From language acquisition to just getting the chance to live in Spain for a year, here are five reasons everyone should teach abroad in Spain.
1. Resume boost:
Experience working abroad is a no brainer when it comes to reviewing resumes. It’s not quite the same as studying abroad: Your responsibilities are much greater, your interactions are more frequent and with more diverse clientele, and you are contributing to an international project or company. Seek advice from your Career Services office on how to highlight the job on your resume, and learn how to articulate the experience in an interview to get the biggest bang for your buck.
2. Language acquisition and practice.
I went into this job with years of high school and college Spanish, as well as a semester abroad under my belt, although no language test was required to apply. It gave me a great head start, but I still learned an intense amount of vocabulary. Colloquialisms and daily language, school-related words and the language of living a life in another country. Imagine renting an apartment, being late for work, speaking to your supervisor, getting sick, grocery shopping and writing lesson plans – in another language.
3. The chance to live abroad for a year.
This cannot be overstated. Living in Western Europe means you are connected to dozens of cities by budget airlines, an epic train system and many countries within a few hours reach. Although tempting, that doesn’t mean you (or your wallet) need to buy a ticket to a new place each weekend – it’s just as important to explore your own region, and your own country. Find a local bread shop you love, a coffee guy you can’t live without and a tapas bar you swear by. Then blog about the whole thing!
4. Teaching experience.
Do you think any native English speaker is qualified to teach English to non-native speakers? Teaching is not a cakewalk, particularly in a second language and new culture. Surprises lurk around every corner – what do you mean they call the teacher by the first name? Teachers don’t have their own classroom? Not everyone is in school from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.? Additionally, just because you’re “teaching English” doesn’t mean that’s the only subject you’ll be assigned. If a school has participated for several years with the bilingual project, you may teach in a Biology or History course, too. Gaining experience outside of the typical American classroom is priceless, whether your future includes being an educator, or not.
5. It’s temporary.
Most auxiliares work for one or two years, some for three. When you are selected for your first assignment in the summertime, and start your position in October, you’ll be asked in February if you’d like to apply for Year 2. It’s always a good idea to apply, even if your plans are up in the air. You can relocate for your second year, or request to keep the same assignment. A temporary contract like this can be good and bad. Good? If you are homesick, you’ll be back before you know it. Bad? It does mean looking for your next job while you’re abroad. Thanks to the internet, both of these things are far more manageable than ever before.
About the Author
Kelly Holland is the Interim Director of Study Abroad at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois. A Pennsylvania native, born and raised on the East Coast, she holds a B.A. in International Business Management and Spanish at Moravian College. In May 2010, she completed her M.Ed. in International Education at Lehigh University and spent the following year abroad in Spain teaching English for the Spanish Ministry of Education. Prior to joining EIU in October 2011, she spent four years on the staff at Lehigh University. Kelly continues to blog about international education and travel at thisblonde.wordpress.com.