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PAKISTANI’S GUIDE TO GET A TEACHING JOB IN SPAIN / EUROPE

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As unemployment is on peak in Pakistan, Pakistanis look for better opportunities outside Pakistan. Spain is one such country where thousands of Pakistanis seek bread and butter for their sustainable future.

The cost of residing in Spain is more less expensive than that in most Western European countries, even if in the big cities. There is conventional health care, easy-to-use public transportation, and it is one of the most secured countries for travelers.

Teaching overseas is one of a gorgeous way to earn money while you travel, stay in one region longer, and get to deeply experience any other culture. I spent years educating in Georgia and Malaysia and they have been some of the most amazing experiences of my traveling. Living in a overseas culture, attempting to get through day to day, and mastering to create a life for your self is an effective way to grow to be a more confident and provide you a deeper awareness of yourself.

Spain Wants To Learn English

Though salaries in Spain aren’t as high as other regions of the world, it still remains a popular destination for teaching English abroad. Spain is a compelling destination for teaching and living abroad, well-placed for you to explore the dynamic Spanish countryside, and with easy access to the European continent.

Spain has an extraordinarily high demand for English teachers, so jobs are convenient to come by, whether in a small town in Andalucia or in a large city such as Madrid. Spain also doesn’t have the strict requirements of many of its neighbors — there are programs that don’t require a TEFL certification, and some don’t even require a Bachelor’s degree.

My name is Beena, I am a 24 year old mom hailing from Karachi, Pakistan.

I studied abroad in Madrid in college. While I was there, I met some people who were English-language assistants and kept in touch with them after I returned home. I knew I wanted to take a gap year and travel after graduation, so I reached out to them and they told me about different programs I could apply for.

But beyond the practical, Spain is fun! Whether it’s the snow-capped mountains and rolling exotic hills of Asturias to the north or the sunny Mediterranean beaches, Spain has a climate and panorama for everyone. Additionally, journey both inside and from Spain is tremendously affordable, so teachers on a price range will be in a position to enjoy the local landscapes throughout their time off.

I looked into a few, however the government program “Auxiliares de Conversación” was once free and had desirable reviews, so I selected to apply to that one. It permits foreigners to visit and work as teaching assistants. You’ll be paired with a instructor and assist the college students study English.

The application is pretty daunting. It required an essay, two letters of recommendation, a lot of legal paperwork, and different forms. The essay I wrote was about a page long, essentially a letter of intent explaining why I was involved in the program and the traits that make me fit for the position.

The program also requires an official college transcript as well, however it accepts applicants from various educational backgrounds. so as long as you show keen interest, have desirable letters of recommendation, and have decent grades you be fine!

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I didn’t determine to be a part of this program till the beginning of March, but I would recommend starting the procedure as quickly as it is accessible in January. That will provide you more time to bounce thru all the bureaucratic hoops. After receiving your acceptance, I recommend booking your visa appointment immediately, as these fill up fast!

I didn’t have any teaching experience, and the Auxiliar de Conversación program doesn’t require you to. As long as you have (or are completing) your bachelor’s degree and are a native English speaker, you are eligible.

You are only required to work 12-16 hours a week with this program, so a workday is typically about four hours. Since we’re English-language assistants, we are paired with an English teacher and don’t have to create a curriculum for the whole class.

On an average day as an auxiliar, the teacher I worked with would mostly have me walk around and assist students with the activities she had assigned them to do. Since I was an assistant and not the main teacher, my job mostly consisted of providing help like that.

The teacher for the younger grades would have me work one-on-one with students that were falling behind or had special needs, to give them more attention, but we usually worked on the same activities as the other students. For about 10-15 minutes of the class, I would sometimes give a presentation or play vocabulary games, such as Bingo or Hangman.

I was never required to teach an entire lesson, but I would occasionally have to manage small groups of students. This allowed them to participate more since they would not be as shy to speak English (and it’s easier to control a few students than a whole class).

Regarding the actual teaching, it was the easiest and smoothest part of my time in Spain. As long as you can keep the students interested and engaged you won’t have any issues.

