To Be or Not To Be (An Auxiliar de Conversacion)

So it’s been more than once now that I’ve gotten a rather quizzical look from someone wondering how is it remotely possible that I’m A) living in Europe legally and B) traveling to so many new countries. I must be some sort of paid blogger or international food critic (oh how I wish)?

Nope, I’m an Auxiliar de Conversacion!

Now you’re probably wondering okay well what’s that??

It’s officially called the Cultural Ambassadors: North American Language and Culture Assistants in Spain. Link Here Application period ends April 6th 

It’s a pretty rad program for anyone who is looking to live abroad legally. Most teaching positions in Europe are usually paid under the table which is a nicer way to say you’re living illegally.

Program Requirements:

  1. Hold a US or Canadian Passport
  2. Have either a BA/BS degree or have attended some form of community college
  3. English as a first language
  4. Be in good mental stance
  5. Pass a background check
  6. Between 21-35 (although there’s participants older than that, just can’t be born before 1958)

Program Needs: (According to ME)

  1. Have at LEAST $3,000 in savings- this is extremely important as many regions do not get paid on time. I was lucky this year and never had that issue but be prepared to wait a month or two… or three.
  2. Have at LEAST an elementary/intermediate understanding of the Spanish language. You might be lucky again (like me) and get placed in a very touristy area where many people speak English. You will be amazed however how much people really appreciate when you speak Spanish to them! More than likely you’ve taken it at one point in your life so never a bad time to brush up.
  3. Join EVERY facebook group that has to do with your region and the primary one. This is super helpful because any question you may have or might have will be answered some how on one of these pages.
  4. HAVE AN OPEN MIND: I cannot stress this enough. Sometimes you’re paid late, sometimes you don’t get along with teachers at your school, sometimes you miss the bus because you don’t quite understand where you even are, sometimes you feel like you need more to do. Just keep an open mind, anything can happen in this program so be prepared for all of it.
  5. Consider smaller regions, I’ve heard so many positive things from the northern regions of Spain, don’t just select Madrid because it seems like the go-to. (The Balearic Islands are also extremely overlooked but incredible)
  6. Once you live in your new region start looking for private lessons. They will help you afford WAY more trips and it allows you to meet and become friends with Spanish families! Pass out flyers at your school or look on


Perks of the program:

  1. You live in Spain…
  2. You live in Spain legally!
  3. You get to travel around Europe for rather cheap, so far I have been to Paris, Morocco, Stuttgart, London and Poland. I’m still planning on going to Switzerland, Aosta, Las Palmas, Milan, Athens, Sofia, Amsterdam, Porto, Reykjavik, Valencia, Sevilla and Bologna, THEN I get to go back with my dad to Paris, Stuttgart, Munich and Rome. So yeah, travel is a giant plus.
  4. You get to learn a second language! Bilingual people are proven smarter 🙂
  5. You only work 12 hours a week but make enough to scrape by (without lessons) it is much easier with.

I’m not going to put any negatives about the program on here other than prepare for it to be completely disorganized no matter what region you are in (it’s Spain). The negatives REALLY depend on your mindset and how your school treats you so I can’t comment specifically on what you might encounter. If you do have questions though about my own experience feel free to reach out! 

But what do I have to do? 

Essentially you are a student teacher or “language assistant”. You are working with another English teacher in a classroom ranging from infant to adults. Some work at private schools, others public and few at language schools. Some teachers will have you plan complete lessons for the class either about the USA or different holidays. Other teachers might just have you follow their own lessons and prefer you to speak so students can hear our pronunciation. There are few teachers though, that might not utilize you… but don’t be afraid to stand up and say hey! I’d like to help out.

This program has felt like I’ve been transported back into my freshman year of college (probably helps that I have 5 roommates) but there is always something to do, very little stress on working and SO many new friends to be made. A lot of my confidence has come back since participating in this program. I’ve gained so many small victories, like setting up my bank account totally in Spanish!


If you’re tired of that 9 to 5 job but just not sure how to get out? Considering applying today. You won’t know until you try! 



Poland: A Beautiful Country With a Harsh Past

Poland had forever been one of those places that I’ve learned about in school. I had studied the nazi takeover and the concentration camps since I was in middle school. We even went on a class field trip to the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. When I made the decision to come to Spain I started to look at what countries I would be interested in visiting. Although everything I had studied in school pointed to a deteriorated country I still had the urge to see it for myself.

My roommate Kyra and I decided to spend 3 nights in Poland. Our original plan had changed a few times (thanks Ryanair for an earlier flight!) We ended up settling on spending the first day in Krakow, second day touring the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp and finishing our trip in Warsaw.


