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.

The Spanish Ministry for Education is interested in receiving applications from students and graduates from a range of academic disciplines. 

Language Assistants in Spain are considered participants of a grant funded mobility programme and receive a monthly stipend, rather than a paid salary with contract of employment. As such, the programme may not be suited to those looking to relocate to Spain permanently, or candidates with dependants due to allocation timelines and the need for flexibility regarding locations. 

Am I eligible?

To be a Language Assistant in Spain you must:

  • fulfil the general eligibility criteria 
  • be aged 60 or under 
  • proficiency in Spanish is not required, but recommended* (see note below)
  • 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, but at least level A1 is highly recommended. 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.

Will I need a visa? 

From 2021, 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. The cost is currently £174 (GBP) plus an administrative fee of £54.40 (GBP). 

Applications for the visa will be made through the Spanish Consular offices in the UK. 

Applicants should also be aware that there are likely to be significant additional costs associated with the visa process. Other assistants have quoted up to several hundred pounds of extra expenses involved with obtaining the required documentation and travelling to appointments. The costs involved can vary depending on your individual circumstances and applicants must take responsibility for researching in advance and preparing for the costs involved in their own visa application. 

Please note that visa requirements can change at short notice, and the British Council cannot be held responsible for any changes to the visa process or to the approximate costs listed above which have been given as a guide only.

If allocated a placement, you will receive the most up-to-date information for the processes but applicants should be prepared to show a level of initiative and independence during the visa process. You should not apply until you have been instructed to do so by the team.   

When do placements start?  

Posts in Spain will run from 1 October 2022 until 31 May 2023, with the exception of Comunidad de Madrid posts which run until 30 June 2023.  

How much will I be paid? 

Indicative information about pay and hours is available in the regional information below. 

How many hours will I work? 

Language Assistants in Spain work approximately 12-16 hours per week depending on the post. Please be aware that the number of hours can vary depending on the region and institution that assistants are allocated to, this will be confirmed in the contract (nombramiento) which will be issued to assistants directly by the Spanish authorities. Your timetable will be provided to you by your school.

How many posts are available? 

Due to the growing importance of language-learning in Spain in recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of language assistant posts in the country. Undergraduates required to complete a year abroad at a UK university will still be treated as priority candidates, but we also expect to be able to offer a large number of posts to graduates or students of other subjects.

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 Idioma, for adult learners).

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. These schools often refer to themselves as 'bilingual schools' or as having bilingual departments. CLIL programmes are most prominent in the regions of Madrid and Andalucía, where there is a focus on maths and science, but can be found across Spain. You should therefore be prepared to help with English activities in a range of subject areas.

What holidays will I have? 

The school calendar dates in Spain are determined by the respective autonomous communities or cities but generally run from September to June. Typically, assistants can expect to receive the same school and national holidays as their institution.  

You may also wish to view the Spain school calendar website for guidance but please bear in mind your institution will give you full details of your term dates when you begin your post.

Will there be an induction course? 

You will be allocated to either a Ministerio or Comunidad post. 

The Ministerio will organise a central induction in Madrid before the start of your placement. Each autonomous region’s Comunidad will organise their own induction day to be held in the region, sometimes after your official start date.  

Full details on induction days will be sent to you directly by the Ministerio or Comunidad.

Where can I go? 

Posts are available in all Spanish regions. In most cases, candidates are allocated to a region in the first instance, with the local authorities in each region choosing the environment and type of school for each successful candidate through final allocations. For this reason, we encourage all applicants to express regional preferences. 

Because of the nature of the programme, it is not always possible to allocate applicants to one of their preferred regions. Flexibility is absolutely crucial for all applicants to the programme in Spain, including consecutive assistants, and you should be willing to accept a placement in regions you have not listed. Although preferences will be taken into consideration, please note that they cannot always be guaranteed.  

You can choose one regional preference from Group A, one from Group B, and final preference from any of the three groups. We have provided some information about each region below. Candidates are strongly encouraged to conduct their own research before selecting preferences as no changes can be made once an application has been submitted. 

The areas listed in the group information below refer to regions and not towns or cities, although they may share the same name (e.g., Valencia, Madrid). It is not possible to apply to a city or district within a given region and you should expect to be allocated anywhere within the region. 

It should be noted that many of the posts in Spain are in small towns and villages. Previous programme participants have highlighted that more rural placements provide a real immersion in Spanish culture and language. It is important that the British Council and Spanish Ministry for 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. 

If you need to be in a specific region due to your language studies (e.g. you are studying Catalan), please tell us this in your application form in the section asking your motivation for your regional 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.

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 €700 per month for 12 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 €700 per month for 12 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 €700 per month for 12 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 €700 per month for 12 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 €700 per month for 12 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 is also commonly spoken. You will receive €700 per month for 12 hours a week worked.

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 €700 per month for 12 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 expensive due to tourism. You will receive €700 per month for 12 hours a week worked.

Aragón

Known for its picturesque medieval towns and villages, Aragon 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 €700 per month for 12 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, Cantabria is the perfect location for those who enjoy spectacular landscapes. You will receive €700 per month for 12 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 €700 per month for 12 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 €700 per month for 12 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, as such the region’s people are renowned for being extremely welcoming. Its proximity to Portugal may make the region interesting to duel linguists of Portuguese and Spanish. Please note that Galicia is a bilingual region. Gallego is often the first language in rural areas, however Castellano is also commonly spoken. A large variety of postings are available. You will receive either €935 per month for 16 hours per week, or €700 per month for 12 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 wide variety of postings available in geographically diverse villages, towns and cities. You will receive €700 per month for 12 hours a week worked.

Castilla León

Consisting of nine provinces, Castilla y Leon 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 León could be a perfect place for those wishing to explore Spain whilst avoiding anglophone tourist hotspots. You will receive €700 per month for 12 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.

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 €700 per month for 12 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 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 €700 per month for 12 hours a week worked.

I’ve worked as a 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 2021-22 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 2022-3 will be available in summer 2022.

Last updated: 20/10/2021