auxiliares de conversación

Still working on the language immersion program. We’ll see if that works out.

In the meantime, I’m applying to the language and culture assistant program in Spain. A couple days ago, I googled the program and found a message board about it, which gave me some extremely important information about applying.

On the program manual on the program’s website, they say you should send your paperwork (transcript, letter of rec, personal statement, background check, etc) soon after submitting your online application. Since this year, the program requires an FBI background check to apply, I was going to wait until it was ready in January to submit my application online. That would have been a bad decision. According to the message board, which includes emails applicants have posted from people at the consulate, what’s important is submitting your online application as early as possible. As long as you have your paperwork in by April, you’re good.

This comment from a member also explains a good point about the program in general:

The folks at the Spanish consulate aren’t U.S. college admissions officers. They are bureaucrats. They’re not looking for the best and the brightest. They’re not waiting or even expecting to have their calcetines knocked off by the applications of the American auxiliares. They’re just looking for native English speakers with a college education. Period.

I feel sorry for those of you who took the time to craft a splendid application in hopes that it would help you stand out from the crowd. It didn’t. You would’ve been better off submitting a ho-hum (but complete) application back in January than waiting until April to submit a package that was stellar.

I’m especially glad I found this information because this program has become wildly popular in the past few years. According to the message board, about 275 people had applied for the 2009 – 2010 program by late February (based on the “inscrita” numbers, which is the number you get after submitting your online application). 700-something had applied by late January for the 2010 – 2011 program. I applied yesterday for the 2011 – 2012 program, 2 weeks after the application was open, and I was number 496. I really lucked out finding that information when I did. If I waited until January, it might have been too late.

For my top 3 region preferences, I picked Andalucia, Cataluyna, and Pais Vasco. I wanted to do Madrid and Andalucia as either 1 or 2 and Cataluyna as my 3rd, but they group regions together, probably in part based on popularity. Madrid and Andalucia are in the same group. What appealed to me about Madrid is: 1) assistants get paid 300 euros more in Madrid than the ones in the rest of Spain (Yeah, Madrid is more expensive, but 300 euros is a lot), and 2) since the autonomous community of Madrid is so small, no matter where you were placed, you’d be no more than about an hour or so away from Madrid proper. However, since I know Madrid is the most popular option, and since I do like the thought of spending more time in Andalucia, since I want to do my language immersion in Sevilla, I figured I’d rather pick Andalucia as my first choice and get it, than pick Madrid and not get it.

~ by Revé on November 18, 2010.

3 Responses to “auxiliares de conversación”

  1. Did you find the Spain expat?(I forgot what it’s called) forum? They had a lot of good information when I was preparing.
    I imagine as the program becomes more well known, people become more culturally aware and the economy stays the way it is, the program will get more and more popular. In ’07, I didn’t apply until March or April! 🙂

    I wasn’t sure I understood your choices. Can you only choose one place from each group? So you had to choose Andalusia or Madrid?
    I kinda wish I had pref. Madrid. I think I would have had a better time closer to a big city.

    • I found the message board The Expatriate Cafe, which was literally a godsend. It was the reason that I knew to submit my online app now and not wait until I have all my paperwork.

      I have a friend who didn’t apply to the 2009 – 2010 program until March, but nowadays March would have probably been too late to be guaranteed a spot.

      Yeah, on the application, they split all of the autonomous communities into 3 groups, and you had to pick one per group. Madrid and Andalucia were in the same group. Part of me wishes I took a chance and preferred Madrid, but I’ve heard that the Madrid auxiliares tend to not get treated as well as the ones in the rest of Spain and that Spaniards in the northern and central part of the country can be a bit standoffish. So hopefully I made a good decision by preferring Andalucia. Either way, I could always teach in Madrid if I applied to the auxilar program for a 2nd year.

      What region were you an auxiliar in?

      • yep that’s the same website. It seems like it became less popular when the first version of FB groups started but it’s good to hear it’s still going strong.

        My first choice was Andalusia I don’t really remember my other choices. I was placed in a little town in Huelva. The province in between Portugal and Sevilla.
        I hadn’t even heard of it until I got my letter. I was think I would be somewhere like like Granada or Sevilla even Malaga or Cordoba.
        I’m glad I got see a part of the region I probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

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