone and internet
- What to do with your student loans while you’re an auxiliar
- How to make extra money while living in Spain
Problems with the Auxiliar de Conversación Program
- Late payments from the ministry
- 5 reasons why I hate the auxiliar program <—don’t hate me too much, this stuff needed to be said!
- Residency problems, trying to renew my NIE for the first time
- When I almost got deported twice
Musings about the program and Spain
- Reflection on the auxiliar program after 1 year (read this everyone!)
- Why I chose to live in La Rioja
- Breaking up to travel
- Teaching English in Spain
- Saying goodbye to home for a year in Spain, dealing with homesickness
- Why you should travel and live abroad at some point in your life-5 lessons I’ve learned
- Leaving Spain after 2 years with the auxiliars
- Learning Spanish
- On friendship and long-term travel
- 10 life lessons I’ve learned from travel
- Quitting my job to travel
- 5 things nobody tells you about moving abroad
- How not to lose your mind before a trip
- Why you have no excuse not to travel
- 5 things nobody tells you about falling in love abroad
How-to articles and thoughts on living in Spain and cultural differences
- Greetings and the double kiss
- Religion in Spain
- How to party in Spain
- Semana Santa for beginners
- The drinking culture in Spain
- Eating out in Spain
- Different typical “drinks” in Spain
- Flamenco and bullfights
- Breakfast in Spain
- 12 things I miss about America
- 12 things I miss about Spain
- The kinds of people you’ll meet in the auxiliar program
- Learning Spanish and things NOT to say
- How to swear in Spain
- How to dress in Spain-women
- How to dress in Spain-men
- The legendary Doner Kebab
- Interviews with different expats in Spain and their thoughts and tips on their regions – The Expat Files
- Highlighting a different pincho or tapa every week in Logroño – Pincho of the Week series
For traveling around Spain and destination tips, go here