Why You Should Teach English in Spain (Pt. 2)

There are countless reasons why someone would want to come to Spain to teach ESL rather than another part of the world and many of the reasons are self explanatory (check out our other post on this topic). Who wouldn’t want to live in such a beautiful and culturally rich country as Spain?

In this post we are going to look at some of the other less obvious, but still incredibly beneficial, reasons why you should come to Spain to teach English.

Four-Day Work Week

That’s right! Even though school will be in session five-days a week, you will only be required to teach and be in the classroom four out of those five days.

You won’t know till you arrive the first day of class on October 1st (the Spanish school year goes from September to June but you’ll start a month after they do), but you will either have every Monday or Friday off.

That means, you’ll have a three-day weekend every week that you can dedicate to exploring your city or town, traveling all throughout Spain, going to the beach or taking a long-weekend trip to Germany or France.

The four-day workweek is great because it is the perfect balance between working hard and building up your experience and resume as an ESL teacher, all the while taking advantage of the beautiful and unique country you’ll find yourself in.

No Prior Teaching Experience Required

Maybe you’ve never taught ESL before but are looking for an opportunity to begin building your resume and experience. If that’s you, or even if you already have extensive ESL experience inside or outside of the classroom, this is the perfect position for you.

There is no requirement of previous experience and is open to anyone under the age of 60 that is a native English speaker.

If you’re looking for your “big break” into the ESL world, or have your TEFL certificate and would like to put some miles on it, then teaching English in Spain is the perfect fit for you.

The Salary is Great

In comparison to the average Spanish salary, what you will be making as an ESL teacher is amazing! And the best part is you won’t be paying taxes on anything!

As an ESL, or auxilar, in the Spanish public school system, you will be making anywhere between 750€ to 1,000€ depending on where you live.

For example, if you live in Madrid, the largest and most expensive city in Spain, you will be making a monthly salary of 1,000€ which will cover all your living expenses and then some. Since the cost of living (see our other post on this topic) in Spain is so much cheaper than, say, the United States, you can get by with a lot less and still live a very comfortable lifestyle.

If you’re living in a smaller Spanish city or region, such as Badajoz, you will be making about 850€ a month which will be more than enough since the cost of living in less populated areas is significantly less expensive than Madrid, Barcelona or Valencia, the three most populated cities in Spain.

In short, the salary you make as an ESL teacher is plenty and the pot is sweetened even more since there will be no taxes to pay on top of it!

Every euro you make is a euro you keep.

Free Health Insurance

One of the best perks from teaching ESL in Spain is that the Spanish government will provide you with free health insurance all the while you’re there teaching.

If for some reason you ever needed to go to the doctor because of a cold, or head to the hospital for something more serious, the Spanish government would take care of it and, best of all, foot the bill.

If you have any specific questions about teaching ESL in Spain leave a comment below or send us an email at rvfspain@gmail.com and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

For those of you who have already taught ESL in Spain before, what are some other exciting benefits or perks that you experienced?

 


 

If you found this post to be helpful, take a look at our other posts as we discuss a variety of topics related to Spain. If you are interested in teaching and living in Spain for a year, send us an email at rvfspain@gmail.com letting us know so we can contact you today!

Top 5 Places to Visit in Madrid

1. Retiro Park

Retiro Park

Akin to New Yorks Central Park, Retiro Park is Madrid’s perfect “getaway” destination on a hot, summer day or beautiful fall night if you don’t have the time to leave the city but still want to escape the hustle and bustle for even just an hour. Approximately 350 acres large, Retiro Park is full of open fields and spaces, misty fountains, rose gardens, and “secretive” little corners where it’s very possible and highly probable to get lost in a good book or conversation with a friend. No visit to Retiro Park is complete without a visit to the Crystal Palace or a boat-ride on Retiro Pond.

2. Templo de Debod

Templo de Debod

A Egyptian temple in Madrid? “I didn’t know the Egyptians ever made it that far North,” you might be tempted to ask yourself. Like most questions in life, including “will I ever not pay taxes?” and “am I gaining weight?” the answer for all three is no. The Debod Temple was gifted to the Spanish Government from Egypt and opened to the public 1972 as a sign of gratitude for their assistance in saving and relocating several priceless temples as water levels threatened to eternally submerge them after the opening of the Aswan High Dam in 1960. Once located in Upper Egypt and decorated by Roman Emperors Augustus and Tiberias, the Debod Temple now stands in Madrid’s Parque del Oeste (East Park), yet another of the cities gems.

