Teaching English in Spain vs. Chile

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So you've narrowed your teach abroad prospects to Chile and Spain. You probably have some Spanish language chops and want to fine-tune them in an immersive experience, while also helping others learn your native language—English. Each country has their benefits and unique offerings, so choosing the right one for you can be a difficult choice. Let's break it down!

Qualifications and Requirements


  • Native English Speaker
  • Bachelor's Degree
  • US/Canadian citizenship (for Governmental program)
  • Upper intermediate to advanced Spanish language skills


  • Native English Speaker
  • Bachelor's Degree
  • Upper intermediate Spanish language skills
  • TEFL/CELTA/Education degree more commonly needed




Many teaching placements go through Spain's Ministry of Education as a Language and Culture Assistant. 

The North American Language and Culture Assistants Program is an initiative of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport of Spain. The program is primarily devoted to providing US and Canadian students and graduates—majoring in any subject—who are native speakers of English or French with the opportunity to assist foreign language teachers in a variety of schools in Spain and to learn about Spanish culture and society and also about its education system. As a language assistant, you will usually support an English teacher, but you will never replace the teacher.


In most cases, you will be placed as the Lead Teacher or Private Instructor.



Public School, K-12


 All ages, depending on employer; If you go through CIEE Teach in Chile, you will be teaching at a community college. 

Locations Available


If you go through CIEE Teach in Spain or CIEE TEFL's placement program in Murcia, you can have location specificity, such as the Madrid or Murcia provincial regions. Otherwise, you may be placed nationwide.


Jobs are mostly centralized in Santiago.



The language and culture assistants will have to work a minimum of 12 class periods a week, depending on the region. The assistant and the classroom teacher or department chair may agree upon other tasks or responsibilities for the assistants to carry out, such as attending meetings and participating in extracurricular activities. They may also be asked to participate in all sorts of events the school organizes.

Contract dates: beginning of October until May 31


Classroom hours range from 15-22 hours a week.

Contract dates: February until mid December

Pay and Benefits


600-1000 euros/month, depending on province


 500,000 chilean pesos/month as a starting salary; increases with certification and experience

Cost of Living


Madrid vicinity

Meal, inexpensive restaurant: 10.00 €

Shared apartment: 400.00 €


Santiago vicinity

Meal, inexpensive restaurant: 5,000.00 CL$  

Apartment (1 bed) outside of center: 270,000.00 CL$

Visa Process


Visa fee is $150

  • Background check
  • Medical form
  • Appointment with consulate
  • Proof of medical insurance


 Visa fee starts at $470, depending on consulate

  • Proof of financial well-being
  • background check
  • medical form
  • proof of medical insurance

Another benefit of going through a program provider, like CIEE, is that comprehensive travel insurance is included, as is visa acquisition, an in-country orientation, as well as temporary housing before contract start.

Must-see Sights (Bonus!)


  • Santiago de Compostela (You can make the infamous pilgrimage there, El Camino!)
  • Barcelona
  • Toledo
  • San Sebastian
  • Seville
  • Madrid
  • Spanish Islands


  • Cerro San Cristobal
  • Valparaiso
  • San Rafael Glacier
  • Torres del Paine
  • Lauca National Park
  • Easter Island
  • Skiing in the Andes!

If you decide to teach abroad through CIEE Teach Abroad, assistance in finding housing in Spain and Chile is typical for an applicant. Additionally, complete visa assistance is provided by the organization, and will guide you through the entire process, from application, to employment, to visa acquisition, to in-country orientation, and even travel insurance. 

To ensure you are covering all of your bases, complete your TEFL with CIEE as well. We offer several courses online, and even abroad! Enroll today and begin your abroad adventure!

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