If there’s one country that I actually think I belong in, it’s Spain.
Why? For starters, I studied Spanish language and culture for four years and I’ve come to love it almost as my own. I’ve made it my life’s mission to live there at least once in this lifetime.
Secondly, I’m a big siesta fan. If I had a choice, I would have afternoon naps as a daily ritual. That’s one of the things I miss about childhood, when I didn’t have a job or responsibilities to worry about. Meanwhile in Spain, they seem to have a great work-life balance without compensating productivity. It might just be a long-held stereotype but I know for a fact that most banks and public offices close at 1-3 in the afternoon. How great is that?
Another great thing is that the españoles turn any occasion into a fiesta. I looked at the calendario laboral for last year and it was filled with holidays and puentes or long weekends.
Of course I have so much more reasons why I want to live in Spain, being an immensely beautiful country that it is, but let’s get to the point. I didn’t want to announce it in fear that I’ll jinx it but I wanted to document my preparations for future reference.
I’m moving to Spain to teach English. To be more specific, I’m bound for Málaga, Andalucía. How did I get this sweet, sweet gig? Through the Spanish government’s Auxiliaries de Conversación Program or Language and Culture Assistants Program.
This whole crazy ordeal started in February, I heard that the Department of European Languages of the University of the Philippines was then accepting applications from Spanish majors of the university, both graduates and graduating students. This is actually just the second year they are doing this in partnership with the Spanish embassy in Manila. Three schools, UP, Ateneo and UST are participating. A selection committee from the school decides who will be interviewed by the embassy. The embassy then narrows the list down to 25 applicants. From what I heard, 10 each from UP and Ateneo and 5 from UST. In our case, 14 were preselected and 10 were chosen as sure applicants and the other 4 as waitlisters.
I was really hopeful when I sent my carta de motivación (cover letter) to the department. I explained why they should choose me and how sure I am that this is really I want to do. Weeks later, some friends of mine who also applied got their confirmation that they were preselected. But I didn’t get mine. I kept my cool but deep inside I was really feeling bitter. HAHA. I tried to forget it that day and come next morning, I received an email from a Spanish professor in the department with the confirmation that I made the cut. I found out that she just really missed including my email in the distribution list so menos mal!
After that, we booked appointments for our interview with the Education advisor in the Spanish embassy in Makati. I had mine on March 9. It was a very quick interview, I felt so silly that I wasn’t able to fall asleep the night before. We first talked in Spanish then he switched to English. He asked me basic questions: in which region I wanted to be placed, how sure I was, which grade I would be most comfortable teaching, etc. It all happened so fast. Two days later, he confirmed that I was one of the chosen 10 and I could then go ahead and register in Profex – the program’s online application system.
In contrast to what other applicants think, I find the Profex system pretty straightforward. Perhaps, it’s because most of them try to register early in January when Profex opens, causing the website to crash. The earlier you register, the earlier you get your placement or at least that’s what they tell us. In our case, we were only instructed to register once we got confirmation from the embassy.
Applying Through Profex
Once you register in Profex, your status becomes Inscrita. All you have to do at this stage is to fill in personal information and choose the region and grade you wish to be assigned. Filipino applicants have limited choices when it comes to selecting preferred regions. We are only allowed to choose Asturias, País Vasco, Castilla-La Mancha, Cantabria, Madrid, Andalucía and Castilla y León and we have to choose one from each group and rank them from 1-3.
* Grupo A: Asturias, Ceuta y Melilla, Extremadura, La Rioja, Navarra, País Vasco
* Grupo B: Aragón, Cantabria, Castilla-La Mancha, Cataluña, Galicia, Islas Canarias
* Grupo C: Andalucía, Castilla y León, Islas Baleares, Madrid, Murcia, Valencia
You will also have to attach some documents like Carta de Recomendación (recommendation letter) from a former professor or manager, certificates of employment, official transcript of records and diploma (if applicable). Submit your application and you receive a confirmation email with your Inscrita number. The earlier you submit, the lower your Inscrita number is. Lower Inscrita number means getting your placement earlier and more assurance that you will have a placement. Although, we have come to learn that this is not always the case. Filipino applicants got their placements earlier than applicants from other countries with lower inscrita numbers. This might be explained by the fact that there are only 25 Filipino applicants vs. thousands of US applicants.
Confirm your application in Profex and your status becomes Registrada.
The regional director checks your application and switches your status from Registrada to Admitida once all the requirements are provided. Unlike the process for other countries, Filipino applicants don’t need to mail in anything to the consulate.
Admitida doesn’t mean your placement is secured already. Try to get distracted after this stage as surely you would need to wait more or less a month before the action really starts.
I had to wait almost a month for my application to be Adjudicada. You’ll receive this notification via automatic email as well with the confirmation of the region where you’re going to be placed. Then you will be given 3 days to either accept or reject your placement. (Note: if you don’t like the region where you were placed, there is a possibility of switching with other applicants but I read that it involves sending a ton of emails and selling your soul to the devil). Once you accept your placement, the status becomes Plaza Aceptada. Or if rejected, Plaza Rechazada.
So you decide that you want to go to Spain, whether you like your region or not, this is where it gets exciting. You may now research about your region and know about the weather or if there are any dialects used in that part of Spain. But still, you would have to wait for your school placement, that’s when you’d know in which city or pueblo you would be working.
In just less than a month, I received my placement from the Junta de Andalucía. It depends on your region how they will give your carta de nombramiento. In my case, I received it via e-mail. Some receive it via snail mail. For Andalucía auxiliares, this letter is sufficient for the visa application.
Read the e-mail carefully and the attached documents (ours were in Spanish so have them translated if you’re not proficient) and take note of the instructions on how to proceed with your application. I had to send the signed copy of the acceptance letter to the address of the Consejería de Educación, Cultura y Deporte of the Junta de Andalucía. They gave us a deadline so I opted to send it via express mail for 500 pesos. I sent them an email too just to be sure. I also contacted the director of my school. She gladly responded to my e-mail and even offered me some help with finding apartments and gave me useful information about the school and the pueblo.
So now, the waiting continues. I keep distracting myself with work, projects, and travels. In the next post, I will be writing about my preparation for my visa application. Feel free to ask if you have any questions!
For Filipino applicants, you may visit below links for more information:
Instrucciones para la inscripción de solicitudes nuevas
Programa de auxiliares de conversación filipinos en España