Getting to Spain and why Iberia has turned onto the worst airline company.

So, after a week and a half of traveling I can finally settle down and start working on more posts. The next few posts are just going to be a quick summary of what I have been doing the past week.

Getting to Spain and The Terrible Flight

I left Graz on Tuesday, July 16th for Madrid with a 5 hour lay over in Ibiza, Spain. When we arrived in Ibiza we noticed that all of the Iberia flights were late. It’s normal for airlines to sometimes be late but to Iberia this is  apparently unacceptable. Due to the economic crisis almost all Spanish businesses have taken the “Do more with less” approach to business since they turned the plane around in 30 minutes, loaded us on the flight like cattle and yelled at anyone who took their time. Since we were late they pushed the speed of the plane up, which caused my girlfriend and I to get very nauseous and by the end of the flight she was holding the paper bag and waiting for the inevitable.

Lost Luggage

During those 5 hours in Ibiza, Iberia airlines managed to lose both mine and my girlfriend’s luggage. After one hour of waiting by baggage claim, which I know can seem like a long time to wait but in Spain it is not outside of the realm of possibility, we looked for some sort of desk or assistance. After looking for about ten minutes we finally found the customer assistance desk which consisted of 3 workers with additional space for 10 more, but due to the crisis they have been laid off and now have only 3 people there to assist 20 people.

So, we get to the desk and ask the balding man holding on to the last bit of his blond dyed hair what is going on and After asking him where the luggage is he quickly informs us that he just simply does not know. Let me repeat that, The airline doesn’t know where our luggage is.

After telling him that we have nothing to shower with nor a change of clothes he gives us two courtesy shower kits, mine was complete with shampoo, conditioner, a two blade razor that was perfect for cutting up my face right before I had to take my pictures for my Foreigner Identification Card, and a wonderful white T-Shirt with a huge Iberia logo. In my girlfriends’s bag they gave her a comb, slippers, a toothbrush, and another Iberia t-shirt. But just forgot to put any shampoo or conditioner in it. So we had to go out and buy that anyways. Thanks Iberia!
After taking our phone number we were sent on our way to go find the bus station.

Update: They found our bags and sent them to my girlfriends house in VillaFranca de los Barros in Extremadura. The mailman couldn’t find the house and almost went back to Madrid without delivering them if it were not for my girlfriends mom seeing the guy in the street.

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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.