coastline of Spain
Marbella, Spain ©

Drew Graham, used under licence and adapted from the original.

With many postings available and no formal Spanish language qualifications required, the programme in Spain is open to a wide variety of candidates.

UK undergraduates required to take a year abroad as part of their studies are prioritised for posts however, there are still many posts available for those this does not apply to. 

Language Assistants in Spain are participants of a grant funded mobility programme and receive a monthly stipend, rather than a paid salary with contract of employment.  In most regions, the fixed monthly allowance is 800 euros p/month for 14 contact hours p/week.

The programme is not well suited to those looking to relocate to a specific area of Spain permanently. likewise, it is often not suitable for those who already live in Spain. This is because you are unlikely to receive a placement close to your residential address, or desired residential area.

How does the programme operate in Spain? 

The Language Assistants Programme is a bi-lateral mobility programme. The Spanish Ministry of Education (Ministerio de Educación y Formación Profesional) administers the Language Assistants Programme in Spain. They liaise with the regional education authorities (Comunidades) in Spain on the British Council’s behalf. The regional education authorities in Spain manage your placement while you are in Spain. 

As part of our processes, we will be sharing the information you include in your application with the Ministry of Education and the regional/local authorities and schools that they work with. By submitting an application, you are agreeing to us sharing the information included in the form with all parties listed above.

Am I eligible?

To be a Language Assistant in Spain you must:

  • fulfil the general eligibility criteria 
  • be aged 60 or under 
  • hold a UK or European Union passport (those who hold only a Spanish passport are not eligible. Dual nationals in possession of a non-Spanish European passport are eligible and should provide details of both their passports on the application form).

* Proficiency in Spanish is not required, in order to apply or receive a post. However, applicants are strongly recommended and encouraged to learn or improve their Spanish before departure as this will ease the transition of moving abroad. Successful applicants will be required to carry out administrative tasks in Spanish before and upon arrival in Spain and your allocated school may not be able to support with this. The British Council will not be able to assist in translating or aiding with tasks or paperwork in Spanish. 

When do placements start?   

Posts in Spain will run from 01 October 2024 until 31 May 2025, except for Comunidad de Madrid posts which run until 30 June 2025. 

How many hours will I work?  

Language Assistants in Spain work approximately 14-16 hours per week depending on the post.  

This will be confirmed in the carta de nombramiento (appointment letter) which successful Language Assistants will receive directly from the Spanish authorities May-September 2024. Your timetable will be provided to you directly by your school(s) upon arrival. Indicative information on the number of hours worked by region is also available in the menu below.

What type of institution will I be working in? 

There are posts available in Spanish secondary schools, primary schools and state language schools (Escuelas Oficiales de Idiomas, for adult learners). You may be working across more than one institution in the local area. 

Many schools in Spain have prominent Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) programmes, in which they teach a variety of subjects in English, including maths, science, history, geography, art, music and physical education. You should therefore be prepared to help with English activities in a range of subject areas.

Where would my placement be?

Posts are available in all Spanish regions. The British Council works with our partners at the Spanish Ministry of Education to allocate each candidate to a region of Spain. Applicants cannot choose where their placement will be in Spain and are allocated a placement however, we encourage all applicants to express regional preferences which are taken into consideration. 

It is important that the British Council and Spanish Ministry of Education allocate assistants to rural as well as more urban institutions, as pupils in both settings deserve the opportunity to benefit from exposure to other cultures and language learning. Many posts in Spain are in small towns and villages which can provide a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and develop or boost language skills.  

If you already live in Spain, please note that due to the way applications are prioritised it is unlikely you will be offered a placement in or near the area where you live. Read more under the ‘Who is the programme aimed at?’ heading on the eligibility criteria page

Selecting placement preferences 

You can select one regional preference from Group A, one from Group B, and a final preference from any of the three groups. If you state ‘no preference’ this means you are happy to be placed in any region within that group. Candidates are strongly encouraged to conduct their own research before selecting regional preferences as no changes can be made once an application has been submitted. We have provided some information about each region in the blue dropdown menu below.  

The areas listed in the blue dropdown menu refer to regions and not towns or cities, although they may share the same name (e.g., Valencia, Madrid). While you can specify a preference for a particular environment, it is not possible to apply to a specific city or district within a given region e.g., specifying Barcelona if choosing Cataluña as your regional preference. 

In your application you can also state preferences for environment (city, town, rural) as well as which age group you would prefer to teach (primary, secondary, adult). The Spanish Ministry of Education share this with the regional education authority in your allocated region, who take your environment and age group preferences into account when they match each Language Assistant with available institution(s) across their region.    

Although preferences are taken into consideration, it is often not possible to meet them, and applicants may be allocated a placement that does not align with their stated preferences.   

In certain regions of Spain, there are cultural and religious sensitivities regarding the wearing of religious clothing and clothing that conceals the face. In some schools in the region of Melilla, wearing a burka is discouraged - although this is not true of all schools. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us, and we will try to ensure that you are allocated to a suitable school.   

