Spanish Ministry’s Auxiliares Program: Application & Timeline

The Spanish government’s auxiliares program, also known as the North American Language & Culture Assistant (NALCA) program, is arguably the most widely known teaching programs for foreigners in Spain. Accepting over 2,000 assistants each year, NALCA is a popular program for people of any age who may be looking for a “gap year” or a way to simply live in Spain while working minimal hours (specifically, 12 hours per week).

Acceptance into the program is based almost purely on your inscrita number, or the number of your application based on how many people applied before you since the application opened. This year, I was traveling on the day the application opened so I had to apply the day after, meaning I got a higher inscrita number because so many people had already applied the day before. My inscrita number this year is 1443.

Components to the Application:
The auxiliares application is quite simple and doesn’t require a whole lot of preparation. All documents you need for the application will need to be uploaded to the online application system called PROFEX. The link to PROFEX is listed on their website, here. In addition to the online component, applicants also need to send a couple of documents via snail mail to the regional advisor.

The PROFEX system requires you to upload (in PDF format):
– Your CV (manually typed in the PROFEX system)
– A copy of your Canadian or U.S. main passport page
– A copy of your college official transcript or diploma
– A cover letter or statement of purpose of at least 250 words, written in English, Spanish, or French
– A letter of recommendation from your university or workplace

The snail mail component consists of:
– A signed and dated PDF print-out of your PROFEX application
– An initialized, signed, and dated checklist (found on their website)
– For New York applicants only: A signed and dated Memorandum of Understanding

2017-2018 Academic Year Application Timeline:
– PROFEX Application Opened: January 9th, 2017
– Inscripción de Solicitud (Application Received, notified via e-mail): January 10th, 2017
Registro de Solicitud (Application Registered, notified via e-mail): January 21st, 2017
– Solicitud Admitida (Application Admitted, notified via e-mail): January 23rd, 2017

Program Details
Dates: Beginning of October until May 31st. In Madrid, the school year runs from October 1st to June 30th.
Location: Various regions of Spain (see chart below)
Type of work: Assist teachers of English or French for 12 class periods/week
Types of schools: Elementary and Secondary schools. Some work in state-run language schools.
Stipend: 700 euros/month
Hours/week: 12
Other benefits: Medical insurance, an orientation course, an official certificate upon completion of the academic year, paid holidays
Option to renew? Yes, in the same region or a different region

Requirements
The NALCA program is very flexible in that they accept a diverse group of people. In terms of your university studies, there is no major/minor requirement. And as far as age goes, although most applicants are between 21 and 35 years old, you can apply as long as you were born after 1957. Applicants must speak English or French as their first language, hold a U.S. or Canadian passport, be in good physical and psychological condition, and have a clean background. Knowing Spanish is obviously a plus, but it is not a requirement to participate in the program.

Locations
Finally, the online application allows you to state your preferences in terms of school type (Primary, Secondary, or an official language school), city type (Urban city, medium-sized city, small city, or a rural area), and regional preferences. This year, the regional preferences list looked like this:

screen-shot-2017-01-24-at-11-42-41-am
This year, Andorra also appeared as an option, but it was separate from this list. From this list, you are able to choose one region from each group, and then rank the groups from 1 (your most preferred region) to 3.

Some auxiliares have noted that the preference system sometimes doesn’t play in your favor, even with a low inscrita number. Sometimes, those with a high inscrita number might end up with their first choice. Some say it’s “black magic,” but I’ll let you believe what you want. Last year, I applied with an inscrita number in the 600s (just hours after the application opened!) and I got my first choice of La Rioja. However, La Rioja isn’t one of the prime destinations, so that could be why. This year, I listed País Vasco as my #1, Andalusia as my #2, and Galicia as my #3. We’ll see what happens!

If you’re interested in the NALCA program, check out their website.

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