3. Gran Via

Gran Via

It could be argued that Gran Via is Madrid’s equivalent of Times Square as it’s equally adorned with large advertisements for Broadway productions, upscale shops and restaurants and impressive architecture. Seen as a focal point and main attraction for Madrid, Gran Via, literally meaning Great Way, is both a principal street and tourist destination. Walking the street, admiring the architecture and stopping for a glass of Sangria is more of an obligation and less of a suggestion.

4. Puerta del Sol

Sol

Perhaps the heartbeat of Madrid, Puerta del Sol is where everything happens. Rich with history and surrounded by impressive buildings, Puerta del Sol is a wide and very spacious plaza that both invites and overwhelms you with its openness. You can take a picture by the famous bronze bear statue eating strawberries, a nod to the Madrid coat of arms from the 13th century, or walk in to any number of shops or cafeterias to escape the Spanish sun. Not only is Puerta del Sol a fascinating stop but it also marks the exact spot where all radial roads in Spain are measured from as Kilometer 0.

5. Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor

Visiting Plaza Mayor for a quick cup of café con leche or a beer and some tapas with friends is an absolute must. Perhaps one of the more “touristy” things you can do in Madrid, lounging around Plaza Mayor, located in the city center next to Puerta del Sol, is just as much fun as it is stereotypical. You wouldn’t dream of visiting Rome without throwing a coin into the Trevi Fountain, and the same could be said for a cup of coffee in Madrid’s Plaza Mayor.

 


 

If you found this post to be helpful, take a look at our other posts as we discuss a variety of topics related to Spain. If you are interested in teaching and living in Spain for a year, send us an email at rvfspain@gmail.com letting us know so we can contact you to set up a free 20 minute consultation!

5 Very Spanish Foods from Spain

1. Paella

Paella

Paella is a very popular rice dish from Valencia that has made its way all around the country and has become a staple dish in just about every corner you might visit. Chock full of shrimp and chicken, vegetables and oysters, paella is most commonly served for groups of 4 or more because of the giant woks used to slow cook the food.

2. Tapas

Tapas

There is no one specific Spanish dish that is known as a tapa. The best way to think of a tapa is as a hors d’oeuvres in terms of size and variety, but instead of eating them as an appetizer they become somewhat of the main meal. A Spanish tapa is just that; it could be a small sandwich or a slice of something and are almost always finger-food. Getting together with some friends at a Spanish bar, ordering a variety of tapas, and getting lost in conversation is perhaps the most Spanish thing one could ever do.

3. Olives

Spanish Olives

Where to begin. It could be argued that the king doesn’t in fact rule Spain; olives rule Spain. They are everywhere! Spain is one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of olives and olive oil in the world, which is very evident since it’s impossible to escape them. Thankfully they are just as delicious as they are ever present. Coming in a variety of flavors and cured brines, Spanish olives are addictive like no other and can be as easily downed as popcorn. Sitting out in a Spanish plaza with a cold beer and plate of olives is an absolute must.

4. Cocido Madrileño (if you’re in Madrid)

Captura de pantalla 2018-03-07 a las 13.01.16
Cocido Madrileño (Credit: http://www.comedera.com)

Cocido Madrileño is a fantastic dish that’s part chickpea soup and part meat concoction that’s commonly served during the winter months. Ripe with chorizo, morcilla (blood sausage), ham bones, and sometimes chicken, cocido madrileño will fill you up like you never thought possible.

5. Jamón Serrano

jamon 1

jamon

Spain is the world’s number one producer and importer of cured meats and is known the world over for its famous Jamón Serrano (Serrano Ham). Cut from a leg of ham with skilled culinary precision, Jamón Serrano is best eaten with cheese, a glass of wine and a couple slices of bread.

 


 

If you found this post to be helpful, take a look at our other posts as we discuss a variety of topics related to Spain. If you are interested in teaching and living in Spain for a year, send us an email at rvfspain@gmail.com letting us know so we can contact you to set up a free 20 minute consultation!

5 must-see cities to visit in Spain

1. Madrid

Madrid

As the capital of Spain, Madrid is an absolute must-see. Home to over 3 million people, Madrid has just about everything you could imagine: beautiful shops and world-renowned museums, breathtaking mountains, classic parks, and rich and flavorful restaurants speckled all over the city. Just about the only thing Madrid doesn’t have is a beach since it’s the furthermost point in the Iberian Peninsula from any ocean, a conscious decision made over 500 years ago to protect the capital from invading armies. Must-sees: Retiro Park (Madrid’s version of Central Park in NY), Puerta del Sol, Templo de Debod (an Egyptian temple gifted to the Spanish government in 1972), Casa de Campo, Reina Sofia and Prado Museums, and last, but not least of all, Gran Via: arguably Madrid’s version of Times Square.

