Thoughts after 4 months.

 

When I first told people my plans to go move to another country I was always surprised by the reactions that people gave me. I can recall the reaction of “ YOU ARE CRAZY! ”  from my father and the hysteria of my mother upon hearing the news that I really am not going to Spain for only a year like I had told them, but instead, I would be going abroad indefinitely. After telling people my plans they would always ask me this next question, “How long are you going to be there for?” followed next by surprise when I told them my answer of a shoulder shrug and that “I really have no idea”. In reality, I really didn’t want to look into it deeper than that because the thought of me selling my car, buying a one-way ticket, and traveling 4,000 miles away from home across an ocean that my great grandparents risked their lives in to get me to where I am today, really did scare me a lot.

I was also surprised with the restrictions people seemed to place on this little plan of mine. I think that the thought that someone moves away from the US seems like a really odd concept to many Americans. Throughout primary and secondary schooling we are always taught about how hard the immigrants in the 19th and 20th century had to fight in order to have a better life and that often the United States was their goal.One thing that I think about quite often is about the bigger picture, what am I doing with my life. SOLUTION: from the many people I have spoken with, many article I have read and other information gathered on the topic there is no plan for someones life. Things just happen, and then because of that another thing happens based on the choices that you make. This linear path that people seem to associate with adulthood and old age is usually pieced together in hindsight while ignoring other facts and events that may not support this linear path.

I don’t regret coming here at all. I am not nearly as obsessed as I was before about leaving the U.S. and finding work abroad. However, this could be because I already do live and work abroad. I do miss home a lot and having to live in another country and see that your friends’ and family’s lives still go on when you are not there is pretty difficult. However, everyday it gets easier, everyday you meet new people, and every day you get used to the little differences, such as everything being closed from 2- 4 or not having a car and needing to walk/ take a bus everywhere.  

Signed, 

An American Living Abroad. 

 

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.