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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
70 Comments on “Everything You Need to Know about Teaching English in Spain with BEDA”
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.
Excellent news, that makes me really happy!
Well said, Yari. You da best.
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.
Yeah, I wish I had known more about BEDA before I left Spain
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. 🙂
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 🙂
I’d be honored! Ask away! E-mailing is probably easier–[email protected]
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?
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
Amelie I would like to ask some questions about teaching in Spain.
Hi! I am interested in teaching English abroad in Spain as well. I was wondering if there is any limit to how long you can do the program? For instance, I will be going to Japan this summer and thought about stopping in Spain on the way back and doing something like this. I have to return in the fall to complete my Bachelor’s Degree so I am unable to stay. If I would not be able to teach, are there any other jobs I can do in Spain that would require English native skills and no time limit?