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.


I’d wish to get maximum information.
Naqash Akram
I found Christie’s story interesting. One huge factor which she neglected to comment on was how she managed to get a Spanish language school to sponsor her work visa? From what I know about teaching ESL in the EU, most (high 90s percentage) will consider only applicants with EU citizenship as they don’t want to bother with sponsoring work-visas. By default, the Brits and the Irish get almost all of these jobs.

I further think that it is irresponsible for the U of T to hold out Western Europe as a teaching destination for grads from their program…. given that there are very few opportunities for North Americans to teach ESL in the EU.


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