Probably one of the most impressive European cities I have seen thus far. What I didn’t expect was the incredible amount of influence of American and British brands. I think there was a Costa Coffee/KFC or McDonalds on just about every block! We only had about an hour in Warsaw before catching our train to Krakow so we did get to try the polish McDonalds. Now Im convinced it’s better just about EVERYWHERE but the US.

One we arrived in Krakow we checked into our adorable hostel and were lucky enough to have our own room! Something you really appreciate as a twenty-something  traveler. We asked the receptionist for some dinner recommendations and she sent us to a local polish eatery called Polakowski. Now currently the Zloty is 3.34 to the USD so our dinner costed around 50 zloty. Little did we know this was ONLY $12 total for the two of us in USD for an incredible meal. After we wandered around the Rynek Glowny square we stumbled upon a small bar called “Ukracpra Pub”. Some stairs headed into an underground bar with a big sign that said “KARAOKE” It seemed to be filled with half locals and half traveling brits. Confident singers would step up and could sing in either Polish or English. We had a few drinks ranging from beer to various cocktails, all which maybe costed us $14 for 6 drinks….. I love Poland prices. After getting our nice buzz we decided to head back for a long day ahead.

Our second night in Krakow (after returning from Auschwitz) we went a very popular polish restaurant to get our fix of perogis and apple pie. Mind you all the food you see was a total of $28 (for the two of us so $16 a person) 10/10 WOULD GO HERE AGAIN, everyone go try it it’s called Czarna Kaczka or “The Black Duck”. GO GO GO


In September of 1939 Nazi-Germany invaded Poland in the midst of WW2. Over 6 million Polish people perished during the occupation, many who were Jewish. During this occupation millions of Jews from all over Europe were being sent into ghettos, unable to communicate with the outside world. The Nazi’s shortly realized that they could no longer hold the Jews in ghettos due to their inability to “hold their own keep”. This is when “The Final Solution” was then talked about to put an end to all European Jews. Auschwitz Concentration Camp was the largest camp holding over 1.5 million men, women and children. Some of the most famous writers to come from the holocaust were trapped behind the doors of Auschwitz. Anne Frank, Primo Levi and Ellie Wiesel were just a few that I studied extensively in school. Absolutely no amount of studying or reading about the holocaust prepares you when you walk under the infamous sign that reads “ARBEIT MACHT FREI” which translates to “work sets you free.” A significant portion of Birkenau II had been destroyed due to nazi cover up but much of Auschwitz 1 remained. It’s hard to write down exactly what emotions I felt while walking through the camps. The part that got to me the most was how cold it was inside the blocks. How scary it must have been at night without a single light outside. How we were able to walk in and walk out with no problem, but that wasn’t the case for so many people who didn’t deserve to be victim to such a terribly inhumane action. I still haven’t quite wrapped my mind around how so many people could inflict pain simply by listening and following the ideals of one awful human being.

“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” 

-Ellie Wiesel 


We booked ourselves on a train back to Warsaw to arrive around 1:30 pm giving us plenty of time to explore the city before our early morning flight. On the train reservation we made there was a note that said our tickets did not come with guaranteed seats. Little did we know that there was no cafe car on the train so these “seats” were basically in the corridor between the reserved seats and the exit of the train. It made for an interesting 3 hour ride. Once finally exiting the train we were right in the middle of a very modern looking Warsaw. It was filled with skyscrapers, malls and boujie restaurants. We had about a 45 minute walk from there to our hostel but a viscous craving for sushi stopped us about midway. We went to this sushi restaurant found on Trip Advisor and although it was a bit pricer than other Polish food it certainly satisfied our craving. After, we continued through Warsaw Old Town which is still filled with Christmas decor and markets. Once arriving to our hostel we needed a quick nap before heading back on the town. We wandered through Warsaw Old Town which is astronomically different than the city center. We stopped to try some mulled wine and I even got a paczki which I found out later is commonly served on Fat Thursday. To continue with our fantastic eats in Poland we ate dinner at a commonly known Polish restaurant called Zapiecek. We both tried traditional kielbasa with onions and sauerkraut. Determined to stay out considering it was only 8 pm we were in search for a local pub. What we found though, was Warsaw Old Town is not the area known for its nightlife. A few beers later and knowledge of an early morning flight had us in bed earlier than I’d like to admit.

Poland was like nothing I had ever expected. It was such an unfamiliar territory to me and something that was always portrayed so poorly that I almost got on that plane with a touch of fear. Little did I know that the book I chose to read on the flight would convey my emotions perfectly…

“That was the irony of travel. The bigger the distance between you and the familiar grew, the smaller and safer and friendlier the world felt.” 
-Kim Dinan