2. Granada

Spain 4

Located in the South-West corner of Spain in Andalucía, Granada is one of the oldest cities in all of Spain and, at one time during the height of the Moorish rule, was one of the main focal points of art and culture in the world. Conquered again by the Spanish in 1492, Granada has since remained a city of dazzling architecture and unique buildings due to its Islamic-Christian influence that spanned hundreds of years. Must-sees: The Alhambra.

3. Barcelona

Barcelona

Known the world over for its unique Antoni Gaudí architecture and designed spaces, Barcelona is a real gem. Whether you are a soccer fan, an architecture nerd, tourist or wander, Barcelona has something for you. Located on the North-East coast of Spain along the Mediterranean Sea, Barcelona is not only home to remarkable architecture and feats of human ingenuity but also to simple and tranquil scenes that one encounters sipping a cold drink on a beach as they watch the sun set. Must-sees: Sagrada Familia Cathedral, Güell Park, Casa Milá, and Camp Nou Stadium where FC Barcelona plays.

4. Puerto del Rosario

FUE

Located on one of the 7 archipelago islands that make up the Canary Islands (yes, the Canary Islands are a part of Spain. Think of them as Spain’s Hawaii), Puerto del Rosario is the largest city on the island of Fuerteventura. The latest Star Wars movie was almost exclusively filmed on this island because of its extraterrestrial look and feel due to its volcanic and desert environment. Puerto del Rosario, and the entire island in general, are home to some of the most beautiful and peaceful beaches on the planet, as well as some of the clearest night skies around, explaining why one of the world’s preeminent observatories is located on the island. Must-sees: Lobo Island, Oasis Park, the sand dunes of Corralejo, and every beach such as Costa Calma.

5. Pontevedra

Pontevedra

Both city and municipality, Pontevedra is located in the North-West of Spain in the Autonomous Community (the equivalent of a state) of Galicia. Those visiting Pontevedra will find delicious seafood dishes such as Galician Seafood Rice (arroz marinero gallego) or Galician Octopus (pulpo a la gallega), as well as old cathedrals and medieval-era architecture that amazingly still stands today. Pontevedra is the perfect northern-coastal city getaway with picturesque beaches and local, fresh seafood. Must-sees: Leña Plaza, Church of the Virgin Pilgrimage, and the Monastery of Armenteira.

 


 

If you found this post to be helpful, take a look at our other posts as we discuss a variety of topics related to Spain. If you are interested in teaching and living in Spain for a year, send us an email at rvfspain@gmail.com letting us know so we can contact you to set up a free 20 minute consultation!

How to get a driver’s license in Spain

Guest Post: Travellingaroundspain.com


If you have moved to Spain permanently, it is likely that you will want the freedom of having your own car and driving to where you want while you living here.

You can get away with using your international driver’s license for awhile, but once you are legally residing in Spain you need to change over to a Spanish license.

If you haven’t braved driving yet in Spain, you might want to check out this How to survive driving in Spain

Spain has agreements with some countries such as those within the EU and the UK so they aren’t required to re-take the driver’s exam. If you have a license from one of these countries, you can simply exchange the license from the other country of origin to a Spanish one for a fee. For more information on this process, see this article Renewing or exchanging EU driving licenses in Spain.

If you fail to register to get a Spanish driver’s license and you get caught you can be fined 200 Euros.

Unfortunately, this agreement does not extend to either Canada or the USA.  For either of these countries and many others, you will have to get your driver’s license from scratch—by taking the theoretical and practical exams.


What is the process of getting a driver’s license in Spain?

If you do have to go through the process to get a license in Spain, these are a few things you need to know:

The laws about driving and anything related to driving, including getting your license are regulated by Departamento Generál de Tráfico.

You must be 18 to drive in Spain.

Most cars are manual shifts, and the exam is taken in a manual car.

If you are nervous about taking your driver’s license with a manual shift you can do the exam with an automatic as an exception, but then your license will be restricted and you will only ever be able to drive an automatic car in Spain.

This will limit you to choices of what to buy in the future as there are almost no manual cars. My suggestion is to bite the bullet and learn to handle a manual shift. It will make life easier for you here once you learn.

