Teaching Abroad in Spain: Q&A

Teaching Abroad in Spain: Q&A

Interested in teaching abroad in Spain with the University of Toronto TEFL Online? We asked Christie at Teach Away about her experience teaching abroad in Gijon, Spain as an ESL Instructor.  This is what she had to say:

Why did you choose to teach ESL in Spain?

After graduating from university with a Bachelor’s degree in English, I wanted to live abroad and travel for a year. I knew the best way to do this as a native English speaker was to be an ESL instructor. I considered Japan, but ultimately chose Spain so I could have a unique experience, as well as learn Spanish.

What were some of your biggest challenges as a teacher in Spain?

I taught conversational English to working professionals and university students in a private language academy, and the most challenging aspect of the position was that I needed to constantly create and develop my own lessons and new materials. I taught students in small groups of three or less, and due to the structure of my classes I never knew which group of students I’d have for each class. This meant that I had to prepare unique lessons often to ensure that my students didn’t repeat the same material.

What is your number one must see spot in Spain?

In Madrid, The Temple of Debod. It’s by far the best place in the city to watch the sunset. More than that, I highly recommend visiting the northern coast of Spain and the provinces of Galicia, and Asturias, which is where I worked. It is so green, lush and mountainous up there, and the seafood is amazing!

What were the benefits, accommodation and salary like as a teacher in Spain?

Compared to other destinations, Spain doesn’t offer teachers extensive benefits or allow teachers to save a lot of money. My school provided me with temporary accommodation in a hotel at the outset of my contract, and a female coworker who spoke fluent Spanish helped me secure an apartment. My salary was approximately 900 euros per month and I paid 250 euros in rent each month. Since travel insurance was a condition of getting my working visa, I didn’t require health insurance from my employer, though it was available. The vacation time was amazing! I was given 5 paid vacation days every 3 months, plus national/provincial holidays, and also had 2 full months off in the summer, unpaid. I was able to travel extensively around Europe and home to Canada during my time off which was a definite perk!

As a member of the Teach Away team, what advice would you give to someone looking to land a job in Spain?

Just do it! Teaching abroad, whether you’re in it for the teaching or travel experience will be one of the best decisions you ever make. Try to learn some Spanish, and because Spain is so culturally diverse, familiarize yourself with the different regions and major cities where you might like to teach and live. Finally, set a savings goal and save money before you. Your savings will be your security blanket and make you feel comfortable going.

Want to teach in Spain like Christie? To learn more and compare our courses, click here.


Hello Kana,

Thank you for your comment! You can begin searching for job placement on the Teach Away job board, here: https://www.teachaway.com/teaching-jobs-abroad If you find that many of the positions that you are interested in require a TEFL certification you may wish to view our course options here: https://teflonline.teachaway.com/enroll/

If you have any other questions please let us know!


Christie Van Tol
I am South African and i want to exprience teaching away,i don’t know where to start applying.
Kana Mukhuba
Hello Fannie, I am excited to hear you are considering teaching English in Spain. You may want to get a 120-hour TEFL certificate before applying for jobs in Spain. You can review our course options here: https://teflonline.teachaway.com/enroll/ If you have any questions please let us know! Best, Christie
Christie Van Tol
Hi Shale,

Thank you for your comment. You bring up a very important point and have drawn attention to one of the most predominant difficulties teachers interested in teaching in Europe face – obtaining the permission to work. I myself obtained a Youth Mobility Visa via an agreement between the Canadian and Spanish government which allows young Canadians between the ages of 18-35 to work for a period of one year in Spain.

I did face a very high-level of competition when applying for jobs in the EU from other teacher applicants who were European citizens, and many of the jobs to which I applied specified they preferred application of EU citizenship; I applied anyway. I was committed to my goal of working in Spain, and overcame this obstacle by applying to and networking with schools in Spain online from Canada before my eventual relocation to Spain, without a teaching job. Schools were more receptive to my job applications once I was living in Spain, had a Spanish telephone number and could meet them face-to-face for an interview. I was flexible with my teaching location within Spain, and conducted my job search from the centre of Madrid which allowed me demonstrated my ability and willingness to relocate to any location within Spain easily from the capital.

If you yourself are interested in teaching in Spain or other countries in the EU I welcome any questions you may have.


Young Canadians interested in teaching in Europe who do not have EU citizenship are advised to check-out this page: http://www.youth.gc.ca/eng/topics/jobs/abroad.shtml

Christie Van Tol
Please contact me via email to enquire regarding teaching in Spain.

I have a Bachelors Degree in Management and would like to teach


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