AUXILIAR LIFE

Spain-bound to Teach English

If there’s one country that I actually think I belong in, it’s Spain.

Why? For starters, I studied Spanish language and culture for four years and I’ve come to love it almost as my own. I’ve made it my life’s mission to live there at least once in this lifetime.

Secondly, I’m a big siesta fan. If I had a choice, I would have afternoon naps as a daily ritual. That’s one of the things I miss about childhood, when I didn’t have a job or responsibilities to worry about. Meanwhile in Spain, they seem to have a great work-life balance without compensating productivity. It might just be a long-held stereotype but I know for a fact that most banks and public offices close at 1-3 in the afternoon. How great is that?

Another great thing is that the españoles turn any occasion into a fiesta. I looked at the calendario laboral for last year and it was filled with holidays and puentes or long weekends.

Of course I have so much more reasons why I want to live in Spain, being an immensely beautiful country that it is, but let’s get to the point. I didn’t want to announce it in fear that I’ll jinx it but I wanted to document my preparations for future reference.

I’m moving to Spain to teach English. To be more specific, I’m bound for Málaga, Andalucía. How did I get this sweet, sweet gig? Through the Spanish government’s Auxiliaries de Conversación Program or Language and Culture Assistants Program.

1

Preselection Process

This whole crazy ordeal started in February, I heard that the Department of European Languages of the University of the Philippines was then accepting applications from Spanish majors of the university, both graduates and graduating students. This is actually just the second year they are doing this in partnership with the Spanish embassy in Manila. Three schools, UP, Ateneo and UST are participating. A selection committee from the school decides who will be interviewed by the embassy. The embassy then narrows the list down to 25 applicants. From what I heard, 10 each from UP and Ateneo and 5 from UST. In our case, 14 were preselected and 10 were chosen as sure applicants and the other 4 as waitlisters.

I was really hopeful when I sent my carta de motivación (cover letter) to the department. I explained why they should choose me and how sure I am that this is really I want to do. Weeks later, some friends of mine who also applied got their confirmation that they were preselected. But I didn’t get mine. I kept my cool but deep inside I was really feeling bitter. HAHA. I tried to forget it that day and come next morning, I received an email from a Spanish professor in the department with the confirmation that I made the cut. I found out that she just really missed including my email in the distribution list so menos mal!

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After that, we booked appointments for our interview with the Education advisor in the Spanish embassy in Makati. I had mine on March 9. It was a very quick interview, I felt so silly that I wasn’t able to fall asleep the night before. We first talked in Spanish then he switched to English. He asked me basic questions: in which region I wanted to be placed, how sure I was, which grade I would be most comfortable teaching, etc. It all happened so fast. Two days later, he confirmed that I was one of the chosen 10 and I could then go ahead and register in Profex – the program’s online application system.

In contrast to what other applicants think, I find the Profex system pretty straightforward. Perhaps, it’s because most of them try to register early in January when Profex opens, causing the website to crash. The earlier you register, the earlier you get your placement or at least that’s what they tell us. In our case, we were only instructed to register once we got confirmation from the embassy.

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Applying Through Profex

Once you register in Profex, your status becomes Inscrita. All you have to do in this stage is to fill in personal information and choose the region and grade you wish to be assigned. Filipino applicants have limited choices when it comes to selecting preferred regions. We are only allowed to choose Asturias, País Vasco, Castilla-La Mancha, Cantabria, Andalucía and Castilla y León and we have to choose one from each group and rank them from 1-3.

* Grupo A: Asturias, Ceuta y Melilla, Extremadura, La Rioja, Navarra, País Vasco

* Grupo B: Aragón, Cantabria, Castilla-La Mancha, Cataluña, Galicia, Islas Canarias

* Grupo C: Andalucía, Castilla y León, Islas Baleares, Madrid, Murcia, Valencia

You will also have to attach some documents like Carta de Recomendación (recommendation letter) from a former professor or manager, certificates of employment, official transcript of records and diploma (if applicable). Submit your application and you receive a confirmation email with your Inscrita number. The earlier you submit, the lower your Inscrita number is. Lower Inscrita number means getting your placement earlier and more assurance that you will have a placement. Although, we have come to learn that this is not always the case. Filipino applicants got their placements earlier than applicants from other countries with lower inscrita numbers. This might be explained by the fact that there are only 25 Filipino applicants vs. thousands of US applicants.

inscirta

Confirm your application in Profex and your status becomes Registrada.

The regional director checks your application and switches your status from Registrada to Admitida once all the requirements are provided. Unlike the process for other countries, Filipino applicants don’t need to mail in anything to the consulate.

Admitida doesn’t mean your placement is secured already. Try to get distracted after this stage as surely you would need to wait more or less a month before the action really starts.

I had to wait almost a month for my application to be Adjudicada. You’ll receive this notification via automatic mail as well with the confirmation of the region where you’re going to be placed. Then you will be given 3 days to either accept or reject your placement. (Note: if you don’t like the region where you were placed, there is a possibility of switching with other applicants but I read that it involves sending a ton of emails and selling your soul to the devil). Once you accept your placement, the status becomes Plaza Aceptada. Or if rejected, Plaza Rechazada.

