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Teaching English in Spain at a Glance

Teaching English abroad is a dream for many, as it gives you the opportunity to travel and explore another culture while also making money to support yourself. If this is a dream of yours, you might be wondering what it’s like. In this blog we’ll go through what it’s like to teach English in Spain at a glance.

The biggest benefit of living in Spain? Spanish culture! Spanish people are known to be friendly and open. Working as a language assistant in Spain gives you the opportunity to live in Spain for a full school-year, meaning you really get to embrace yourself in the Spanish culture. For many, the biggest cultural difference is how much more laid-back Spain is. Spanish people value their free-time, and the work-life balance in Spain allows for much more of it. It is very typical to see people sitting at cafes for hours, enjoying their coffee and talking to friends. In the middle of the day, from around 2pm-5pm, shops are typically closed for “siesta”. This gives the workers time to go home and have a meal, and even a nap, before finishing work for the day.

Teachers in Spain usually start their day around 9 in the morning, which is when the first class starts. English classes are usually interactive, meaning the students are participating orally in different activities. When you work as a language assistant, you are in the classroom to interact with the students as much as possible, so that they can practice their English. Listening to your native accent will help them improve their pronunciation. This is a fun job, as the students are often very curious and motivated to learn from a native speaker. They will also love to hear about your country and cultural background! Lunch is typically eaten at the school, with the students. Some schools have cafeterias that serve lunch, but in many cases, you will bring your own lunchbox. The school day usually ends around 2pm, giving you plenty of time to enjoy the afternoon. Maybe try out some Spanish foods?

Do you think this lifestyle sounds interesting? Contact our team today and we’ll help you fulfill your dream of teaching English abroad in Spain!

How much money do you make teaching English in Spain?

Teaching English overseas is a great opportunity to explore the world without emptying your wallet. Spain is a popular destination for travelers all around the globe, known for its rich culture, beautiful architecture, tasty food and pleasant climate. Teaching English abroad in Spain might be the perfect opportunity to travel in a more sustainable way.

The potential salary of a person teaching English in Spain will of course depend on their level of education and experience. A public-school primary teacher earns about 36 000 USD a year, making Spanish teachers some of the highest paid worldwide[1]. As a native speaker, and especially as a certified language teacher, you can work in private academies and give private lessons, which will earn you anything from 10-20 EUR/hour. It’s good to know that Spain is a very affordable country. It is not difficult for an English teacher to make a good living in Spain.

English teachers are also in high demand in Spain, making it the perfect opportunity for native speakers to make the move to Spain. If you’re someone who likes the idea of teaching abroad, but does not have the education nor experience, look no further. RVF International was awarded the best teach abroad program of 2021[2]. We give native speakers the chance to share their linguistic skills by working as language assistants in Spanish primary, middle and high schools. With our program you’ll work 12-20 hours a week and make from 700-1000 EUR, enough to cover your expenses in Spain and to explore the country. Who knows, maybe you’ll fall in love with teaching? With our program you’d gain experience teaching for a whole school year, which will strengthen your CV. If you do wish to strengthen your teaching skills while in Spain, we can help you get TEFL/TESOL certified and even give you a discount on the programs. This might be the perfect opportunity to kick-start your career.

What are you waiting for? Contact our team today and we’ll help you fulfill your dream of teaching English overseas in Spain.

[1] https://www.thelocal.es/20160915/teachers-in-spain-among-the-highest-paid-worldwide/

[2] https://www.gooverseas.com/community-choice-awards/teach-abroad?utm_source=PG&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=GOCCA2020

Can you teach English in Spain without knowing Spanish?

Teaching English in Spain can be a great opportunity to use your knowledge of your native language to help others improve their linguistic skills. You’ll both have an opportunity to make a difference in the life of Spanish children and youth, while you get to explore a new culture. RVF International will help you every step of the way to become an English teacher abroad. But what if you don’t know any Spanish? Can you still be a successful English teacher?

Whenever you travel, and especially when living in a foreign country with a foreign language, it is always beneficial to learn some key phrases. Depending on where in Spain you are and who you’re speaking to, the level of English will vary greatly. Outside of the bigger cities, a lot of people don’t know English at all. Therefore, you should know how to communicate in basic terms. For example, knowing how to order in a restaurant or ask how much something costs would be useful. There are different ways to go about learning Spanish. The good thing is that once you’re in Spain, immersed in the culture and language, you’ll start picking up words and phrases. After teaching abroad in Spain for a year you will be sure to have acquired lots of new knowledge. 

When teaching a foreign language, the main goal is for the students to practice the language as much as possible. As a language assistant, you act as a support to the main teacher in the classroom. The main teacher is of course fluent in Spanish, meanwhile, their English level can vary. Having a language assistant in the classroom gives the students the opportunity to listen to and communicate with a native speaker, which will help them with their pronunciation. In one way not knowing Spanish can be beneficial. As soon as the students hear that you speak and understand Spanish, they will try to communicate with you in Spanish as they feel more comfortable. Faced with someone who does not understand Spanish, they have no choice but to put their English skills to practice. Consequently, you will make the classes more immersive. If there’s something the students don’t understand, they will also need to practice how to phrase the question in English. If there’s a need to explain something in Spanish, the main teacher can help. So do not worry, as a language assistant your job is to be an expert in your native language. In return, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to improve your Spanish skills, outside of the school.

