How to become a TEFL teacher in Spain with an American passport
By Margot Peppers
Margot and I completed the Trinity CertTESOL course in Malaga at TEFL in Spain in May 2016. It’s been a fantastic, exhausting and extremely rewarding experience and I highly recommend it!
After working as a journalist at a very big newspaper in New York City for more than 2 years, I was ready for a change of pace. I had always thought about teaching, and I really wanted to travel and learn a new language. But since I am from America and I don’t have an EU passport, it is very difficult to get any kind of working visa in Europe.
So how did I manage to get a visa that allows me to work 20 hours a week in Spain for an entire year?
I spent hours looking at TEFL courses all around the world until I finally found TEFL in Spain. They offer a 1-year Teacher Development course that allows non-EU citizens like me to live and work in Malaga for a year on a student visa. I’d never been to Malaga, but I did some research and discovered it was beautiful, on the coast, very cheap and offered a great quality of life. After a phone conversation with Miriam, I was convinced that this was the course for me – and I was right!
Now for the nitty gritty details. Getting my student visa did take some time – about 2 months altogether. First I had to gather a lot of documents including proof of address, criminal records and bank statements, and have them translated into Spanish (this part is easily done with 24-hour online services). Then I booked an appointment at the Spanish Consulate in Miami, which is in charge of visas for Florida, South Carolina and Georgia, where I am from. At the consulate, I presented my documents and they took my passport for about 3 weeks. When they sent my passport back, my visa was inside!
WARNING: Don’t be alarmed if your visa says it is only valid for 90 days. Once you arrive in Spain, you need to visit the Comisaría to complete the process. The TEFL in Spain team will assist you with this if you want – which is especially helpful if you don’t speak Spanish!
Now, I’m looking for summer jobs and getting ready to apply for full-time positions for the academic year. There’s a very high demand for English teachers in this area, and many students are looking specifically for American teachers! Not only am I feeling confident about my new career choice, but I’m also absolutely in love with Malaga – the food, the city, the people – and I’m so happy to be able to make it my home for the year. I thought it was impossible to work in Europe without EU citizenship, but I was wrong.I’m so glad I found TEFL in Spain!
If you have any more questions about becoming a TEFL teacher as an American, please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org