We often interview colleagues and graduates of our TESOL program about what life is like abroad. This will be the first installment of a series on teaching and living in other countries: The Inside Scoop. If you live abroad and have information you would like to share, feel free to contact me or leave a comment on the blog!
This month we will hear from Maria about her summer teaching in Spain:
“Some seasons are easier to find work in than others. Summer is especially hard because many schools are closed. However, even in summer there are some language schools open because regular schools are closed and parents send their kids to language school for something to do. I found work in summer, but I had to hustle – I found out online where the schools were and then went from door to door. It took me 3-4 weeks to find a job. It’s helpful to have a job before you leave, but I didn’t and I found a job. I think it’s easier to find work being there than from here.
Technically you need a work permit in order to teach for an institution, but there are many schools that are willing to hire you without visa status. You can only stay for 3 months, so if you want to stay longer and you don’t have a work permit, you need to leave and come back. It is possible for Americans to get a work permit. It’s a little difficult because they can hire British (EU) people, but it is possible. There is a high demand for American English. To get a job with a work permit, it’s best to try to find a job before you leave; they will help you get the work permit.
The working hours and conditions vary depending on the institute you work for, but you’ll usually have morning classes, e.g. 11am-3pm, then have a large break and then come back for an hour or two in the evening. I ended up working two jobs to fill in my schedule. How much you earn depends on the institution, but the pay I received was enough to pay rent and to live.
You don’t need to speak Spanish but it’s a tremendous advantage if you do – you can explain your situation, etc. It would have been much more challenging to find work if I hadn’t spoken Spanish.”