FAQs: Teaching English in Spain for Filipinos
Listen up! If you want to teach English in Spain, then you need to get into the habit of reading. I’ve been receiving a lot of questions on Youtube, my DMs, and my recently opened Curiouscat account about the auxiliar program, so I’ve compiled all the frequently asked questions and answered them here on a nifty blog post for you. If I didn’t include your question here, it’s probably because I can’t provide an accurate answer. In such case, please contact the Embassy of Spain in the Philippines directly. See deets below!
My Background and Experience
First things first, why am I writing this and how am I involved in the program?
I applied for the Auxiliares de Conversación program in January 2018, got accepted in April, received my assignment in May, and flew to Spain to start my contract in October 2018, lasting up to June 2019. I’ve been working as an auxiliar, or language assistant, at a high school in Madrid for the last nine months.
I am not affiliated with the Embassy of Spain in the Philippines and cannot answer questions for them. I can only answer based on my personal experience during the application process in 2018. As of posting, the contact details of the Ministry of Education of the Spanish Embassy in Manila are as follows:
Education Adviser: Ms. Sandra Lozano Alberich
Embassy of Spain
27th floor, Equitable Bank Tower, 8751 Paseo de Roxas
Makati City, 1226, Metro Manila
Phones: +63 2 817 9997 / 817 6667
Fax: +63 2 817 4892
Applying for the Auxiliar Program for Filipinos
What is the Auxiliares de Conversación Program (AKA Auxiliar Program)?
The Auxiliar Program is an initiative of the Ministry of Education. The program is primarily devoted to providing college/university students and graduates from the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, France, and the Philippines with the opportunity to assist foreign language teachers and to learn about Spanish culture, society, and education system. Students participating in the program must have English or French as their native language.
What are the requirements?
The applicant must have a BA or BS degree by the end of the academic year preceding the start of the program or be enrolled as a junior or a senior in a BA or BS program. The applicant must be fluent in English.
What expenses does the Embassy of Spain take care of prior to flying there?
None. The auxiliar will shoulder all moving expenses, such as flights, rent, pocket money, etc.
Can I choose my city?
No, not your city. However, you can choose your autonomía (region), but it’s not guaranteed that it will be assigned to you. You will be allowed to indicate your top 3 choices during the application process though.
Can I choose what level I teach?
Just as with the autonomía, you may indicate your preference, but it is not a guarantee. I was assigned to a high school though, which was exactly what I wanted!
When can I apply?
As far as I know, applications open as early as January. Confirm with the embassy, por favor!
How was the visa application process?
Pretty standard. They gave us a letter of acceptance to show the consul, so it was much easier than applying for a tourist visa. I still presented the usual documents, though — affidavit of support, bank statements, every single document I could find that showed I could live comfortably during my stay in Spain and that I wasn’t there to illegally settle.
Being an Auxiliar
What do “Auxiliares” do?
We’re language assistants. We help Spanish teachers with classroom activities and provide students an opportunity to converse in English with native speakers. We are also cultural ambassadors and are often asked to talk about our own country, customs, etc.
How much do auxiliares earn? Is it enough?
For Madrid (and Valencia, I think) auxiliares, we earn 1000 Euros a month, for 16 hours of work per week. Auxiliares from other autonomías earn 700 Euros for 12 hours of work per week.
How much pocket money do I need to need to bring?
Enough to last 1-2 months of no salary.
Basic expenses per month you need to consider: Rent (400-500), Fianza or deposit (1-2 months’ worth of rent), Transporation (20 per month if you’re under 26 years old, much higher if you’re older), Food (my weekly grocery was around 20).
Are there any other ways to make money as an auxiliar with a student visa?
I’m scared. Any tips?
Fix your paperwork IMMEDIATELY, as in as soon as you get here, open a bank account, get a sim card, practice common spanish phrases, book an airbnb for your first 2 weeks so you have time to apartment-hunt... that's it. Enjoy your time here!
Are you going to renew your auxiliar contract in Spain?
Nope! I talk about this on my video here:
Life in Spain
How would you describe your experience in Spain in a nutshell?
Life-changing. Made me hate winter. Brought me closer to my goals, as all major life changes do.
Do I need to know Spanish to survive in Spain?
To survive, no. To thrive, yes. Don’t shy away from learning! Spanish people are very patient with people who are learning, in all fairness. In fact, they appreciate us more when we do try!
How did you learn Spanish? Any tips to learn faster?
I’m not fluent, but I can definitely understand now. I improved my listening through Netflix and casual conversations with friends I’ve made in the city. Over time I think it just comes naturally. I also love the Duolingo and Coffeebreak Spanish podcasts, both available on Spotify. More than anything, it was just constantly trying to make conversation with locals that helped.
Can I rent/reserve a flat before flying to Spain?
Yes, but I DO NOT recommend it. First of all, you could be scammed. Second, you don’t want to book a room you’ll be staying in for the rest of the year only based on sketchy pictures. What if the landlord is a nightmare? What is the room is falling apart? Trust me. You are better off apartment-hunting for weeks than settling for a dodgy flat. Just book an airbnb or a hostel for the first 14 days and do your search in person.
How was the apartment-hunting process?
Daunting. You can watch the entire experience here:
How did you find flatmates when you arrived in Spain?
I flew to Madrid with my friend Jannica, who I know from back home. We came to Spain with the intention of sharing a flat, so that’s what we did! You can find flatmates on the auxiliar facebook groups or you can try an app called Badi — it’s like tinder for flatmates. It’s awesome! That’s how I found my second roomie after Jannica moved out.
Thanks for reading and I hope this helped you! Buena suerte! :)