Congratulations! You’re here, that means you’ve decided (or at least are considering) a big, dramatic change in your life! Hopefully you’ve read my previous post about the different options you have to teach English in Spain and have now arrived at the decision to apply to the Spanish government’s Auxiliares de Conversación program. If you’re reading this sometime between January and early April, you’re in luck! You can visit the website and apply! If it’s sometime after early April, well, you’re gonna have to be a bit patient. Do some research. Get your letter of recommendation early. Keep practicing your Spanish. Your time will come.
After my college graduation in 2015, I knew I wanted to see what else was out there. I wanted to explore the world, continue to learn new things, and help make a difference. I stumbled upon this program through a lot of Google searching and decided it seemed like a great fit for my future. I would get to break out of the USA for a while improve my Spanish while helping kids learn English. ¡Qué chévere!
The program definitely seems to have received some improvements over previous years. All regions are now participating, the program says they’re accepting more students, and they’ve removed the age restrictions on the region of Madrid! So it all sounds well and dandy, but where do you actually begin? Well first, you’ll need to visit the Auxiliares de Conversación website.
The first thing you’ll have to do is make sure you have a valid US Passport (Canadian Passport if you’re from there, obviously). You’ll need to use your passport number when creating a username for PROFEX, the online application system used to apply to the program. Make sure your passport is valid at least 6 months after you move to Spain! That is a requirement when applying for your visa in the future. If you don’t have a passport, you’re going to need to get one. Assuming you do have a passport, you’ll have to click the Access PROFEX button.
If it is open season for applications (between January and April), you should see the year and program link. When I first got on the site, it was too early and the only thing I could see was the “Mantenimento del CV” button. If you are early like I was, start filling out the CV info! Make sure you have the required documents before the application period opens, that way you can apply the first day! Spots are given out on a first come, first serve basis, so it’s in your best interest to apply as early as possible! The required documents you’ll need to apply are:
- Copy of the main page of your passport
- Official college transcript or scanned image of diploma (The latter is a lot easier if you’ve already graduated! Though some people said they sent in unofficial web transcripts and that was fine… I just used my diplomas, so I’m not sure.)
- A signed and dated cover letter or letter of intent (not exceeding 250 words, very short) addressed to your proper consulate
- A signed and dated letter of recommendation* from a professor or work supervisor (if you’ve been out of school for more than 3 years)
*I’m not sure how strict they are on the letter of recommendation… I’ve read reports of some people being asked for a second letter of recommendation because the first was too generic. Personally, I was closer with some of my high school teachers and actually got the letter from an old Spanish teacher! It was heartfelt and better than anything a college professor could have written for me and that was accepted, no problem. I suppose this all depends on your consulate!
Once you have these four things, you can start uploading them online. For a step by step guide on how PROFEX works, click here. This PDF was a God send when applying through PROFEX! (Seriously, whoever made this, I speak on behalf of all applicants when I say THANK YOU, YOU’RE AMAZING!) The only thing I found to be incorrect in the PDF guide was that you DID need to submit a small passport photo of yourself; I couldn’t continue applying without one. I took mine on my cell phone and uploaded it within two minutes, so it wasn’t too big of a deal.
There will then be a few other things you’ll need to fill out. You can select your regional preferences (which I talk about in this post) along with information about the age of students you prefer to teach, the size of the city or pueblo you prefer to live in, and whether or not you are applying with a partner. Make sure you’ve done some research on the different regions of Spain! Keep in mind that you might find old information online that says certain regions are not participating. As of 2016-2017, they all are!
If it’s application season and you’re freaking out because you are missing one of your required documents, DON’T PANIC! As long as you have created a login with your passport number, you can submit the documents later! You may be thinking to yourself, “Why is this so important? I have months to apply to this program, who cares if I do it the first day or the 20th?” Well, yes, the application period is open for a long time, but if you have your heart set on a particular region, especially if it’s competitive, you’ll want to apply early! Unless you are a second year renewal (and if you are, why are you reading this post?! You already know what the application is like!), assignments are handed out in order of your inscrita number.
Once you change the status of your application from borrador (rough or working draft) to inscrita (submitted) you will be given a digital PDF. In the top left hand corner, there will be the year (16 for 2016) followed by some numbers and letters. the LAST FOUR NUMBERS represent your inscrita number, and this is the order you are in to have your application requests met. Make sure that you are confident in your decisions before you submit the application, because once the status is inscrita, you can’t edit any preferences (like region or grade level, etc).
Now, back to the missing documents scenario… Say you don’t have your letter of recommendation yet, but you’re confident in your selections of regions and filled all of the other important information out in PROFEX… That’s fine because while you may no longer be able to change your preferences, you are still able to submit important documents after submitting your application! There is a section labeled “Curriculum: Documentos anexos” that you can use to upload important documents later. This allows you to get the coveted lower inscrita number! Just be aware that you do eventually need to turn in all of the documents to be fully accepted into the program! (Note: I applied on the first day at about 10:30am Mountain Time, and still got an inscrita number in the high 700s! Seriously people, apply early!)
So you’ve finally completed the dreaded PROFEX application! That wasn’t so bad now, was it? Now that you’ve followed the guided PDF and reached the end of the PROFEX application, you can print the generated PDF with your inscrita number and preferences and hand sign and date it. That, along with this check list will be mailed to your corresponding consulate. Now the really fun part… The waiting game! Some consulates take longer than others to respond to you and change the status of your application.
Remember to be patient. Yes, I know it’s tough. I went through it too. I submitted my application January 12 and my status didn’t change to registrada/admitida until February 9! That was a full four weeks of waiting to know whether or not I would even be admitted into the program! It’s a lot to think about with your future on the line. Those weeks of waiting can feel much longer. Rest assured, if you meet the program’s eligibility and get your documents turned in, you will (most likely) be accepted!
Now you get to wait even more! Just know that you’re not alone. Thousands of other individuals are in a similar boat. Help the waiting time pass by joining the Facebook Group for current/former auxiliares. There, you’ll be able to ask questions to people who have already gone through this process and may be able to help! Another fun thing to do is check out this Google Doc that shows where people in the past have been assigned regions. It’s pretty fun to see live updates of when people are offered their placements! And it’s nice to see where individuals with similar inscrita numbers have been placed.
Second year renewals will start being offered/accepting their positions around March/April, and first year applicants will begin receiving their placements around the start of May. Remember, you have THREE DAYS to log into PROFEX and accept your position before it is forfeited to the next person in line. Assignments are given out starting with inscrita #1! PROFEX should automatically generate an email saying you’ve been offered a regional placement, and if you’ve received PROFEX emails in the past, there should be no worries it will go to your spam folder (still, if you’re worried, it doesn’t hurt to check!).
Once you get your region you can accept and then wait to be assigned a school (ugh, more waiting?). The school will send you una carta de nombramiento with all of your information: location, hours, pay, health coverage info, etc. At this point, you can contact your school and get in touch with a local who should be able to help with some things like finding a place to rent for the year or putting you in contact with current/former auxiliares who have taught there. Remember to contact them before school is out for the summer, however! Otherwise you might not get help.
Finally, you will need this carta from the school in order to move onto the next step, Applying for your Visa!
How was that? Did I forget anything? Any info you’d like to add?