What’s It Like Living in Spain as an English Teacher?

Spain is a popular destination for both tourists and expats from all over the world. Spain is actually the second most visited country in Europe. If you’re looking to teach English abroad, or move to Spain as an expat, you might be wondering what life is like in Spain as a foreigner. Here at RVF International we fulfill the dream of moving to Spain for hundreds of people each year, by helping them become language assistants in Spanish schools.  Many of our participants decide to stay a second or third year, because they love it so much.

The first thing to be aware of when considering moving to Spain is the language barrier. Although Spain is a popular tourist destination, life generally happens in Spanish. In the larger cities and tourist destinations, it is not difficult to find English speaking Spaniards, but generally the level of English is lower than in many European countries. You’ll find that almost all movies and TV-shows are dubbed to Spanish. This doesn’t have to stop you from moving to Spain, of course. There are plenty of ways to learn Spanish, and language schools all over Spain for foreigners who want to learn the language. It’s a good idea to learn some basics before settling in Spain, like how to ask for directions or order a meal. Finding other expats and fellow English teachers is easy, all over the country there are Facebook groups for similar-minded people looking to get to know each other.

The reason many people decide to move to Spain, is because they want to get out of their busy lifestyle. For many, the Spanish lifestyle is more appealing. It is the land of siestas after all. This means that in the middle of the day, most businesses will close for a few hours, allowing the workers to go home and rest. In North America and Northern Europe this might sound absurd, as people are used to working long shifts without resting. Therefore, it might take getting some used to before you can fully embrace the Spanish lifestyle. Here, when you grab a coffee, it is rarely to-go, people usually sit down for a couple of hours and enjoy a coffee and something sweet. The slow-paste lifestyle is not always so relaxing, however. When it comes to bureaucracy, things could move a lot faster. Either if you’re trying to obtain a resident number or registering in the town hall, you’ll find the process a lot more time consuming than anticipated. Just making the appointment itself will usually take many tries. Most public systems are not digitalized, and you must show up in-person. The good thing is that once you have the bureaucratic procedures completed, things will fall into place. 

One thing that will surprise many foreigners about Spain is how affordable it is. Things like eating out, catching a bus or renting an apartment will often cost a lot less than in your home country. This makes Spain attractive for foreigners who are looking to move abroad. The demand for English teachers is also high, making it a great country for anyone who wants to teach. Spain’s two biggest cities, Madrid and Barcelona, have experienced an increase in the cost of living. This is especially true for rent-prices. It might therefore be a good idea to research other places to live more affordably in Spain.

Want to experience living in Spain and working as an English language assistant without going through the complicated bureaucracy yourself? We’ll support you all the way from getting you the school placement and throughout your time in Spain. Contact us today and set up a free meeting to learn more about our program.

Camino de Santiago: The Routes or The Ways (2/2)

As we mentioned in our last post, while the school at your ESL teaching position is on break for the summer, what better way to welcome the summer than to walk the Camino de Santiago. We already briefly explained the history of the Way, now let’s dive in to the different routes.

The Camino de Santiago is not a single route like many people think referring to the popular Camino Frances. It’s a network of pilgrimage routes that start in different places across Europe and finish in Santiago de Compostela. In fact, you can start walking to Santiago from anywhere in Europe.

The network is similar to a river system – small brooks join together to make streams, and the streams join together to make rivers, most of which join together to make the Camino Francés. During the middle ages, people walked out of their front doors and started off to Santiago, which was how the network grew up. Nowadays, cheap air travel has given many the opportunity to fly to their starting point, and often to do different sections in successive years. Some people set out on the Camino for spiritual reasons; many others find spiritual reasons along the Way as they meet other pilgrims, attend pilgrim masses in churches and monasteries and cathedrals, and see the large infrastructure of buildings provided for pilgrims over many centuries.

The pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela can be traveled in multiple ways. Pilgrims can choose between different stages to walk the Camino de Santiago, from the shortest routes of 120 km to longer and more challenging stages of between 800 and 1200 km.

It all depends on how much time you have, which route you want to see and how many kilometers you can manage to walk or bike. We would like to say that whatever the routes you decide to walk, you won’t regret it. In addition, most pilgrims become addicted to the Camino de Santiago and repeat different routes once they have completed their first route. If you renew in the English language teaching program in Spain enough times, you’d be able to try all the ways eventually!

