Teach English in Spain: BEDA Language Assistants

BEDA Bilingual English Development & Assessment

Teach English in Spain:
BEDA Language AssistantsBEDA 2019-2020 Applications

How did you manage to move to Spain? Man, oh man, if I had a centimo for every time someone asked me that one!

The truth is, these days learning English is all the rage in sunny Spain, and between the many English teaching programs out there, almost anyone can find a way in.

Before becoming a resident in Spain, I spent four years working as an English Language Assistant with BEDA in the Canary Islands (Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria). Most of my experiences were positive and I’d absolutely recommend this program for those looking to live it up in Spain for a year (or four!).

In this post you can find an overview about what it’s like working for BEDA, and here you can find my overview of the main Language Assistant (auxiliar de conversación) program in Spain.

If you already know the BEDA basics, but want to hear about
my first hand experience, skip to the end where I dish on the
pros and cons of my life as a BEDA auxiliar de conversacón.

BEDA Basics: What is the
BEDA Language Assistant Program?

BEDA Program Dates and Stipends 2018-2019-2020

BEDA stands for Bilingual English Development & Assessment. BEDA is a branch of Escuelas Catolicas de Madrid (ECM) and aims to improve English language learning within private and concertado (semi-private) Catholic schools in Spain.

A major part of this strategy is the BEDA Language Assistant program, which supplies these schools with native English-speaking teaching assistants to help improve fluency, pronunciation and conversation skills. That´s where you come in!

BEDA Language Assistants

The role of a Language Assistant varies quite a bit from school to school, but generally the assistant is responsible for assisting in English classes or in other subjects that are taught in English in bilingual schools. As a BEDA Language Assistant, you will be expected to plan engaging classroom activities and to encourage students to speak and participate in English.

Generally speaking, most BEDA language assistants are in their twenties to early thirties, but there are definitely some who are older, and some who come to Spain with their children and/or partners. At this time, there is no maximum age limit to apply for BEDA.

BEDA Locations

There are over 500 BEDA Language Assistants in about 365 schools; 300 of which are located in Madrid. You select your regional preferences when you apply, but ultimately the decision is up to the powers that be(DA). Since the vast majority of placements are in Madrid, you’re probably in luck if that’s your first choice.

BEDA Language Assistant Locations

Working with BEDA: What You Get

BEDA Monthly Stipend 💶

BEDA Assistants are assigned 18 – 24 hours per week and earn a monthly stipend which breaks down to about €12.15/hour gross pay. Social Security is taken out monthly, which gives BEDA Assistants access to the Spanish public healthcare system. You get virtually all of this money back when filing Spanish taxes in the spring.

BEDA Language Assistant Monthly Stipend

The stipend is more or less enough to live off, but how much bang you get for your buck will depend a lot on where you’re placed, how many hours a week you’re assigned, and of course your personal spending style.

Most Language Assistants supplement their income with private tutoring, but you can probably squeeze by on the 20-24 hour-a-week stipend if you budget well (especially if you´re outside of Madrid). The first couple of months tend to be toughest (moving costs, new apartment, etc), but things start to balance out by December.

Is the BEDA monthly grant reliable?

Unlike the government program (usually referred to as auxiliares de conversación or Ministry program), payment with BEDA is always reliable and direct deposited into your Spanish bank account within the first 5 days of the following month.

In September and June you work 15 days, so the payment is about half that of a regular month.

Private & Public Health Coverage

Health Care: BEDA provides private health insurance through Adeslas (company subject to change), and unlike in the government program, we’re also eligible for seguridad social (public social security)

Social Security: BEDA Language Assistants pay into the Spanish Social Security system, which is awesome for 3 reasons:

  1. We have access to public health care (in addition to private health insurance), meaning that we’re fully covered both at public and private hospitals.
  2. We get virtually all this money back when we file our Spanish taxes in spring.
  3. For those that may wish to find a more permanent situation in Spain later on, having a Social Security number is a step in the right direction.

BEDA Orientation & Support

BEDA provides a lot of support to help you get started when you arrive to Spain, which is totally in contrast to the government program where you’re left to fend for yourself.

  • At the orientation in September, BEDA helps you fill out the immigration paperwork for the NIE and TIE and even make the appointment and accompany you to submit it at the immigration office
  • They help you to open a Spanish bank account
  • They’re actually there. Compared to the government program (which responds to about 25% of emails about once a month) the good folks at BEDA usually respond within a day or two. No matter how confident you are coming over, it never hurts to have someone in your corner in case you need it!

 

 

 

 

A Visa to Live in Spain

Once you are accepted to the BEDA Language Assistant program, they will provide you with documents to apply for a visa to live in Spain. Because of the academic portion of the BEDA Program (through Comillas University) you are more or less considered a student doing practicas  (an internship) at the school to which you are assigned.

