If the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has you wanting to escape in the coming months or years, teaching English in Spain could be the ticket to fulfilling your sense of adventure. Of course, moving abroad during a pandemic presents its share of challenges, but these tips will help you navigate the process from start to finish.
Written exclusively for Expat Network by Matt Casadona
In this guide, we’ll be sharing some information on how you can teach English in Spain as an American. Buena suerte!
1. Start with a comparison of countries and locations
When you’re looking to move abroad temporarily or for the indefinite future, comparing countries, cities, culture, and lifestyle is a great place to start. Moving to the other side of the world can be scary, but doing your research to find the right fit can make the transition much more manageable and enjoyable.
If you’re not sure where to begin your search, below you’ll find some of the top destinations for expats moving to Spain:
As you weigh your options in Spain and elsewhere, here are some of the things you’ll want to consider as you start researching possible destinations:
- Cost of living, average wages for language school teachers
- Transportation options
- Lifestyle and culture
- Housing options
- Language — having some basic knowledge of the language will be helpful as you teach and learn your way around your new home!
2. Research language schools and other opportunities
Finding work abroad is a great way to travel the world and experience new things, and luckily, there are plenty of options to help you do so. Teaching English is just one job opportunity you can take advantage of as you travel the world. Some of the most popular language schools and resources for placement include:
- International TEFL Academy (Madrid & Barcelona)
- CIEE (Madrid)
- TEFL, TESOL certification programs
- Greenheart Travel
- Connect-123 (Barcelona)
- Teaching House CELTA (Madrid)
- BEST Programs (Madrid)
3. Determine teaching requirements
To teach English in Spain, most schools and language programs will require you to have a recognized teaching certificate such as TEFL, TESOL, or CELTA. Depending on the program you’re teaching through, you may be able to obtain your certificate after you’ve enrolled in the program. Getting your certification this way can help you save time and money, freeing up more opportunity to enjoy your travels and perhaps your new home as an expat.
4. Understand your financial obligations
Financing is one of the biggest barriers to entry when it comes to traveling but finding a teaching job can help you fund your wanderlust and give you a chance to connect with the locals, culture, and language. But how does the math actually work out?
The average salary for teaching in Spain is €700 – €2,000 per month depending on your teaching job and the program or school you’re involved in. As for living costs, the average rental costs between €400 – €600 per month, among the lowest cost of living in Western Europe. Depending on your food, travel, and miscellaneous budget, you may need to bolster your income with some savings before you begin your journey.
In addition to your income and living costs, you may have other expenses and financial obligations you’ll need to account for, such as international banking fees and U.S. taxes.
Anytime you’re going abroad, so if you plan to teach English in Spain you’ll want to make sure that your bank is aware of your travel plans, including where and when you’ll be traveling. In addition to notifying your bank, you’ll also want to make sure you know what international fees your bank will charge when you spend internationally. Ideally, you’ll want to use the debit or credit accounts that charge the lowest international transaction fees, so make sure you have a note of which bank charges what. Additionally, you will want to set up a local bank account in order to get paid for your new teaching job.
The majority of expats are not obligated to pay U.S. expat taxes, thanks to the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion and Foreign Tax Credit benefits. However, expats still need to file taxes annually if their gross worldwide income is over the filing threshold. In short, even if you do not owe anything to the IRS, you still may need to file your taxes.
5. Get passport and visa requirements squared away
Anytime you’re traveling internationally, you need to have a valid passport with you. If you want to travel in Spain without a visa, you can stay for up to 90 days. If you plan to stay and teach in Spain for longer, you will want to apply for a visa that typically allows U.S. travelers to stay for one year. The process for obtaining a Spanish visa is relatively simple — just visit the nearest Spanish embassy or consulate to start the application process. You will need the following documents to apply:
- Visa Application Form
- Two biometric photos
- Your passport
- Copies of passport pages with info
- Flight reservation
- Proof of accommodation
- Medical Insurance
- Medical Certificate
- Proof of Sufficient Financial Means
Once you’ve submitted your application, the process can take up to 6 weeks. Make sure to give yourself extra time if you need to renew your passport or procure any of the other aforementioned documents.
6. Make the most of your time!
Preparing to teach English in Spain involves a lot of moving parts, but the experience is so rewarding. As you settle into your new home, make sure to take the time to explore and enjoy all that Spain (or wherever you land!) has to offer. Here are a few resources to help you do just that:
- Ryan Air (cheap flights)
- New Europe Tours
Moving abroad temporarily or for the long-term can be a really invigorating and informative experience, but it can also be stressful at first. We hope these tips help make the initial stages more manageable as you start your next adventure! What are your upcoming travel plans? Share them with us in the comment section below!
Matt Casadona has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in Psychology. He is currently a contributing editor for 365 Business Tips. Matt is passionate about marketing and business strategy and enjoys the San Diego life, traveling and music