Teaching English in Valencia, Spain
Place to Vacation -- and teaching pays the bills
You may think of Spain as a great place to go for a vacationsun,
beaches, and all-night celebrations. Imagine yourself living there.
Last year I taught English in Valencia, Spains third-largest city
and capital of the region. Foreign tourists dont overrun the city,
as they do much of Spain, and the foreign community is smaller than in
Madrid or Barcelona. This makes it easier to meet locals.
Moreover, the city itself is an appealing and inexpensive place to live,
with a pleasant historic center and numerous art museums. The waterfront
esplanade, lined with restaurants and bars, where on summer weekends the
dancing goes on until sunrise, is only a 10-minute tramway ride from the
A three- to four-hour bus ride, the cheapest and most convenient way
to travel, brings you to Barcelona in the north, Madrid in the west, and
Alicante in the south. The famous party island of Ibiza is an overnight
ferry ride away.
In Valencia, as in the rest of Spain, people are lining up to learn English.
University students need English to find employment upon graduation, and
companies tell employees that career advancement depends on their ability
to speak English. As a result, English language schools are opening up
all over Spain.
Most teachers are English or English speakers who have a European Union
passport, which allows them to work anywhere within the EU. However, the
Spanish government recently passed a Law on Foreigners which
has made it easier for non-EU members to apply for a job.
The two main schools are Opening English School, the company I worked
for, and Wall Street Institute. The students learn grammar through interactive
computer language programs and then sign up for group classes with native
speakers. The material is standardized, so teaching is as easy as reading
and following the binder. Little preclass preparation is necessary. You
do have some opportunities to plan extracurricular activities, a relaxing
way to get to know your students (both schools accept only adult students)
and have some fun.
Other English language schools in Spain include Berlitz, the Cambridge
School, and the British Institute. Then there are small private schools,
some of which may be great but others pay teachers very little and may
close in the summer.
Private tutoring is another way to make money. The going rate for English
language lessons is about 2,000 pesetas ($11) an hour. Post signs at student
hangouts and around the university.
Valencia has one of the largest universities in Spain, and many Spanish
students want to live with a foreigner so they can practice their English.
Just post signs that read Chica/Chico busca un piso comapartido (Guy/Girl
looking for a shared apartment) and leave a phone number where people
can contact you. Be sure to agree that your apartment mate converses with
2,000 pesetas ($11) an hour. Post signs at student hangouts and around
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For a personal look at language learning overseas, see UNDER
THE VOLCANOES: LEARNING SPANISH IN GUATEMALA
English School, Plaza
del Ayuntamiento, 11, 46002 Valencia; 011-96- 352-90-00, fax 011-96-352-83-80; email, website.
Wall Street Institute, Plaza de España, 1 bajos, 46007 Valencia;
011-96-352-70-70, fax 011-96-351-35-17, visit
EINEIGEL started traveling seriously after high school and has worked
throughout Europe. She lives in Vancouver, BC. This article originally
appeared in the May/June 2001 issue of Transitions
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