The chance to live and work in a country as popular for vacation and idyllic as Spain might at first seem like an impossible dream, or an overwhelming challenge. But with a little planning, enthusiasm, and a good work ethic, teaching English in a Spanish classroom is totally within reach. But it is a decision that shouldn’t be undertaken lightly: it deserves consideration. If you’re still not sure about whether or not to pursue this goal, here’s a list of ten reasons why teaching in English is a great idea to help you decide.
Moving to a new country, or even just a new town, and working in an unfamiliar environment with people you’ve never met shows initiative, creativity, an adventurous spirit and good work ethic. It will teach you things about yourself you would have never otherwise discovered. It looks great on a resume, and gives you an opportunity to work in the field of teaching, in some cases even if you don’t already have a completed teaching degree.
2. Cultural Immersion
Taking a step outside our comfort zones can be scary, but is often good for us. Learning about a culture other than your own through first hand experience of new music, food, culture, religion, language, clothing, and customs. Try spicy Spanish chorizo sausage, see Gaudi’s architecture, and visit Spain’s gorgeous beaches in your time off. Being immersed in Spanish culture will give you a better understanding of other people’s perspectives. Not only will you learn more about the traditions of others, you’ll understand your own culture, and yourself, even better as well.
3. Meeting new people
When you travel, meeting new people can be difficult, but when you stay and work in a foreign city or country, you’ve got time and lots of opportunity to meet new people and develop a community of friends and acquaintances. You’ll meet people from the world-over, as Spain is not only a popular vacation destination, but also boasts a widely multicultural population. You could meet your very best friend while working abroad.
4. Opportunity to travel
If you’re longing for travel, especially for extended periods of time, this can be a great way to make that dream come true. Spain is a destination hot-spot, with loads of amazing places to discover. It’s also pretty close to the rest of Europe, so if you have time off it is possible to make smaller trips to other countries for a few days. Teachers in Spain usually have long summer holidays as most language schools close down in August and possibly July and September too. You may also get the opportunity to travel with the class you work with, which means that your travel expenses might be covered or reimbursed, in part or in full, by the institution with which you teach. Teaching in Spain gives you the opportunity to visit other cities within the country, or explore beyond Spain’s borders: both are good options with lots to discover.
5. High demand in a good job market
English is fast becoming one of the most spoken languages on Earth. It’s also one of the most sought-after in terms of learning: there are people world-wide looking for opportunities to learn English. This is certainly true in Spain. There are plenty of opportunities to teach different types of English – like business English, conversation English, English for Academic Purposes, English to pass official exams or translation, for instance – depending on your skill set and what you want to do. If you choose to, you can likely continue teaching English in Spain after your first contract ends, either with a new institution, or perhaps simply with a new school or classroom.
6. Good prep for lots of career options
Even if you don’t end up teaching English, or teaching at all, experience as an English teacher in Spain can prepare for success in other careers. Experience working in a foreign country can help set you up for work in diplomacy, international affairs, politics, international aid work, and of course, teaching. You’ll also develop useful contacts for later down the road of your career trajectory, who can put you in touch with the right people, give you good advice about your choices, and offer references pertinent to you goals. Having this experience on your resume is also impressive to potential employers: it suggests creativity, a good work ethic, maturity, and open-mindedness. All of these skills are useful in many fields besides teaching.
7. Learn new language efficiently
Language-learners the world over know that learning a new language in an immersion environment is the fastest, easiest way to pick up a new language. You’re guaranteed to pick up slang, the accent, idioms, and other things that students in a class will never learn. And instead of spending weeks and weeks memorising grammar, or vocabulary you’ll pick up phrases fast because you don’t have a choice if you want to buy groceries, make friends, and pay rent. It can be a little intimidating at first, but in no time at all, you’ll catch yourself speaking a new language fluently! You’ll also have a better chance of hanging on to that language once you leave Spain, because you’re likely to meet and make friends with other Spanish people, and remaining in contact with friends made during your time teaching is very common. They can keep you in good form even after you’ve returned home.
8. Positive influence on others
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of knowing that all your hard work and effort is paying off, and seeing the fruits of your labour in your students’ successes. They’ll be grateful for your help, and you’ll get the satisfaction of a job well done. You can also feel good knowing that by teaching English to Spanish students, you aren’t only improving your own employment options, but theirs too. The likelihood that you’ll stay in touch with at least a few of your students is high, and you may be surprised by how much they use their English, whether in their personal or professional lives. Teaching English can give you the opportunity to experience the feeling of having contributed positively to the lives of others.
9. Reasonable income
You might at first think that an extended trip to Spain, with the cost of living expenses and other incidentals, would be too expensive to justify. But many teaching programs offer excellent opportunities with very reasonable remuneration for their employees, so that you can find good accommodation, eat well, travel, and have some fun, while working in Spain. If you play your cards right, you can even come home with savings in your pocket. Making money might not be your top reason for wanting to teach English abroad, but being able to make a reasonable income while you do it is a nice benefit. You won’t live like a king, but you can live well if you make the right choices.
10. Live outside your comfort zone
If you’re feeling that you need a bit of a push to really spread your wings and leave the nest, teaching abroad in a country like Spain can be just the thing you need. The first few weeks can be a bit scary as you adjust to your new surroundings, but the confidence boost you get from realising that you traveled to a new country, set up a new life there, did a sometimes-challenging, but always-rewarding job, made a good living, met new people, had new experiences, and even had fun, all on your own, is like nothing else.
There are lots of reasons to seek out opportunities to teach English in Spain: the ones listed above are only a few of them. It can be an exciting adventure that will teach you a lot about yourself. It will give you the chance to help others and have a positive effect on your students’ futures and your own as well. And it can be a practical, affordable experience, so you won’t break the bank gaining experience, learning, gaining confidence, and becoming the person you want to be.
Hello my name is Kevin Aguirre Rodriguez and I am an English and Spanish Teacher in Germany. I am also working as an Tefl Teacher Trainer. I am an Entrepreneur and run my own business here in Germany with my wonderful wife. I studied Linguistics at University with a focus on English and Spanish Language acquisition. I am what you would call a super Linguistics, Language Learning Nerd! Please check out my tefl blog www.teflgermany.com for great English Linguistics content.