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.