This guest post is the start of an occasional series featuring every day Millennials who made their travel dreams come true without the big price tag. Today, Sarah Knowles explains the ins and outs of the Auxiliar de Conversación program.
As international travel becomes increasingly accessible to the average person, the idea of escaping reality and being liberated from the confines of a 9-5 schedule becomes increasingly desirable—especially amongst younger generations.
Thankfully, blogs like BrokeGirlAbroad exist to offer wanderlusting, working people insight into a seemingly-unattainable “travel blogger” lifestyle. BGA asked me to write a feature post on how I managed to quit my 9-5 job in Kansas City and move to Spain for nine months because I’m living proof that you CAN do both.
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Becoming an Auxiliar de Conversación in Spain
No, this is not another blog post plugging study abroad (though, honestly, you should do it), but study abroad introduced me to a world of post-grad travel opportunities—one of them being the Auxiliares de Conversación Program in Spain. I had my heart set on returning to Spain post-grad, but I knew that going without a source of income wasn’t an option for me. Thus, why I ultimately pursued this program.
Auxiliares de Conversación Program Information
Essentially, the Spanish government hires native English speakers to act as Language and Culture Assistants in public schools throughout the country. (I can’t speak for other countries, and whether or not they have their own version of this, but if you are interested in going elsewhere, it’s worth looking into!) Here are the major, need-to-know details of this particular program:
- Payment: Monthly stipend of €700-€1,000 (tax-free), in addition to medical insurance.
- Time Commitment: Full academic year from October 1st to May 31st, assisting Spanish teachers for 12-16 hours a week.
- Application Requirements: Speak English. Have a passport. Don’t be a felon. Have a BA or BS (or be close to having one). That’s it—seriously. No teaching experience or Spanish language required.
How I Was Able to Afford Living in Spain for Nine Months
As I mentioned, the Auxiliares de Conversación Program in Spain pays a monthly stipend of €700-€1,000—this is more than enough to cover your living and food expenses here. However, there are additional steps you can take to make your money go farther so your bank account will not only survive, but THRIVE.
My advice for anyone balling on a budget in Spain:
- Live with roommates! The cost of living here is LOW, so take advantage! My boyfriend and I found another couple and, together, the four of us found a great two-bedroom apartment for only €750/mo—that’s €187.50/mo each!
- Seek out a secondary income! Working only 12 hours a week leaves plenty of downtime to pursue additional opportunities. Private English lessons are easy to come by for native English speakers and the extra cash goes a long way.
Spain is a very affordable country and, although the additional income isn’t necessary to get by on a day-to-day basis, it does allow you to afford additional travel while you’re here. Did I mention I booked my one-way flight to Spain for only $340?
Seem too good to be true? It isn’t. Obviously, there are various stars that have to align for someone to be able to pick up and move overseas for nine months, but if you love to travel and find yourself close to the end of a chapter, as I did, this could be a great opportunity for you!
Sarah Knowles graduated with her bachelor's in mass communications in 2017. She then worked full-time as a marketing content writer for two years before coming overseas to save money and lay a foundation for her career for when she comes home. When she's not planning her next escape, she enjoys blogging, finding new coffee shops, playing beach volleyball, taking photos, slow mornings, dog parks, going on walks/hikes, rooftop bars and pad thai takeout.
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