We encourage people of all under-represented groups, communities and backgrounds to apply for our programme. Applicants from such groups are encouraged to inform us of any strong preferences you have so we can facilitate a suitable placement for you. Explain any strong preferences you have in the Preferences section of the application form, and we will try to meet them.

Refer to the Apply page   or contact LanguageAssistants.UK@BritishCouncil.org for more information. 

Group A: Asturias, Ceuta, Extremadura, La Rioja, Melilla, Navarra, Pais Vasco 

Group B: Islas Baleares and Canarias, Aragón, Cantabria, Castilla-la Mancha, Cataluña, Galicia  

Group C: Andalucía, Castilla León, Madrid, Murcia, Valencia 

Group A: Asturias, Ceuta, Extremadura, La Rioja, Melilla, Navarra, Pais Vasco

Asturias

A northern coastal region with a small number of predominantly rural and town postings. With its unspoilt beaches great for surfing and the Picos de Europa, Asturias is the perfect location for nature lovers and adrenaline junkies alike. You will receive €800 per month for 14 hours a week worked. 

Ceuta 

Spanish autonomous city on the north coast of Africa with a small number of city postings. Proximity to Morocco makes working here an exciting opportunity for anyone with an interest in Arabic or North Africa. You will receive €800 per month for 14 hours a week worked.

Extremadura

Western Spanish region bordering Portugal with good links to both Northern and Southern Spain. With six UNESCO sites this could be a perfect destination for history, architecture and nature lovers wishing to immerse themselves in Castellano Spanish. A large variety of postings are available. You will receive €935 per month for 16 hours a week worked. 

La Rioja

Located in the north of the Iberian Peninsula, the region is famous for its wineries, festivals and religious architecture. A variety of posting are available. La Rioja could be a perfect region for those wishing to avoid touristy areas and immerse themselves in Castellano Spanish. You will receive €800 per month for 14 hours a week worked.

Melilla

Spanish autonomous city on the north coast of Africa with a small number of city postings. Proximity to Morocco makes working here an exciting opportunity for anyone with an interest in Arabic or North Africa. You will receive €800 per month for 14 hours a week worked.

Navarra

Northern geographically diverse region with a small number of predominantly rural and town postings. With its proximity to France, the region may be of particular interest to dual linguists of French and Spanish. You will receive €800 per month for 14 hours a week worked. 

País Vasco

Beautiful region in northern Spain with its own cultural traditions and celebrated cuisines. A large number of predominantly rural and town postings are available. Despite its rural nature, the region has excellent transport links enabling easy commuting and travel to other parts of Spain. Please note that País Vasco is a bilingual region. Basque is often the first language in rural areas, however in cities Castellano Spanish is also commonly spoken. You will receive €800 per month for 14 hours a week worked.Candidates should consider that the cost of living and accommodation may be higher in this region. 

Group B: Islas Baleares and Canarias, Aragón, Cantabria, Castilla la Mancha, Cataluña, Galicia

(Islas) Baleares

Located in the Mediterranean, this region is made up of the four large islands of Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera, as well as several minor islands and islets. Postings are usually available on each of the four main islands, although schools in the major cities are limited. Candidates should consider that accommodation on some of the islands can be expensive due to tourism. Please note that Islas Baleares is a bilingual region, with dialects of Catalan and Castellano Spanish often spoken in schools. You will receive €800 per month for 14 hours a week worked.

(Islas) Canarias

Made up of seven main islands (Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro) the region is known for its rugged volcanic mountains, pine forests and sandy beaches. Postings are usually available on each of the main islands, although schools in the major cities are limited. Candidates should consider that travel to and accommodation on some of the islands can be expensive due to tourism. You will receive €800 per month for 14 hours a week worked.

Aragón

Known for its picturesque medieval towns and villages, Aragón hosts the highest and arguably most beautiful section of the Pyrenees mountain range - offering hiking, climbing, skiing, canyoning, rafting and paragliding opportunities. A variety of postings are available. You will receive €800 per month for 14 hours a week worked.

Cantabria

Northern coastal region with a very small number of postings available. With its unspoilt beaches and prehistoric caves, as well as the Picos de Europa mountain range, Cantabria is the perfect location for those who enjoy spectacular landscapes. You will receive €800 per month for 14 hours a week worked. 

Castilla-La Mancha

Dotted with small, peaceful cities as well as vineyards, castles and windmills, this historically important region is the setting of Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote. This region could be a perfect destination for candidates wishing to immerse themselves in Castellano Spanish. A variety of postings are available. You will receive €800 per month for 14 hours a week worked. 

Cataluña

A north-eastern region (bordering France and Andorra) with its own language, unique local customs and a distinct history dating back almost 1,000 years. Predominantly rural, town and small city postings are available. Those applying to Cataluña in the hope of a placement in Barcelona should be aware that every year there are very few postings in and around Barcelona city and therefore competition for these posts is extremely high. Please note that Cataluña is a bilingual region. Catalan is often the first spoken language with Castellano Spanish less commonly spoken. You will receive €800 per month for 14 hours a week worked.

