If you’re anything like me, you’re wondering about when you can start expecting things. I’ve never been the most patient person in the world (haha) so I’m here to help calm your nerves! I am always wondering if I have done things correctly… Am I alone waiting in the dark? Have other people begun getting assigned their regions? Did something go wrong with my application? Should I keep checking PROFEX every day to make sure I don’t miss my placement?? WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING RIGHT NOW?!
Don’t worry. We have all been there. But remember, each year, thousands of applicants do this correctly, and surely you are smarter than some of them, right? If they can do it, so can you! Check out my timeline below to keep up to date with approximate timeline events during your application process.
Get your documents together! To apply to this program, you will need a letter of recommendation from a former college professor or current work employer (if you’ve been out of school for more than three years). You will also need your passport, a copy of your college transcripts (or diploma if you’ve already graduated), and a signed/dated cover letter (letter of intent – why do you want to do this program) with no more than 250 words (super short!). Also, make sure you have an idea of the different regions you’d like to select as well as what age of students you’d prefer and city/pueblo size you’d like to live in. The earlier you have this stuff done, the quicker you can apply once the application period opens. That means you can obtain one of those low inscrita numbers!
The application period opens sometime around early-mid January. In 2016, it opened January 12. The application period is usually open until early April, but again, you’ll want to apply early to get the best regions and have your preferences met! This is also a great time to start brushing up on your Español if you need it! Check out this post in which I talk about some of the ways I tried to keep up to date on the language before heading over. January was when I signed up for my in person Spanish classes (10 weeks/one class per week/2 hour class for $62).
February – March
This is when you’ll start getting the status of your application changed from submitted to admitted! First, whoever you mailed your application to (based on this list) will get your documents and changed your status to registrada. Then, once they have gone over all of your documents, your status will change to admitida (assuming you meet their qualifications). For me, this took a full four weeks, so be patient! I was a little worried and emailed my consulate to ask if she received everything. She was very polite and said she was looking it over. Two days later my status changed to admitida. Huzzah!
The application period for the upcoming school year closes. In 2016, it closed April 5.
Early – Mid May
At this time (after months of waiting!), those American first years with the lowest inscrita numbers will begin hearing about their regional assignments (for whatever reason, Canadians seem to get assigned a tad earlier). Second year renewals hear back first, usually towards mid-late April. Then they begin assigning regions to everyone else, starting with the lowest inscrita numbers. Regions are handed out all the way up until September/October depending on the number of dropouts. So if you have a high inscrita number, don’t freak out. If your heart is set on going to Spain, you’ll most likely end up there (even if it is in a tiny pueblo in the middle of nowhere!). Check out this Google Doc to see when others (with similar inscrita numbers) were placed! It’ll make you feel better!
May – July
This is when the schools will be assigned and send out your carta de nombramiento. This is a letter that outlines the name of your school, what city you’ll be assigned, how many hours/what days you will be working, how much you’ll be paid, your health insurance information, etc. It’s an important document that you’ll need when applying for your visa, as well as when you arrive in Spain to apply for your NIE/TIE. Some schools/regions send their cartas out electronically while others mail them. As far as I know, Madrid and Andalucía email them, but I’m not sure if/which other regions do. Some people don’t receive their mailed cartas until July or later depending on when they accepted their region! Again, this is kind of a waiting game…
June – August
As soon as you receive your carta de nombramiento, it’s time to start getting your visa application ready! The first couple things you need are your background and medical checks (which I elaborate on in this post). These can take a while, so don’t delay! The medical check should be fairly easy if you have a regular doctor whom you see. The background checks vary state to state (and it takes even longer if you have to do the FBI check). So get on top of it!
July – August
Time to Apply for Your Visa! Some consulates let you apply through mail, like mine in San Francisco, while others require you to apply in person. You need to be checking your consulate’s website to see if you need to schedule an in-person appointment and when you can do it! I’ve heard the Boston Consulate can be booked out for months, but if you keep checking the website, spots open up here and there. You’ll want to apply for your visa at least 6 weeks before you leave (preferably closer to 8 weeks) as the consulates get incredibly busy in the late summer for visa applications! It can take more than a month for your consulate to mail back your visa, so getting your documents together as soon as possible is highly recommended.
Time to go to SPAIN! Wahoo! You’ll have a bit of stuff to get together before you start teaching (most schools start their auxiliares on Oct. 1, but some regions start Sept. 15, so plan accordingly!). You’ll want to find an apartment (and set up internet if it isn’t already set up), open a bank account, get a phone set up (I recommend bringing an unlocked smart phone with you. If you use Verizon, none of their iPhones 5 or newer are locked!), reach out/go to your school/fellow teachers, and figure out how you are going to commute to school (bus? carpool? walk?). This can obviously take a couple of weeks, so try to arrive with at least that much time before you start school! It’s not a bad idea to join a Facebook Group with current/former auxiliares so you can begin meeting some of your fellow teachers. Once you’ve been assigned a region, such as Madrid, you can also join the Facebook Group specific to your region! The second group will be exceptionally helpful in finding roommates/open pisos, getting to know your fellow regional teachers, and just getting some general knowledge of your region from people who live there! Also, the pisos in larger cities start filling up fast come September, so you certainly don’t want to arrive too late and get stuck with a tiny, horrible little apartment! Check out my Auxiliares FAQ page to get some answers to any other questions you might have!
There you have it! Those are some of the major points on how/when you should be getting your documents ready before heading to Spain! What do you guys think? Was this helpful? Did I leave anything out? Let me know in the comments below!