Auxiliares de Conversación: How Can Filipinos Become English Teachers in Spain

 

My attachment with Spain has been for years. It all started in college when I first got introduced to Spanish as a subject in my Journalism course at UST. After finding the language very interesting, I continued studying it in a Spanish school, and eventually made a living out of bilingual jobs. Along the way, I got to know more about Spain, the beautiful places, the culture, and its people, that I began wishing to go to Spain someday. 

"A dream without action is just a wish."

With that, I worked my way to make that dream happen. In 2018, after several Google searches on how to legally stay longer in Spain, I came across this programa de auxiliares de conversación (language assistants program), an internship program by the Ministry of Education of Spain under the Spanish Embassy in the Philippines. What's good is that the program is specifically offered to Filipinos with no strict age requirement (open to individuals 18-60 years old) and a well-recognized program by the Spanish Consulate that gives a bigger chance for national visa approval.

Actually, I was supposed to apply in 2019, but I just missed the application period! I realized the program follows a strict timeline, and the entire application may take several months, from interview period that starts as early as October to the visa application that's usually 3 months before September (of the following year), so it's very important to be well-informed early on and prepare the requirements right away. 
2009-2011 at Instituto Cervantes de Manila 
To be straightforward, the program’s description, requirements, and application steps seem overwhelming at first, but it's workable especially for the person who's eager to do it! With that, let me share what I know about the program, hopefully to inspire you in joining or if you're at a certain stage of the application already, I hope you can learn something from my experiences to help you make your own dream to go to Spain happen.

What’s the Ministry’s language assistants program

Basically, the language assistants program gives you the opportunity to teach English language in bilingual public schools across Spain. Students are either in primary, high school, or language institutions (adults). 

A language assistant (LA) has two main roles: 1) to assist the English teacher in improving the student’s English proficiency as a second language and 2) to perform cultural exchange by introducing his/her country through presentation, visual aids, etc. among the students. Secondary tasks may be requested such as attending meetings, giving talks, and participating in extracurricular activities (e.g. field trips, school exchanges, school plays, concerts, or sports carnivals).

How to be part of the program

Every year, the Ministry selects applicants from countries who partnered with the program, which include citizens of the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga, Solomon Islands, India, and Singapore.

For Filipino citizens, the selection process begins first by getting a slot for interview with the education adviser. It's done either through a face-to-face interview at the Spanish Embassy or via video call. The convocatorias (calls) and interview slots are given in two stages.

The first stage is for graduating students and fresh graduates of the Ministry's partner schools, namely ADMU, DLSU, Benilde, UP, UST, Cebu Normal University, West Visayas State University and Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan. Interested students of these schools must submit a letter of intent to the school's international relations or language departments to be pre-selected and then be recommended for interview with the education adviser. This stage takes place from October to January.

The second stage is for the general public, which includes undergraduates and graduates from non-partner schools. Again, the program is open to all Filipino citizens aged 18-60 years old, which means you don't have to be a current / recent student to be part of the program (I, myself graduated from college very long time ago). Second phase interviews are done in April, and the announcement for interview slots can be easily monitored thorough the Consejería de Educación en Filipinas' Facebook page.

If you pass the interview, you'll be instructed to create a profile and submit an application via Profex, a website that serves as portal of language assistants applications across the world. It's the same portal where you can choose your preferred region to teach in Spain (e.g. Community of Madrid, Community of Valencia, etc.) and education establishment (e.g. primary level, secondary level, etc.). Then, you'll eventually receive an assignment letter to know which region and school you're assigned at. Once you have an assignment, with the assignment letter as a very important requirement to apply for the visa, you may then process the visa application.  

A degree in education and/or teaching background isn’t required, but of course it’s a plus since it's a teaching program. Knowledge of Spanish isn’t required either as LAs are expected to teach in English only, but of course it’s an advantage as you’ll live in a Spanish-speaking country. 

The program is at least good for one academic year, which runs from October to June (the academic start and end dates depend on the region of assignment), and it’s renewable up to a maximum of 3 years under the Ministry's LA program. The visa being granted is a type D, which is a national visa (student visa). Therefore, it grants a número de identificación de extranjero (foreigner ID number) that you use to apply the número de identificación de extranjero (foreigner ID card). In turn, these allow you to stay legally in Spain and be able travel to European Union countries as if you’re only on domestic travel.

Frequently asked questions 

Do I receive money in this program? Yes. There’s a monthly stipend of 1000€ for Community of Madrid and Community of Valencia assignments, 700€ for other regions in Spain. It’s deposited in the LA’s Spanish bank account (which you have to open yourself once in Spain). 

Does the program provide free accommodation or assist you to find one? No. It’s really up to the LA to find an apartment or room for rent. 

Does the program provide flight booking? No. The LA has to book his/her own plane ticket. 

Does the program pay for the visa requirements and the visa fee? No. I'll discuss the visa requirements in the next blog, but some requirements you have to pay for include: NBI clearance, medical exam, DOH authentication, apostille, and visa fee.

Is it a face-to-face class? Unlike before (i.e. pre-pandemic days), it used to be 100% face-to-face. However, given the unpredictable times of the pandemic this year, it was stated in our assignment letter that online teaching conducted in our respective homes in Spain may be possible. I'm not sure if this will apply in the succeeding batches, but at least it's good to know that ahead to set the right expectation. I mean, we still have the pandemic, right? 

What’s the working hours? The LA is expected to report to the school 16 hours a week, which is equivalent to 4 working days a week (3 days off, hurray!). LAs may be assigned either to one or two schools. In case assigned in two, the LA works for 2 hours per school daily. What’s good is that you only work 4 hours a day, giving plenty of time to do something else (i.e. traveling locally maybe? hehe!)

For more information about the Ministry's language assistants program, you can visit Consejería de Educación en Filipinas through its website and Facebook page

I'll write more about the program, especially the application steps and requirements in the next blogs. For now, let me absorb the moment a little bit more and say "hasta pronto España!"



Auxiliares de Conversación: How Can Filipinos Become English Teachers in Spain Auxiliares de Conversación: How Can Filipinos Become English Teachers in Spain Reviewed by Shelly Viajera Travel on 17.9.20 Rating: 5

2 comments:

  1. When is your next blog aproximación? Nees to know how i can submit my application. Thank you so much for such great info amd sharing🙏

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will post more about the program soon. A pleasure to help aspirants! Application starts as early as October, but it´s for the partner schools first. There´s a second stage, which is open to the general public. Good luck!

      Delete

I want to hear from you! Please leave your comment! (:

Powered by Blogger.