Galicia

Galicia is a vibrant region famous for its distinct cuisine and beaches. Its capital Santiago de Compostela is the final destination of the ‘Camino de Santiago’ pilgrimage, and as such the region’s people are renowned for being extremely welcoming. Its proximity to Portugal may make the region interesting to dual linguists of Portuguese and Spanish. Please note that Galicia is a bilingual region. Gallego is often the first language in rural areas, however Castellano Spanish is also commonly spoken. A large variety of postings are available. You will receive either €935 per month for 16 hours per week, or €800 per month for 14 hours a week worked. 

Group C: Andalucía, Castilla León, Madrid, Murcia, Valencia

Andalucía

From small fishing villages to the famous mountainous hinterland, picturesque towns and lively cities; Andalucía is one of the largest regions with a high number of postings available. You will receive €800 per month for 14 hours a week worked. Most Language Assistants in Andalucía will be posted to bilingual centres where they are responsible for helping with English activities in a range of different subject areas e.g., History, Art, Science.

Castilla León

Consisting of nine provinces, Castilla y León is the biggest region of Spain and has a large variety of postings available. The region has several beautiful World Heritage status cities including Segovia, Salamanca and Ávila. With links to Portugal, Madrid and the North, Castilla y León could be a perfect place for those wishing to explore Spain whilst avoiding anglophone tourist hotspots. You will receive €800 per month for 14 hours a week worked.

Madrid

Located in the centre of the Iberian Peninsula, the capital of the Madrid region is also the capital of Spain. A large variety of postings are available, although candidates should be aware that postings are across the region, not just in Madrid capital city. Those applying to Madrid may experience delays receiving the details of their postings, therefore if naming the region as a preference, you must be flexible and prepared for the possibility that school allocation information may not be received until mid to late September - close to placement start dates on 01 October. You will receive €1000 per month for 16 hours a week worked. Candidates should consider that the cost of living and accommodation may be higher in the Madrid region. 

Murcia

A coastal agricultural region, famous for its beaches, orchards, olive groves, medieval castles and villages. In 2006 the World Health Organisation named Murcia’s regional climate as one of the best in the world, therefore the region might be the perfect place for those looking for good air quality, Mediterranean diet and a warm dry climate. A variety of postings are available. You will receive either €825 per month for 15 hours a week worked, or €800 per month for 14 hours a week worked.

Valencia

Located along the Mediterranean coast, the Valencian Comunidad consists of three provinces;  Castellón, Valencia and Alicante. A large variety of postings, predominantly in primary schools, are available. Please note that Valencia is a bilingual region, with both Valenciano and Castellano Spanish spoken in most schools. Candidates applying to Valencia should be aware that previous assistants have experienced delays to receiving their monthly stipends. As a precaution, candidates naming the region of Valencia as a preference should ensure that they have access to alternative funds throughout the year. You will receive either €1000 per month for 16 hours a week worked, or €800 per month for 14 hours a week worked.

Will I need a visa?  

Language Assistants going to Spain who do not have a current EU passport or valid Spanish residency paperwork will have to apply for a long stay student visa/ visado de estudios .  

Applicants apply for their visa independently and should be prepared to invest a significant amount of time into the process. Upon arrival in Spain, there is also a significant amount of complex administration to complete. From the point of allocation, the process of obtaining your visa can continue until just before your arrival in Spain in October.   

Applications for the visa will be made through the Spanish Consular offices in the UK, who may outsource visa processing to a third-party named BLS. You should not apply until you have been instructed to do so by our team.           

Please note that visa requirements can change at short notice, and the British Council cannot be held responsible for any changes to Spanish visa processes or costs which are given as a guide only. 

What are the costs involved?  

You will be paid directly by the Spanish authorities during the assistantship. Indicative information about monthly allowances and hours in each region is available in the dropdown menu above.   

Applicants should also be aware that there are significant costs associated with the visa process and relocating to Spain. The months prior to departure and the first few months in Spain can be an expensive time. These costs include:  

  • International Child Protection Certificate (ICPC) (approx. £75) 
  • Visa application including legalisation and translation of required documents (£400- 600)  
  • Travel costs to and from visa appointment 
  • Travel costs to Spain once visa granted. 
  • Accommodation costs including initial temporary accommodation and deposit for permanent accommodation  
  • Administrative residency and arrival costs in Spain e.g., NIE/TIE/Empadronamiento (€20-30)  
  • Travel insurance 

In addition to the costs listed above it is important that assistants prepare for at least two months of delayed monthly allowance payments. This is because the first payment of your allowance, issued by the local Spanish authorities, may not arrive until late November. Unfortunately, administrative processes in Spain are complex which can lead to subsequent delays to you receiving your monthly allowance beyond November.  

I’ve been a British Council Language Assistant in Spain – can I apply again?  

If you are currently or have previously been a British Council appointed Language Assistant in Spain, you may be eligible to apply for a consecutive year in Spain. Different regions have different rules regarding consecutive year applications. Please see the returning applicants’ guidance page for more information.

Where can I get information about my placement from? 

The guide for Language Assistants in Spain 2023-24 is available to download in PDF format below. This information has been provided for reference and is subject to change each year. Updated guidance for Assistants going out on placement in 2024-25 will be available in summer 2024.