So you decide that you want to go to Spain, whether you like your region or not, this is where it gets exciting. You may now research about your region and know about the weather or if there are any dialects used in that part of Spain. But still, you would have to wait for your school placement, that’s when you’d know in which city or pueblo you would be working.

In just less than a month, I received my placement from the Junta de Andalucía. It depends on your region how they will give your carta de nombramiento. In my case, I received it via e-mail. Some receive it via snail mail. For Andalucía auxiliares, this letter is sufficient for the visa application.

Read the e-mail carefully and the attached documents (ours were in Spanish so have them translated if you’re not proficient) and take note of the instructions on how to proceed with your application. I had to send the signed copy of the acceptance letter to the address of the Consejería de Educación, Cultura y Deporte of the Junta de Andalucía. They gave us a deadline so I opted sending it via express mail for 500 pesos. I sent them an email too just to be sure. I also contacted the director of my school. She gladly responded to my e-mail and even offered me some help with finding apartments and gave me useful information about the school and the pueblo.

plazaacptada

So now, the waiting continues. I keep distracting myself with work, projects and travels. In the next post, I will be writing about my preparation for my visa application. Feel free to ask if you have any questions!

For Filipino applicants, you may visit below links for more information:

Instrucciones para la inscripción de solicitudes nuevas
Programa de auxiliares de conversación filipinos en España

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12 Comments

  • Reply
    Iván
    August 20, 2015 at 1:23 am

    Welcome to Spain, hope to see you here 🙂

  • Reply
    Mars
    May 13, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    Hi Joanne! I’ve been following your blog ever since I received an email from my Spanish professor regarding the Auxiliares de Conversaciòn Program. I applied and just recently got a regional placement in Andalucía. If it’s okay, may I ask how much money did you bring when you first came there? And was it enough to get you settled there? I’m from the Philippines, din pala. 🙂

    Thank you so much! I’m looking forward to hear from you soon! 🙂

    • Reply
      Joanne Skywalker
      May 13, 2016 at 7:38 pm

      Hi Mars! 🙂 Congrats on your placement! When I got here last September I think I only had less than 100K pesos- because I had already paid for my flight, Airbnb, visa application etc. It was enough to get settled but save as much as you can in your first months here. If you’re worried about the money, don’t go traveling every week like I did because there’s a possibility that you won’t get paid on time (in my case, they didn’t pay me until late January). Calculate your budget ngayon pa lang hehe. You’ll need to pay for your rent and gastos for at least 2 months, groceries, transpo, eating out and shopping. Good luck! Don’t hesitate to ask if you have more questions 🙂

    • Reply
      mspatsperous
      June 30, 2016 at 9:04 pm

      Hello Mars, happy to find you in this blog. I’ve got a regional placement in Castilla La Mancha. Have you already received your letter from the school? That is one of my questions too, about sa finances, kung magkano ung kailangan. I’m looking forward to meet you sa orientation in August. Ang lapit na. 🙂

  • Reply
    carla
    August 2, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    Hi Joanne, really find your blog very helpful for the likes of me, pondering if TEFL in Spain is what really I would want to do after quitting my job in Singapore. But yes, I will be, once my student visa application is lodge (wish me luck!) Thanks for sharing this! Is it OK if I email you questions about settling in Spain? That is if I get approved….abangan…..

    • Reply
      Joanne Skywalker
      August 4, 2016 at 6:03 pm

      Hi Carla! Of course! I’d be happy to help, you can send an email to unechienneandalouse(at)gmail.com . Good luck and see you in Spain! 😀

  • Reply
    MR
    March 8, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    Could you apply for the program without going through the university? I am a graduate student at UP, but I didn’t attend any of the information sessions they had because of work.

    • Reply
      Joanne Skywalker
      April 12, 2017 at 4:39 pm

      Hi! So sorry for the late response! I didn’t attend the first “orientation” as well. I was just informed by my batch mates.

  • Reply
    Gi
    May 17, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    Hello Joanne! First off, thanks a lot for your blog post! This has been my go to place when I feel like I’m missing something. The waiting part IS nerve-wracking. 🙂 I just received my carta de nombramiento from the Junta de andalucia and they instructed us to contact the program director of the school. Probably a stupid question – when you emailed the director did you send it to the general school email or did you already have her email address from somewhere? I checked the school I was assigned to and can only find the general email add. 🙂 Oh btw do you mind if I contact you via email just to ask few questions on visa application? Thanks a lot!

    • Reply
      unechienneandalouse
      May 20, 2017 at 5:44 am

      Hi! Congrats on your placement! I also got my school placement in Andalucía this week, where were you placed? To answer your question, I emailed the “general school email”. It’s better to send an email before summer break so you can get a response right away. Sure, you can email me at unechienneandalouse@gmail.com or follow my IG and direct message me since I access it more often.

      • Reply
        Gi
        May 20, 2017 at 3:59 pm

        Oh that’s cool. Congrats! 😊 I got assigned to a high school in Córdoba. I emailed the school and the Secretaria kindly replied to me. I’ll DM you on IG then. Thank you!!!

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