Friday, July 6, 2012

Welcome to the Blog!

Hello everyone and welcome to my blog, A Texan in Spain! If you haven’t heard yet, I got a job in SPAIN for the next school year and wanted to share my time there with you here.

Having waited since March 31st, I FINALLY got word today from the Ministry of Education that I will be a North American Language and Culture Assistant in the Autonomous Community of Andalucía!!!

Autonomous Community of Andalucía, Spain
Source: Wikipedia
In a few weeks, they’ll tell me which school I’ve been assigned to, and then I can start the visa process.

Now what’s that long job title entail? Well, in Spanish they call it a auxiliar de conversación extranjero—“foreign conversation helper.” So a conversation teacher? Not necessarily. The other title (subtitle?) for the job is a “Cultural Ambassador” from North America. The program brochure that my Spanish professor gave me (bless her!) explains it thusly:
The Language and Culture Assistants program is coordinated by the Spanish Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Spanish Comunidades Autónomas (regions) and the Education Offices of the Embassies of Spain in the United States and Canada. It gives Junior and Senior College students as well as recent Graduates an opportunity to visit Spain and become acquainted with the Spanish education system, teachers and students, while sharing with them aspects of their own language and culture.
Yeah, I know, that sounds pretty idealistic. So, a little background. For the past few years, the Spanish government has been really pushing bilingual education, since Spaniards tend to rank low on foreign-language proficiency and since unemployment is extremely high (about 25% general, 50% youth). So Spain is pretty desperate when it comes to language-learning. That’s where I and 2,000 other North Americans come in!

Basically, I’m going to be a teacher’s assistant in classes taught in English. My job duties can include presenting about American culture or English grammar, correcting pronunciation, and acting as a human dictionary. The pay is €700 a month, but I’ll only be working 12 hours a week, health insurance will be provided, and I can teach private English classes on the side to supplement it. Yet Spain is letting me into the country on a “student visa” for the program, which is officially a “scholarship.” Hmm.

I’ll begin posting regularly pretty soon here about Spain, Spanish, and traveling in general.

Thanks for reading!
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