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Friday, June 06, 2014 - Teaching English in Spain is a ‘gran experiencia!’

Katie Webb, of Lake Orion, is an Oakland University Spanish major with a K-12 certification. She is completing her first year as a North American English-speaking assistant in a bilingual school in El Boalo, Madrid.  She likes the program so much that she will continue as an assistant for a second academic year at the same school.


Katie Webb is completing her first year as a North American English-speaking assistant in El Boalo, Madrid.

“Everyone I work with is really nice and helpful, the kids are the sweetest and think it awesome that I grew up speaking the language that they’re trying so hard to learn,” said Webb.  “It’s been a great experience!”

The Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport advertised about 4,000 job openings for North American English-speaking assistants to work in Spanish public schools this year.

The program accepts Canadian and American college students majoring in any subject. It also accepts graduates, with some proficiency in Spanish, to assist in the public school system. Those who are chosen, like Webb, spend a full academic year in Spain, typically from the beginning of October through the end of May.  Applicants are also able to submit their location preference by region, city size, and school type.

Language assistants work 12 – 16 hours a week and earn 700 - 1,000 euros per month ($965 - $1,379 USD). In their role they encourage students to broaden their knowledge of North American English language and culture, prepare activities that focus on language and culture, and lead sessions with small groups of students.  An orientation course and full medical insurance are included with the program. Transportation to Spain and housing are not included.

“You are on your own for housing,” said Webb. “But there are plenty of opportunities to share flats with other young people in Madrid, or live with a family for free in exchange for English lessons. I rent a room from a family who lives near the school where I work.”

English professor and OU’s Director of International Education Brian Connery, notes that there are a variety of employment opportunities abroad in many fields for students who have developed international communication skills through studying abroad.

“OU students can study abroad in more than 40 countries around the world, so really there is a program for everyone,” said Connery.  “Student advisers who have studied abroad also help our students figure out where to go and how to get the process started.”

During summer semesters, walk-in study-abroad advising is available at Oakland University on Wednesdays from noon – 1 p.m. in 160 North Foundation Hall. For additional information on Oakland University’s study abroad/study away programs, visit the International Education website at oakland.edu/ie or its Facebook page.