I’m Going Back to SPAIN!

Hi everyone! I’m a bit delayed in writing this post, but I’ve been so excited, I’ve barely had the time to think! Look what came into my email the other day:

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That’s right, your girl got a spot in the BEDA program to teach English in Toledo, Spain from September 2017 to June 2018! Why would I want to do this, you ask? Well, there are a few reasons. The first is that I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, but over here in Canada, most of our college applications require some¬†experience. And I have none! So I figured why not gain some valuable teaching practice in a lovely place like Spain? That’s reason number two: I fell in love with Spain years ago and have been itching to go back ever since. Almost exactly three years later, here I’ll go! ūüôā

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I’ll be teaching here! Image from:¬†https://nationaltokens.com/7-new-locations-toledo-spain/

Wow, was this ever an agonizing wait! I joined Facebook groups for both the¬†BEDA and¬†Auxiliar programs, and I’ve been anxiously watching others post their acceptances since I returned from Varadero in early May. I even racked up some pretty hefty roaming charges while in Cuba, because I was constantly checking my email for word! The year before, I heard pretty quickly from BEDA, but this year seemed to take more time. Finally, on May 17th, I had my answer!

The letter I got details my assignment (primary and high school students) and the amount of hours I’ll work each week. 24 may not seem like a lot, but in fact it’s the maximum you could be working with BEDA! Positions are assigned from 18-24 hours and are given at random. It’s a lighter work load because we’ll also be taking classes about teaching theory through the University of Comillas. I’m not sure what to expect from those, but I’m sure they’ll look great on a resume.

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Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-1328388/Spain-weekend-breaks-Toledo-steel-heart.html

I’ll be living in a city with roughly 83,000 people, but it’s only 45 minutes from the Spanish capital of Madrid. Heart eyes! I have to confess, even though I spent nearly five months in and around Spain in 2014 during my exchange, I’ve never been to Madrid or most other parts of Spain (broke student life). I’m excited to discover the castles and cobblestones of Toledo, head to Madrid for easy flight-hopping and¬†El Clasico¬†(I’m getting tickets ASAP, baby!), take a train down to Malaga, Cordoba, or Cadiz, and explore the rest of Don Quixote’s province. I also can’t wait to visit the friends I made while living in Bilbao!

The process of applying for a student visa, which we’re technically under since we’ll be studying at Comillas, is a long one, so I promise to detail the steps that lead up to my BEDA experience as I go along! I’ve already put in an application for my national background check to be able to work with children, and I’ve made a massive list splitting up my tasks in nice “To Do” checklists for June, July, and August. Classes start on September 18th, but I’ll be in Spain long before then to apartment hunt and settle in! Oh, and I’m going to Varadero again in two weeks, for possibly the last time for a year! ūüė¶ I’m very sad about being even further from my boyfriend for 9+ long months, but we’ve spoken about this at length, and on a sort of positive note, we’re already used to distance. I’m excited to explore Spain and the rest of Europe, and to be back in one of my favourite countries once again!

Did anyone else apply to BEDA, UCETAM, MEDDEAS or the Auxiliares program in Spain? Anyone in the Madrid/Castilla La Mancha area? I’d love to connect!

xoxo Cady

Teaching in Spain Update: BEDA & Auxiliares

As of January 12th, the applications for the Auxiliar de Conversacion program have opened, and I’ve already run into my first problem: a recommendation letter that I requested a couple of months ago isn’t done yet. I’m still waiting and so, I haven’t been able to submit my application yet. Given that some blogs I’ve read said that they were in the hundreds (for application number) just two hours after it opened, and I’m currently 9 days past the opening date, I’m a little worried about my chances for the program. I mean yes, I’d teach ANYWHERE in Spain, but the Auxiliar program runs on a first come, first serve basis for top location choices, so chances of getting one of mine are getting slimmer every day ūüė¶ . So basically, there’s nothing to report for my Auxiliar application for now.

In contrast, I received a notification for an interview with¬†BEDA , which is another teach-in-Spain program that mainly operates out of Madrid. I did a simple application for them a few months ago (without needing a recommendation letter, at least at this point) and forgot about it, to be honest. I did some research on the BEDA program and, like any program, there are different opinions… but, BEDA is generally thought to be more helpful than the Auxiliar program when it comes to setting up a bank account, finding an apartment, and paying teaching assistants on time. One of the downsides, however, is that you have to take mandatory classes about teaching theory at a university in Madrid. The thought of that made me not want to do it, but some people say they’re helpful, and you do get a certificate at the end…

My interview with BEDA is tomorrow, and then I’ll probably find out about a placement sometime in April. It operates on the same 9 month grounds as the Auxiliar program, only this time on an extended student visa, so you can attend those classes. Meanwhile, I’ll still be submitting an Auxiliar application once I get my recommendation letter, so we’ll see where I stand in competition there!

