The Student Visa Process: Cheap Programs in Spain for North Americans.

On Tuesday I finished handing my paperwork for my student visa in Spain, I will be studying in Salamanca, Spain for the upcoming year at their international school. A lot of people at my university in the US have asked me how I am affording all of this, since I am not rich. Courses in Spain that are conducted by institutes, academies, and universities in Spain are surprisingly cheap in comparison to programs conducted by American schools. I have compiled a list of various programs in Spain here and will be following this article with the steps involved in obtaining a student visa.

Short Courses: 2 weeks- 2 months

There are a number of schools in Spain and Spanish courses for foreigners is a huge business. In Salamanca alone there are 12 different schools. If you just walk down Gran Via and Plaza Mayor or a few other major streets you will definitely see a language school with a sign that says “Curso de Español para Extranjeros”. Most credible schools will have a web page with a variety of courses including their prices and duration.

Many schools only offer 1-3 month intensive courses in Spanish. These courses are great if that is all the time you have and really economical compared to courses sponsored by American Schools, but keep in mind they wont be accredited by North American universities.

If you are looking for a short course look at The Instituto Cervantes website for accredited centers. Here they list all of the centers that have language courses that this Spanish Language learning Authority deems worthy.

Long Courses (6 months- Academic Year)

  • If you are looking for more than just a month in Spain there are a number of Spanish Universities that have international courses in Spain. Three of which I have placed here since those are the ones I am familiar with. I am sure there are more and the list will continue to grow:

University of Salamanca

University of Granada

University of Barcelona

For any amount of time you wish to spend dedicated to learning Spanish there are going to be courses that will help you do that. This list will be on going and if you know of more programs that are not listed I would be glad to add them.

Guide to working in Europe for Americans: Spain.

For Americans working in Europe can be difficult, and at times, seem impossible. Not surprising enough there is some truth to this. The European Union is, and will always be, a confusing network of overlapping rules and regulations with each country having their own exceptions and unique situations that make it either more difficult or easier for Non-EU immigrants. This week the Guide to working in Europe as an American article will focus on gaining employment in Spain.

If you pay attention to the news coming out of Europe, I would suggest the Economist blog: Charlemagne , than you know that Spain is not in the best of shape right now economically. Fortunately, there is one market that is still relatively healthy and that is English Teaching (More on that in a future post).

Finding a Job on Your Own.

In order to work in Spain you must first get a Employment Visa. This must be done in your home country at the nearest consulate office and cannot be done while you’re already in Spain.

In order to get a work visa you need to have a sponsor, which makes it difficult for non-EU immigrants because you must first be in the country to find work, however it is possible to find a job online if you are highly qualified in a special field,  and then the employer must hold your place for you while you are gone.

Government Programs

Another way of working in Spain are government sponsored programs:

1. Cultural Ambassadors / Language & Culture Assistants in Spain

Pay: 700-1000€/monthly depending on location

Duration: Academic Year (October-June)

Location: Throughout Spain

Notes: You cannot pick your location so you can be placed anywhere from big cities like Barcelona all the way to a tiny village in Spain.

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2. UCETAM Teaching Assistantships

Pay: 900€/month for 17 hours of work weekly

1450€/month for 25 hours weekly

Duration: Academic Year (September-June)

Location: Madrid

Notes: Pays more than the Cultural Ambassadors position. Also, you can be certain that you will be placed n Madrid. You are placed in private/semi-private schools located around Madrid.

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3. BEDA Teaching Assistantships

Pay: 900€ – 1200€ / Monthly

Duration: Academic Year (September to June)

Location: Madrid

Notes: This program is much like the UCETAM teaching program however you are required to take a class through Comillas University and you are teaching primarily in Catholic schools.

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CIEE Teach Abroad

4. CIEE Teach English Program

Pay: 700€ -1000€/Monthly

Duration: Academic Year (September- June)

Location: Andalusia and Madrid

Notes: Much like the government program you don’t get much decision on where you are placed and pays the same. One positive is that they pretty much accept positions year-round due to lack of participation.

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It is pretty clear that the biggest opportunity for Americans in Spain is teaching english. In a future post I will be sure to touch more on the TEFL community in Spain since I am currently reading a few books on the topic. This guide will always be growing so be sure to check back for some more soon. If you have any questions or know of any additional information send me a message or leave a comment.