How I moved to Spain | Spanish Language Assistant Program – Murcia

IMG_1078I live in Murcia, Spain and work as an English teaching assistant at three primary schools in the Murcia city area. I don’t have any teaching experience but I’m learning everyday as I teach English and Natural Science in years 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6.

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 hours per week. I receive health insurance and a monthly salary of 700 euros. Before you gasp at that figure please take into account that the cost to rent a room is around 200 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):

https://www.mecd.gob.es/eeuu/convocatorias-programas/convocatorias-eeuu/auxiliares-conversacion-eeuu.html

Program Requirements:  4-year undergraduate degree & native English speaker. No teaching experience/education 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 region it took until the End of November to receive our first paycheck. We were paid in full of course and the checks have been more steady (monthly) since…

I booked my first week’s stay at The Cathedral 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

I met two other girls in the same program via a Facebook page for Murcia area language assistants and we used a service called Opau to find our apartment. Honestly we didn’t love this company (they had a bad attitude and were hard to get ahold of) but they came through and found us a nice place and all of our forms with the landlord were done in their office- nice and official.

You’ll need to set up an account at a Bank upon arrival. Get a Spanish phone number first & don’t forget to bring your passport as ID.

NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjero)

When you arrive you will need to apply for a resident card. You’ll use the NIE provided on your visa to do this.

You’ll need to go to the Extranjeria by bus.

-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)

-The Empadronamiento is in the park behind El Corte Inglés (look for a yellow building) you need to bring a copy of your rental agreement and copies of owner’s and tenants’ passports (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.

GENERAL INFO

For WiFi we use VodafoneFor cell phone I use Orange.

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

Go shopping at Zara, Mango & Bimba y Lola.

TO DO

I go to Quo gym (I like it!) bonus: they offer Pilates classes 🙂

weeknight activity in Murcia center: Indoor rock climbing (bouldering) at Montaña Magica

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.

I hope this information is of some help/interest to someone. Please, if you have any questions about Murcia or about the program or about my experience so far in my first year living abroad let me know.

 

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