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Showing posts from June, 2013

My Review of Spain’s North American Language and Culture Assistant Program

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From last October through May of this year, I worked as a North American Language and Culture Assistant at a bilingual elementary school in southern Spain, a job in which I assisted teachers in English, science, and music classes for 12 hours a week in return for 700 € a month and health insurance. I lived with two other Spanish guys in an apartment in the World Heritage-listed town of Úbeda and was able to travel all across the southern half of the country as well as to France and Morocco. Nine months of speaking Spanish and being immersed in Spanish culture—not to mention living on my own for the first time—turned out to be one of the best years of my life.

So what are my thoughts about the program? If you guessed that they’re mostly positive, you’d be right—just take this post’s first paragraph (or read this blog!) as proof. My personal experience as an auxiliar de conversación was a great one, and I was so fortunate to end up at a great school with a carpool that let me live in a …

How to Renew for a Second Year for Spain’s Language Assistant Program

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LAST UPDATED JANUARY 2014

So, after applying and getting accepted into Spain’s language assistant program, and living and working abroad for a whole school year, you decided in the spring you wanted to do it all over again. You’ve read through Spain’s official how-to-renew guide, but their guide for renewing via Profex is all in Spanish and the application period begins tomorrow…so what do you do? Read below, that’s what! (hahaha)

Anyway, in this blog post I want to make it as clear as possible how to renew for Year 2 (or Year 3…) since the process is similar, but different from Year 1. If you finish reading the post and still have questions, leave a comment and I’ll try to answer it!

Step 1: Figure out where you want to renew Not everyone chooses to stay at their same school for a second or even a third year; sometimes people want to change from a rural to an urban setting, from a primary school to a secondary one, or from one province or region to another. Or maybe the school they g…

Ceuta and Melilla: African Spain

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While traveling between Spain and Morocco over this spring’s Semana Santa vacations (Easter break), I took ferries between the Spanish cities of Almería and Algeciras to two more Spanish cities on the coast of North Africa: Ceuta and Melilla. Yes—little exclaves of the Kingdom of Spain sitting on the other side of the Mediterranean Sea, two outposts of Europe in Africa. Before I got interested in Spain a few years ago I had absolutely no idea these geographic oddities existed, but Ceuta (pronounced “THAY-OOH-tah” [ˈθew.ta]) and Melilla (pronounced “may-LEE-yah” [meˈli.ʎa]) are just as much Spain as Barcelona, Bilbao, or Burgos. They don’t belong to any Autonomous Community (think Andalucía, Galicia, Cataluña…) but are Autonomous Cities responsible for all their own affairs.

There’s really not much to see and do in these towns, and I wouldn’t go out of my way to visit them apart from passing through for transit between Morocco and Spain. Still, they’re fascinating little cities that ma…