Okay, so I’ve mentioned the Auxiliar Program on this blog before, but never in complete detail. Since the application is officially opening in a few days I figured this is a good time to lay out the dirty deets. Here are the answers to the most basic questions about the program!
What is an auxiliar?
“Auxiliares” are Language/Culture Assistants from North America. They are English or French speakers placed in a public/language schools throughout Spain by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports . Actual teaching subjects and grade levels vary, but English (or French) is always the auxiliar’s main focus. By technical requirements, an auxiliar is merely a supplemental resource to the classroom, but there have been many exceptions. Some auxiliares describe being underutilized while others describe being overworked. Each auxiliar experience is completely unique, and that’s a very important thing to understand if you’re interested in this program.
What are the requirements?
Are you from the United States or Canada? Do you have a bachelor’s degree (or will you have one by start date of the program)? Is English or French your first language? Are you physically and mentally healthy enough to pass a medical evaluation? Are you under the age of 60 (or 35 for Madrid)?
If your answers are all YES, then you are a qualified candidate, love! If you’re going to apply, do so quickly! This program isn’t particularly competitive, it’s all about first come first serve. That’s right, 10 years of Spanish classes, TESL certifications, and prior Spanish residency won’t have any bearing if you wait until the last minute to apply. So get to it!
Where do auxiliares work/live?
The regional education authorities will assign an auxiliar 1 or 2 schools to work in. Applicants have no choice in what school they receive, but they are able to select the regions of Spain they wish to work in. There are 3 groups of Spanish regions which you order by preference, selecting one region from each group as priority. Applicants also get to select city types (rural/medium/urban), and of course, the grade level they want to work with (primary/secondary). However, it’s important to know that none of this is guaranteed. The earlier you apply, the more likely you are to receive your exact placement preferences.
Group A: Asturias, Cueta y Melilla, Extremadura, La Rioja, Navarra, País Vasco
Group B: Aragón, Cantabria,
Castilla-La Mancha, Cataluña, Galicia, Islas Canarias
Group C: Andalucía, Castilla y León, Islas Baleares, Madrid, Murcia,
For sake of clarity, your admitted regional placement simply means that the school is going to be SOMEWHERE in that region. It’s not until weeks, sometimes months afterwards that you receive the actual address of the school you will be teaching in – aka the carta de nombramiento. You may want to hold off on apartment/piso hunting until then. I hear transportation can get very tricky.
How much does the program cost?
This program is ABSOLUTELY 100% FREE and you should NEVER pay any fees for application or registration (unless applying to the program with CIEE, which charges about $2,000 for extra resources and assistance along the way). All individual expenses, e.g. travel documents, transportation, housing, meals, and etc. are the responsibility of the auxiliar.
How do auxiliares make money?
First of all, auxiliares are issued student visas to live and work in Spain for a full academic year, typically October – June. Through the program, auxiliares work a whopping 12 hour week and make 700€ a month – except in Madrid, where they work a 16 hour week for 1200€ a month. This income is tax-exempt and is paid on varying schedules depending on the school and region in which you are placed. Many auxiliares say that the payment is enough to live on, but suggest offering private English lessons to make money on the side.
It’s very important to know that certain regions in this program are infamous for extremely late payments. I’m talking not receiving a penny for three months at a time. If that’s a serious issue for you (it is for me) I’d do some blog research for reoccurring region names to make sure you don’t select (or accept) placement in a problematic area, or you can look for a different program to teach in Spain with.
How do I apply?
Well, the application period for 2016 opens January 12th (5:59 pm EST) and closes on April 30th, 2016. If you are interested, I suggest you thoroughly read this document and gather your materials as soon as possible. It is lengthy, so be ready to take notes. There are plenty of other resources, such as guidelines, application samples, and etc. for applications on the home site.
Will you apply this year?