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Working as a language assistant

Written by Christine

One of the easiest ways to live and work in Spain for young adults is to become a language assistant, or an auxiliar de conversación. For many, this is the easiest way to get a long-term visa and to work for a year or more in Spain. There are several programs in which you can apply to be a language assistant with the opportunity to live and work in Catalonia and other regions of Spain.


Photo by: susivinh via Visual hunt / CC BY-ND

Photo by susivinh via Visual hunt

Meddeas is a privately-owned Spanish organization that places native English speakers in private schools across Spain. As a language assistant in this company, you are expected to work 20 hours a week in the classroom, working with other teachers to plan activities and games to enhance students’ English. There are different plans available; for example, you can choose to live with a host family or on your own or if you would like to work at a public or private school. The majority of schools are private Catholic schools, but there are some secular ones as well. As part of the program, you need to complete a professional development course, either working towards a TEFL or CLIL certificate. Meddeas is a great way to find a job working in or near Barcelona, especially if you don’t have experience teaching since training is provided. For non-EU citizens, this also provides you with a year-long student visa to live and enjoy life in Spain.


Sponsored by the Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte, the North American Language and Culture Assistant program is the most common language assistant program for Americans. This program is free to apply for and the only requisite is a college degree in any discipline. You will have the opportunity to work in various regions of Spain in public schools. The role in this program is more relaxed as you will only be required to work 12 hours a week, usually splitting time between two different schools. This program doesn’t require any extra professional development or work and you will never be left alone in the classroom. This program doesn’t pay as much as private programs and doesn’t offer the same level of support. However, for North Americans, this program gives you flexibility and free time to travel and explore Spain while immersing yourself in the culture.

Related article: How to be an English teacher in Barcelona

British Council

Photo by: m_shipp22 via VisualHunt / CC BY

Photo by m_shipp22 via VisualHunt

For UK citizens there is the opportunity to work as a language assistant through the British Council. They require that you have at least an A2 level of Spanish before starting the program, as well as at least two years of university completed. They place assistants in schools as well as the Escuela Oficial de Idiomas all across Spain, so there are many different possibilities. While you can request to work in Barcelona or Catalonia, it is not guaranteed where you will be placed. The role in the classroom, as well as the pay, are comparable to the NALCA program as well.

The takeaway

In the end, whichever program you choose will allow you to live and work in Spain for a year, giving you ample time to learn the language, immerse yourself in the culture, and learn valuable skills. All of the programs give you the opportunity to develop as a teacher and a professional while having the experience of a lifetime!

About the author


Christine is a traveler, teacher, writer, and beach-lover, exploring Barcelona one tapa at a time!

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