Updated: Jan. 2018
So you want to apply for the North American Language and Culture Program in Spain, become an auxiliar de conversación and do your part in enriching the minds of children, who, after all, are our future…
Well, if we’re being totally honest here, maybe your endgame is just to spend a year living on the beach in one of the coolest countries in Europe, heard this was a way to do it, and thought, ¨Um…YES! HOW DO I APPLY?!
Maybe you miss Spain after an unfairly short study abroad program, or maybe you’re an aspiring teacher who wants to get a year of experience while living and traveling in Europe. You might not know anything about the job or even much about Spain. And if that’s the case, fair enough. Whatever your reason is, I wrote this article to explain everything and to help you do it.
What is an Auxiliar de Conversación?
To put it simply, we are assistant teachers in the Spanish school system who aid in teaching how to speak English. Most importantly we’re there to lead conversations, not teach grammar. The program is officially called the North American Language and Culture Assistants in Spain for us norteamericanos, but we’re called auxiliares on this side of the pond. We are employed by the Ministry of Education of Spain.
Where? When? How long? And for how much $$$?
We work 12 hours a week (16 hours in Madrid and Galicia) in either an elementary, secondary, or language school and get paid 700€ a month (1000€ in Madrid, 930€ in Galicia). Here comes THE question of the entire program: IS THAT ENOUGH MONEY TO LIVE ON!!??
Yes, it is. Considering it’s common for some Spaniards to get paid 1000€ a month to work, this is a really great gig. In addition to that we get full medical insurance and pay no taxes. Usually we work 3 or 4 days a week—some unlucky few go five days—but it will depend on the schedule that your school makes for you. Our contract is from October 1 to May 31 (people in Madrid go until June 30).
You will choose 3 regions (not cities) as your top choices and will be placed depending on your application number. The sooner you apply, the smaller your application number will be, and the more likely you are to get your first choice. Veteran advice: APPLY THE DAY IT OPENS!!
Am I qualified for this position?
- Are you an American or Canadian citizen?
- Do you have a college degree or will you graduate by the start date of the program?
- Is English or French your first language?
- Are you in good physical and psychological condition?
- Do you have a clean background check? (People with DUI’s and drinking tickets have been accepted in the past, so don’t have a heart attack yet. You should still try.)
If you answered YES to everything above, you’ve got what it takes! No teaching degree or certification is required.
Here is the program’s official Application Guidelines. Read ALL OF IT!
When Can I Apply?
Normally the application process opens during the first week of January and closes the first week in April. Click here to check for next year’s exact dates.
How to Apply for the North American Language and Culture Program
Before I start explaining the process, here are some very important links you need to review (I will be going over these links as we go):
- The North American Language and Culture Program Main Website
- Frequently Asked Questions PDF
- Application Guidelines
- Checklist (Print this!)
- Profex Login
- Profex Manual
Alright, let’s begin!
What do I need?
You will need the following documents in PDF format only:
- a copy of the front page of your passport (which needs to be valid through the whole program)
- a copy of your university transcripts (I requested an electronic copy of mine which worked nicely.)
- a letter of recommendation (guidelines here)
- a letter of intent – This is a cover letter, no more than 250 words long (preferably in Spanish but can be in English or French) which states why you want to do the program and your main purpose for applying. You also need to say somewhere in it that English is your native language. It must be SIGNED AND DATED! Don’t forget this.
Then, attach all the documents I mentioned above.
In this step you choose your first, second, and third choices of region. YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO CHANGE THESE LATER! When you hit submit, that’s it. Remember the regions that are not participating that I mentioned above.
After you submit your application, print out your Profex application and SIGN IT! Here is an example of it.
Also print the checklist, a copy of your passport, college transcripts, signed and dated letter of intent, and the signed and dated letter of recommendation.
Then send all of these printed documents by mail to your regional Educational Advisor whose address is listed on pages 9-10 of the Application Guidelines.
Finally, the hard part is over and now it’s just a waiting game. If you’re not too cool for Facebook, search “Auxiliares de Conversación” and become a member of this year’s group. This will be your single best source of information all year long and a way to ask questions to other auxiliares. Before asking a question, PLEASE use the ‘Search this group’ box to see if it has already been asked and answered. With thousands of people in the group, there are a lot of repeat questions.
INSCRITA– Online application submitted.
This is the most important thing! You want to complete the application as soon as possible to get a low application number so that you will be placed before the other thousands of people that apply. You should receive an email saying you’re inscrita right after you submit your application on Profex. If not, it has not been submitted correctly and you need to fix it on Profex ASAP! It will say BORRADOR if your application is still a draft.
MY INSCRITA DATES:
First year: Feb. 27, 2014, #3297
Second year: Jan. 8, 2015, #823
Third year: Jan, 12, 2016, #267
Fourth year: Jan. 9, 2017, #349 (Within the first 30 minutes—it fills up that fast!)
Fifth year: Jan. 9, 2018, #87
REGISTRADA– Paperwork is registered.
The papers you mailed to your coordinator have be received and you’re not missing anything. Sometimes this step happens at the same time as the next one, Admitida.
MY REGISTRADA DATES:
First year: March 28, 2014
Second year: March 13, 2015
Third year: Feb. 15, 2016
Fourth year: Feb. 15, 2017
ADMITIDA– Application complete!
All of your paperwork has been processed and you have submitted all of the required documents. You now can be given a placement in the program! YAY!! This means you still have to wait to be given a job, but you will most likely receive one. There are people with application numbers in the 4,000’s who get placed, you just have to be patient.
ADJUDICADA– Placement assigned!
Finally! The long and painful wait is over! Lastly you will receive an email with your placement which YOU MUST ACCEPT OR REJECT WITHIN 5 NATURAL DAYS or you’re automatically rejected—talk about the ultimate horror story!
MY ADJUDICADA DATES:
First year: May, 23, 2014
Second year: March, 18, 2015
Third year: May, 30, 2016
Fourth year: May 11, 2017
ACEPTADA– You accepted your placement.
RENUNCIA– You failed to accept your placement.
CARTA DE NOMBRAMIENTO
This is a letter that you will receive in the mail (or email) that will allow you to apply for a visa, which you need to start right away! It states your school’s address, that you have health insurance, and a contract for an academic year with the program. Let the adventure begin!