The popular routes are well marked, have enough infrastructure for pilgrims, and don’t require very thorough planning – you just choose a route and follow yellow arrows all the way to Santiago de Compostela. Walking one of the well-established routes doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be many people, it depends on the time of year. You can also choose one of the less-traveled Ways and enjoy the tranquility of the walk. The main drawback of walking a non-established route is that there will be less or no infrastructure for pilgrims (route marking, albergues, etc.). It will be more difficult and challenging to walk.

The most popular route (which can get very crowded in mid-summer) is the Camino Francés which stretches 780 km from St. Jean-Pied-du-Port near Biarritz in France to Santiago de Compostela. This route is fed by three major French routes: the Voie de Tours, the Voie de Vezelay, and the Voie du Puy. It is also joined along its route by the Camino Aragonés (which is fed by the Voie d’Arles which crosses the Pyrenees at the Somport Pass), by the Camí de Sant Jaume from Montserrat near Barcelona, the Ruta de Túnel from Irún, the Camino Primitivo from Bilbao and Oviedo, and by the Camino de Levante from Valencia and Toledo.

Other Spanish routes are the Camino Inglés from Ferrol & A Coruña, the Via de la Plata from Seville and Salamanca, and the Camino Portugués from Oporto.

Which route sounds most exciting to you? Or maybe you want to try all of them? Have you convinced any of the other English speaking teaching assistants in Spain to join you? We’d love to hear about your plans. Better yet, we’d love to see your photos after completing the journey!

Camino de Santiago: Origins and Evolution (1/2)

We know that there are many reasons to become a language assistant in Spain —but the opportunity to more easily travel around Europe is one of them.

Something that we highly recommend when teaching or studying abroad in Spain is to take advantage of your summer break to walk the Camino de Santiago. It is a once in a lifetime experience, and what better time to go for it than when you are already in Spain!

In that spirit, we will be writing a series of blog posts to share with you the origins and evolution, the routes, and tips to have the best time on the camino as possible.

So what is the Camino de Santiago? How did it start? How long has it been around?

The Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James) is a large network of ancient pilgrim routes stretching across Europe and coming together at the tomb of St. James (Santiago in Spanish) in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia in north-west Spain.

The history of the the Way of St. James goes back to the beginning of the 9th century (around the year 820), when the tomb of the evangelical apostle was discovered in the Iberian Peninsula. A hermit from Solovio (where the Church of San Fiz de Solovio stands today) whose name was Paio, located the remains of a primitive burial in a wood called Libredón, which proved to contain the remains of apostle Santiago and his disciples Teodoro and Atanasio.

Immediately, King Alfonso II visited the place and ordered a modest church to be built, which was later rebuilt by Alfonso III (in 899). This was the inception of the present day cathedral and the city of Santiago de Compostela.

Since this discovery, Santiago de Compostela has become a peregrination point for the entire European continent. The Way was defined then by the net of Roman routes that joined the neuralgic points of the Peninsula.

The golden age of the pilgrimages occurred during the 11th to the 13th century. France, Italy, central and eastern Europe, England, Germany, including Iceland, and, of course, all of Hispania would make the journey on foot, on horseback, on ships, etc. The impressive flow of traffic increasing towards Galicia brought about the need to quickly build hospitals, churches, monasteries, abbeys and towns along the route —founded by kings, nobles and bourgeoisie of the cities— especially in the districts of the Franks and by the monks of Cluny, who welcomed the pilgrims to their monasteries.

During the 14th century the pilgrimage began to disintegrate, due to a series of multiple wars, health epidemics and natural catastrophes. However, despite the negative influence on life and culture caused by episodes such as the “Hundred Years War” (1337-1453), the Black Death (1348) and the prolonged periods of hunger, economic crisis and the crisis of thought, the Camino de Santiagostayed alive.

In the 16th century, the Protestant Reformation and the wars of religion in the German territories and in France much reduced the number of pilgrims on the Way. With war declared between the Imperial Spain of Charles V and France, this fracture was worsened in the time of Philip II, with the closing of the borders in order to prevent the entry of Lutheranism into his kingdoms.

In May 1589, faced with the fear of an attack on Compostela by the English troops of Francis Drake, whose ships were attacking Coruña, Archbishop Juan de Sanclemente ordered the concealment of the body of the apostle in the presbytery of the Cathedral. Its exact location was unknown for several centuries until 1879, the year of the second discovery of the apostolic remains.

The Second Discovery of the remains of the Apostle of St. James marked the recovery of the Camino de Santiago which subsequently, in the 20th century, would be conditioned by the scourges of the Spanish War and the World Wars.

It is at the beginning of the century and the millennium, the Camino de Santiago is, more than ever, a transversal phenomenon: on the one hand, spiritual, and on the other hand, open to knowledge, friendship and mutual understanding.

Now that you know the basics of its origin and evolution, isn’t it getting you excited to teach in Spain and walk the Camino de Santiago with some of your fellow language and cultural assistants that you will meet in the program? Let us know in the comments below!

Don’t forget to check out our next post in the series about the different routes in the network that form the Camino de Santiago!