How I moved to Spain | Spanish Language Assistant Program


I’ve lived in Murcia, Zaragoza and now Alicante Spain and work as an English teaching assistant at public primary/secondary schools. I don’t have any teacher training but I’m learning every day as I teach English, Art and Natural Science in years 1-12.


I am an employee of the Ministry of Education (the Spanish Government). I am on a student visa which allows me to work here for the duration of the school year (beginning of October- end of May). I work 12-16 hours per week. I receive health insurance and a monthly salary of 700-1000 euros. Before you gasp at that figure please take into account that the cost to rent a room is 200-300 per month. This is a living wage. If this program sounds appealing to you please read on.

Here is a link to the main information page (U.S. edition):

Program Requirements:  4-year undergraduate degree & native English speaker. No teaching experience/education degree required.


My advice for applicants:

  1. Apply for your Visa ASAP the process can take a very long time (months) especially if you don’t happen to live in a city with a Spanish Consulate 
  2. The application process can be tedious. There are confusing translations. Pay close attention to the help guide they provide and it will get you through.

Before you go:

Save 3 months income before coming ( around $2000) re: late paychecks + fall/holiday travel. You’ll need some seed money to make a deposit on your new place, furnish it (“furnished” places are pretty basic!) and feed and clothe yourself for a couple of months. Also there are many holidays in Spain! The fall is a great time to take advantage of your residence on the European continent and do some traveling!

In the Murcia and Valencia regions it took until the end of November/early December to receive our first paychecks. We were paid in full of course and the checks have been more steady (monthly) since…

I booked my first week’s stay in a hostel (in a private room) in advanced. I ended up staying for two weeks but having a guaranteed roof over my head for those first few days was important. IMG_6480

Most regions/cities have Facebook groups – find others to live with or talk paperwork with here! To find housing during the first two years I used a service. By year three I went DIY using Idealista (something comparable to Craigslist here in Spain). No shame in either – do what’s most comfortable for you.

You’ll need to set up an account at a Bank upon arrival. Get a Spanish SIM card (phone number) first & don’t forget to bring your passport with your visa inside as IDmake sure to have them put the NIE (foreigner’s ID number) on your account.

When you arrive you will need to apply for a resident card (TIE = foreigner’s ID card). You’ll use the NIE provided on your visa to do this. You’ll need to go to the Extranjeria (foreign office). Many offices require appointments which you can find by searching “cita  + extranjería + CITY YOULL LIVE IN”

-First visit: show them your visa they will give you paperwork and a date to come back with that work completed (you’ll also have your fingerprints taken by the police at this second appointment) * note: some offices will provide a list of needed documentation: a tax form, and certificate of empadronamiento are important.

These steps can be super confusing so if you have a helpful tutor at school do take full advantage! 

-The Empadronamiento: you need to bring a copy of your rental agreement and copies of owner’s and tenants’ ID (all tenants must be present). They will provide you with a form to pass on to the Extranjeria.

-There are photo booths around town where you can take passport photos.

-Go onto any bank with the tax form to pay it.

-Your card will be ready for pickup on a third trip to the extranjería a few weeks after the (second) fingerprints appointment.


WiFi can take a while to set up… For my cell phone prepaid plan I use Orange. 5G for 10 euro/month!

Go grocery shopping at Mercadona and Gran Bi Bio (their organic version). El Corte Ingles has more brand variety in case you’re looking for something familiar. Lidl fills in some missing items (like tabasco!) as well.


Join a gym! Or yoga classes or a climbing studio…do your thing and make it an opportunity to make friends and maybe practice Spanish passively?

One of the best things to try in your first few weeks/months is an intercambio. Intercambios (language exchange meet ups- try Tap Room’s) allow you to meet people from all over the world and speak in many different languages.



Step 1: Make an appointment at your local Extranjería (Foreign Office) and print the confirmation

Step 2: To Renew TIE in a different region bring the following to the local Registro de Gobierno 

➡️ Copy passport (every page)

➡️ Photocopy TIE both sides

➡️ Both cartas (contracts from current/last & future years)

➡️ Renewal form EX-00 

tip: use an address where you want future docs sent (maybe next year’s school) 

➡️ Print & pay tasa 790/052

➡️ Letter of completion (from current/last year’s school)


For your appointment at the Extranjeria re: Regreso (authorization to leave the Shengen for up to 90 days while your renewal is processing) 

➡️ Copy passport (every page)

➡️ Copy TIE both sides 

➡️ Print flight reservations

➡️ 2 copies Ex-13 form

 use your current home address in Spain 

➡️ Tasa modelo 790/012

NOT the policía one


6 thoughts on “How I moved to Spain | Spanish Language Assistant Program

  1. Hi Grace, my daughter was offered a job through Linked In teaching English at a private school in Murcia. Any advice on how we can research that this is not a scam? Thanks


    1. Can I ask the name of the program? I chose to apply through the Spanish government directly specifically to avoid confusion/scamming but do have some friends in Murcia who work in private academies. If the name rings a bell that’s the best way I can help..


  2. ive read in the muruca newspaper that police look for americans who teah english on the side after the regualr job in the school.. and they see it as bad we need to pay taxes on income earned teaching english in a bar.. i know in the states its obligatory.. not a banana republic but in spain whats the deal


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