I had wanted to move to Spain for a long time. I wanted to improve my Spanish and I always thought I would enjoy teaching English as a second language. The problem was I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t want to move without having something set up. I wanted resources in case part of my application didn’t make sense. I felt overwhelmed doing everything myself.
If you feel similarly, the CIEE Teach Abroad Professional program might be right for you. It’s not impossible to move to Spain on your own, but it is difficult. It’s okay if you don’t feel up to figuring out everything solo. If you choose CIEE they will help you from applying for your visa to eventually moving out. You will still do plenty on your own, they don’t hold your hand the entire time. You will just have an easier time doing everything.
Here is a list of several of the reasons why I chose this program:
They Really Save You a Lot of Work
What I have found in Spain is that it is easy to find work teaching as an American. There is such a huge demand to learn English and most people prefer the American accent, as it is easier to learn with. If you chose to go alone, you will have no problem finding a job. Getting a visa? That’s another question.
Americans are disadvantaged as far as getting a work visa goes. There are laws in place that give preference to EU citizens, plenty of whom speak English. Additionally, if you are offered the job, the company has to prove that they couldn’t hire locally to sponsor you. Many companies lack the resources to prove this so you will be hard pressed to find legal work.
I didn’t want to quit my job and move to Spain without a visa. I’m not a fan of staying in countries illegally. I didn’t feel like trying to find a loophole as far as a student visa goes, so the CIEE program made the most sense for me.
You Get Training and Resource
I had never taught ESL before and didn’t want to go into a classroom without training. The CETS course does a great job of preparing you to teach English. Not only do you review all the basic rules of English, you also learn the common problems in the classroom and how to fix them. You get help planning your first lessons. At the end you also receive a certificate for completing the course.
You also have resources to help you with classes. You have a team leader whom you ask questions if you have a difficult class. You have workshops to improve teaching skills. You have an online platform where you can pull lesson ideas from. Working on your own, you would only have Google to help. While I have pulled many teaching resources from the internet, it is helpful to have the platform to fall back onto when you are stumped. You will even have help if you get lost and can’t find your classes!
You Have a Stable Income
The teaching schedule can be fickle sometimes. Some months, your students are sick and must cancel two weeks of class. During the summer and winter months, your students are on vacation and can’t attend class. Sometimes classes must end because someone got a new job or had a baby and is going on leave. Life happens and sometimes this means we miss classes. In many jobs, this would mean that you would get paid less that month.
In my program, you get 900 euros a month whether your students cancel or not. Our hours balance out with busy and slow months. You never have to worry about paying rent or buying groceries. You never have to worry about money just because your students are moving offices and must cancel classes for the next two months.
This point is more fun than anything, but it was another part of my decision to teach abroad with CIEE. Every few months or so you will have the opportunity to join a group excursion. I should note, I usually don’t like group trips, but I have loved all the cultural excursions we have gone on. Mushroom hunting, a Spanish cooking class, and visiting a winery have all been very fun and enjoyable. And they are only 20 euros!
You Will Have Help Moving Abroad
Do you know how to set up a Spanish bank account? How do you apply for the metro card? What do you need to do to apply for your NIE? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, then you’re just like me before I came to Spain!
You will have housing the first month and there will be people to help you read over your lease. They will give you the paperwork for your bank account and tell you what you need to do to set it up. You will have help applying for the metro card. The NIE process can be long and confusing, but you will have help setting up the appointment, preparing the documents, and resolving any issues that come up.
There are many reasons why CIEE could be the right decision for you. Maybe you have dreamed of living abroad but don’t know where to start. Maybe you have already looked at moving to Spain, but aren’t sure about the visa process. Maybe you have never taught English before and just want a little instruction before you begin. All of these are legitimate reasons to consider CIEE. Moving abroad will always be difficult, but I can honestly say CIEE made it much more straightforward for me.