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Many! I lived about an hour’s walk from my school, which was inconvenient and isolating. It took me a while to figure out the bus system, so adapting to my location was the first challenge.

However, the biggest challenge I faced was having to come back to the US for a month, because I didn’t have a visa. I was informed that I didn’t need a visa prior to entering Spain, but upon arrival, I would need to get my NIE (Número de Identidad de Extranjero) and I would be set.

Well, when I arrived, I was the only applicant without a visa. I went to eight different foreign consulates, and no one knew if I had to leave Spain to get a visa. Ultimately I had to fly back to the US, score an almost-impossible-to-get appointment with the Spanish consulate, and get my visa. The bureaucratic system is slow and very tedious, so try to talk to former auxiliares if you can (there are lots of Facebook groups for this).

I wish I knew that one person’s experience could be very different from the next. I had an amazing overall experience; however, parts of my life didn’t go as I expected.

I went in expecting to make great connections with my colleagues more than anyone else, but the environment at the school I worked at wasn’t very welcoming. A lot of teachers at my school didn’t live in the community (they commuted from pueblos as far as an hour away). This made it hard to form close friendships. Moreover, my school was comprised of teachers who were still completing their exams, so every year the teachers changed schools. That meant that the sense of community was not very strong.

Fortunately, I became friends with other auxiliares in my area and was welcomed warmly into their community. I became friends with teachers at other schools, took trips with them, and received lots of help with life in general in Spain.

Auxiliares earn a “scholarship” rather than a salary. I was paid 1,000 EUR/month ($1,100 USD) during my contract. I would say that one should expect around 700-1,000 EUR per month ($770-1,100 USD) (or about 15 EUR/hour ($16.50 USD). Auxiliares in Madrid received the same “scholarship” as I did, but the cost of living in that region is much higher.

If you are paid 700 EUR, you usually work 12 hours a week instead of 16, and you can definitely try and teach private English lessons to earn more.

1. Arrive with at enough to live off of for at least three months. I was fortunate to live in a city with decent prices for accommodation. I had two roommates and spent around 250 EUR/month ($275 USD) on rent. Groceries, rent, and transportation were my main expenses, around 650 EUR ($715 USD) for all of those (plus some miscellaneous things). This left me with just a bit of money to use for travel.

In the Valencia region, the government was three months late to start paying us and always late by at least a few days to a week after the first paycheck. Since it’s not a lot of money, you’ll want to have a lot of savings. That way, if you’re paid late, you will have enough money to get by.

2. Research where you want to work. I chose Madrid as my first choice and Andalucía as my second. I would have also liked to live in Barcelona, but that wasn’t an option. I applied late to the program and existing auxiliares have priority for where they are stationed. As a new applicant (and a late one), I was sent to Valencia.

When choosing regions, be aware that a region does not necessarily mean you will end up in the city it’s named for. By that I mean, the “Madrid” region does not only mean the city of Madrid but rather the entire region around the city. Regions are like states, and so you could end up living two hours (or more) from the capital of the region.

You should also take into account the language spoken in the region. Where I lived, people spoke Valenciano just as much (if not more) than Spanish, and school was conducted in valenciano (a dialect of Catalan). Luckily, Valenciano has similarities to Spanish.

However, if you’re placed in the Basque Country (northern Spain), they speak Euskara, which has no similarities to Spanish. So if your goal is to practice or learn Spanish, make sure you choose to live in a region that speaks it.

Weather is another aspect to consider. While in the summer it is warm almost everywhere, winters can be quite cold (more so in the north). If you’re not a fan of cold weather, consider living closer to the south and the sea.

There are auxiliar Facebook groups and blogs that have plenty of information and anecdotes about different regions, which can help you make your decision.

3. Learn some Spanish. Understand that you could be placed in a pueblo very far from a big city, so brush up on your Spanish a little. It isn’t mandatory to teach English, but it will really come in handy if you’re in a smaller location and want to connect more with the locals (and your colleagues).

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Sobia Umair

Sobia Umair

Housewife and mom blogger

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