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.
- Hold a US or Canadian Passport
- Have either a BA/BS degree or have attended some form of community college
- English as a first language
- Be in good mental stance
- Pass a background check
- Between 21-35 (although there’s participants older than that, just can’t be born before 1958)
Program Needs: (According to ME)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
- 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 tusclasesparticulares.com
Perks of the program:
- You live in Spain…
- You live in Spain legally!
- 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.
- You get to learn a second language! Bilingual people are proven smarter 🙂
- 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!