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?
You will be paid directly by the Spanish authorities during the assistantship. Indicative information about pay and hours in each region is available in the menu below.
Applicants to Spain should be aware that you will generally receive your monthly pay in the first fortnight of the following month. The first payment of your allowance may not arrive until late November, so you should ensure that you have sufficient funds for this time. Previous assistants have recommended budgeting for at least two months without pay so that you do not run out of money before you get paid.
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.