Getting your license requires two exams: theoretical and practical.


Theoretical Exam

To get your driver’s license in Spain you will need to register with a government-recognized autoescuela.

“What????” I can already hear you screaming. “I have been driving for 20 years, why would I need to go to a driving school here?”

An excellent question, one that most of us who have had to go through the process have complained about. However, in Spain the entire system is set up so that you have to get a license through a Government-validated school.

Even before you can start your 1st class in the government-recognized autoescuela, you’ll have to gather the following:

  • Proof of legal residence in Spain for a minimum of 6 months – show a valid NIE or passport with visa affixed.
  • At least one photo for your physical license. ( these are standard size and all photo stores can take one in a moment)
  • Certificate of mental and physical health, called a certificado medico (The certificado medico is an exam that tests your vision and reflexes. It costs around 20€ – 25€. Ask at your autoescuela for the one nearest you)
  • The form Obtenación de Permiso de Conducir (available at all driving schools)
  • A photocopy of your license from your home country
  • 30€ registration fee

Do I really need to study for this, it is just a theory exam after all?

The short answer is yes, you need to study.

The theoretic exam is much more extensive than I expected. It is nothing like the theoretic exam in Canada which requires glancing at the booklet for a few days and answering 20 easy questions at the nearest Government office.

The first clue of what the exam might be like is from the thick textbook you are issued when you sign up for the driving school. You need to learn not only traffic laws, but also some information about car’s mechanics—I’m not just talking about how to change a tire—but details about the motor, basic first aid skills and other a few other topics thrown in for good measure.

The exam is multiple choice and full of trick questions.

One tip:  If your Spanish is above the most basic level I strongly suggest you take the exam in Spanish. You can request to take the exam in English, but the translation is so poor that you will have no idea what they are asking you. I took the exam when I was still very new in Spain and I wasn’t confident with my Spanish. Thinking it would be to my advantage I requested the exam in English but that was a huge mistake. The grammar was a direct translation from Spanish with the English words thrown in—as for the vocabulary, I don’t know where some of the words came from, but I think it was something Shakespeare may have been better able to decipher, but for anyone who only speaks modern English it was a bust. I failed. When I retook the exam in Spanish I was able to pass.

The autoescuela books the exam for you and tells you the day and time. When you arrive you wait in a holding area as someone calls out the names of everyone being examined that day. Make sure you show up with your identification or you won’t be writing the exam. In Madrid there are usually around 200 people taking the exam at a time.  Everyone is then usured into a large exam room. You are given ½ hour to write the exam.

Don’t bother trying to cheat as not everyone gets the same exam. On any given day they will hand out about 5 different exams so it is unlikely that the person sitting next to you will have the same one.

The practical exam

Most schools offer classes to help you pass the theoretic driver’s exam and then throw in about 5 road classes for free. After that, you have to pay per road class, and they are rather pricey.

If you already have your license you won’t have to worry about the expense of extra driving classes as you can already handle that.

As I was from a small town in the rocky mountains that had more deer, elk and bear traffic than cars, I took advantage of the 5 free classes to get tips for driving in Madrid city centre, maneuvering around the roundabouts and making sure I understood some of the laws that are different here from in Canada.

As I had been driving for years I wasn’t very concerned about the practical exam.

It is about what you would expect. You have to show that you are comfortable driving, know how to tackle a roundabout, can drive on a freeway and parallel park.

The part I found odd was that you don’t show up in your own car, rather you use the autoescuela’s car. The examiner rides shotgun and two other students as well as the driving instructor from your autoescuela ride in the back. The three students take turns doing the exam.

Final thoughts:

The price of autoescuelas varies a lot so it is best to shop around. As with almost everything the cheapest is not always the best. It is better to go with recommendations of friends or put a note on a Facebook group to get suggestions.

For more information check out the DGT website.


About the author:

Author-Kimberly Shellborn copia

Kimberly is a Canadian who has been living in Spain for over 15 years. She spends her free weekends and vacations with her family getting to know her adopted country.

Her blog, travellingaroundspain.com is all about helping you discover the best of what Spain has to offer.

Along with many of the top tourist attractions, she also includes some of the smaller, but equally as interesting off-the-beaten-path villages, side streets or attractions.

 


 

If you found this post to be helpful, take a look at our other posts as we discuss a variety of topics related to Spain. If you are interested in teaching and living in Spain for a year or need assistance becoming autónomo, send us an email at rvfspain@gmail.com letting us know so we can contact you to set up a free 20 minute consultation!