Is anyone else applying to teach in Spain in Fall 2016??

xoxo Cady

*Featured image from the BEDA main website

Becoming an Auxiliar de Conversaci√≥n Part 1: CV and Profex

Hey everyone! I’m currently working on my application to the Auxiliares de Conversaci√≥n program, which is a program run by the Spanish government that allows recent grads from Canada or the USA¬†to live and work in Spain for a year while¬†teaching English (or French)¬†in public schools across the country. From my readings of others’ blogs, there’s a lot of confusion, frustration, and questions associated with the application process and the program itself, so I thought I’d “liveblog” my experiences as I go through them! I’ve never applied to this program before, and heard about it because I was looking at a similar one in France, but my French is sub par and I like Spain better. Read on for my info and impressions!

Who Can Apply?

Any Canadian or American between 18-60 (or 35 if you’re in Madrid), native English or French speaker,¬†with a Bachelor’s degree in any subject, basic Spanish skills (not required I don’t think, but certainly helpful) and willingness to try something new! The program goes for around 10 months (Sept/Oct until May/June) so make sure you’re free.

How Do I Apply?

The application for the 2016-2017 school year opens January 12th, 2016¬†and is available until the end of April, but you can make up your CV and add required documents to the application portal (PROFEX) now. I can be forgetful, so I decided to do it now. I’ve filled out my details and uploaded a copy of my degree and my passport, but I still need to write a letter of motivation (in English or French) and get my recommendation letter.* This should be solicited sooner rather than later, because the applications are a first come, first serve thing, and you’ll want to apply early for your top choices! Here is the website, with all of the information, guides, questions, and translations.
*The recommendation letter is supposed to be from any current or former professor, but if you’ve been out of school for 3+ years, you can use your boss. There’s a more detailed letter guide on the application website. However, even though I just graduated 6 months ago, I decided to use my boss at the library where I voluntarily taught English while I studied in Spain, because I thought it might sound better coming from a place where I taught already. I’m hoping I won’t run into any issues using her instead of my prof (who doesn’t even work at my uni anymore), but if I do, I’ll give a heads up to you guys!

Cady Applies
So my first impression with the website was that there is a LOT of information, and the application guidelines definitely seem confusing. There are some documents that need to be mailed to consulate offices, some that need to be uploaded online, and a lot of them have specifics that need to be followed, or they won’t be considered. I can see why people say it’s a little intimidating, but my advice is to read through the guidelines a few times, and keep the PDF open when you’re doing your application. It’s all in Spanish, but the guidelines are in English and have arrows to point to the parts you need to fill out.

I filled out my PROFEX details just to have it done for now, even though the application opens in 2ish weeks. The info you need is basic (personal details like date of birth, passport, etc). It seems like you need to already have a passport when you apply, since it’s one of the required fields, so if you don’t have one… get one! Mine expires in January of 2017, so I’ll probably have to renew it.¬†I uploaded a few documents too, but I’m going to set aside some time to write my motivation letter later.

Another thing I did was take a look at the map of Spain (at the bottom of the Application Guidelines PDF) to see which regions I’d like to work in when the application opens up. You can pick 3 regions as your top choices, but nothing is guaranteed, especially if you send in a later application. They’re also organized by group, and you can only pick one from each group i.e. Group A is Asturias, Extremadura, La Rioja, or Pais Vasco.¬†Some regions like Catalunya don’t participate in the program. ūüė¶ Also, you can only choose regions, not cities, and from what I’ve read, you could¬†be placed in a big city like Madrid, or in a tiny village in the middle of the countryside!¬†¬†Madrid teachers get 1000 euros a month for 16 hours per week of work, while anyone else gets 700 euros for 12 hours per week, probably because of cost of living.

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Printscreened from the application, with my edit. **Apparently Castilla La Mancha has also pulled from program.

I might be over-preparing a little bit, but in my experience, it never hurts, and I reaaaaaally want to go back to Spain–one of my fave countries–to¬†teach, one of my¬†fave things!¬†Stay tuned for more of my application adventures as the year goes on, and buena suerte to anyone else applying to be an auxiliar!

xoxo Cady

Have you ever taught abroad, or even better, been an auxiliar? Tell me!

For anyone interested, here is the France program website, but the deadline is January 15th or February for Canadians, so hurry hurry! https://www.tapif.org/

**Flag header image from Wikipedia