Before arriving to Spain, you will need to apply at your nearest Spanish consulate for a student visa for the right to live and teach in Spain for the duration of the school year. You will later need to complete the visa process once you arrive in Spain.

Working with BEDA: What You Give

BEDA School Days

BEDA Language Assistant Classroom

BEDA works with semi-private Catholic schools (concertados), meaning that they receive some funding from the government and some from tuition.

A typical day will vary from school to school, but in general most have classes from 8-1, a long lunch break, and more classes from 3-5. Since you´ll be spread out amongst a  varied group of students and classes, you’ll likely be there a lot of that time.

As far as your roles and responsibilities will go, it’s pretty much up in the air. Some schools look after you, team teach and collaborate on lesson plans, while others give ya a wink and a nod and send you out into the hungry lion’s den classroom on your own. During my four years with BEDA, two of my schools were amazing and one was the absolute epitome of taking advantage of cheap immigrant (me) labor. More on that below.

BEDA Coursework:
Universidad de Comillas

Comillas Courses: Within Madrid

BEDA Assistants working within Madrid are required to attend weekly courses at Comillas University, which are typically held on Fridays with an occasional SaturdayUniversidad Pontificia Comillas for BEDA Langauge Assistants thrown in to mess up your weekend.

The classes are meant to be directly applicable to the classroom, such as lesson planning, classroom management, teaching methodology, etc. You’re also required to take Spanish classes unless you test out of them by proving you have a B1 level.

I never had to do these courses as I was placed outside of Madrid in the Canary Islands, but the general consensus I’ve heard through the grapevine is that while they’re a drag to go to, they’re reasonably helpful for newer teachers and a great place to meet new people.

Comillas Courses: Outside of Madrid

Assistants working outside of Madrid aren’t required to attend these courses (woohoo!), which was a big draw for me to ditch the capital and explore the islands instead. Auxiliares outside of Madrid are given access to a separate online course and are simply required to complete the online modules and travel to Madrid for a weekend in April to take two Cambridge Teaching exams each year they’re with the program. While a drag at the time, the certifications I earned during my four years with BEDA definitely helped my Spanish CV and my application for residency.

 

 

BEDA Program
The Good, The Bad & My Two Cents

Having worked with both the government program (Ministry of Education) and BEDA, my pros and cons all come from a comparative standpoint.

The Good

  • BEDA Assistants are always paid on time (within the first 5 days of the following month)
  • Earning €1165/month outside of Madrid vs. €700 (government program stipend ourside of Madrid) makes a massive difference
  • Adeslas health coverage is great and we have access to public health services, meaning you’re covered virtually no matter what
  • BEDA offers hands on support to help with the bureaucracy of living abroad
  • The courses at Comillas University may a drag, but it´s great for resume/CV building for those who wish to remain in Spain long-term, or to pursue a career in teaching
  • Some LA’s will have the opportunity to train as Cambridge Speaking examiners, a resume builder and an opportunity to make some extra cash
  • You get a visa to live in SPAIN for a year!

The Bad

 

 

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My Two Cents

All in all, I’ve enjoyed my experience working with BEDA in the Canary Islands. Since cost of living is cheaper here than Madrid, the monthly stipend goes a bit further. I supplement my income with a few private classes (2-5 hours a week) and some freelance gigs to support my wanderlust, but if I was more of a homebody I could get by without.

Over four years, I’ve worked with 3 BEDA schools, one of which was amazing in every possible way, one of which I enjoyed a lot and made some lifelong friends at, and one of which completely takes advantage of the Language Assistant program, using it as a way to score cheap English teachers and pushing way more responsibilities than are outlined in our contract. Point being, the schools can be hit or miss, but as far as I can tell the majority are above par.

I’m definitely in the minority working outside of Madrid, so it’s also worth adding…

BEDA Language Assistants:
Madrid vs. Other Parts of Spain

Unless you have your heart set on Madrid, BEDA gives you more bang for your buck in other communities. Here’s why:

  • Unlike the government program which pays only €700 outside of Madrid, BEDA wages are determined by hours worked, not by where you live. €1200 a month goes a lot further outside of Madrid than within the capital
  • Language Assistants placed outside of the Comunidad de Madrid don’t have to attend weekend classes. I’m a lifelong learner, but I had zero desire to spend my Friday afternoons in a classroom after a long week of teaching!
  • Living outside Madrid adds an extra level of independence and immersion. Having lived in Madrid, I know how easy it can be to fall into the trap of making easy expat friendships as opposed to truly immersing yourself in your new home. Without the convenience of a million other auxiliares and Erasmus students, you’re forced to get out of your comfort zone and get in with the locals.

Still Interested in the BEDA Program?

BEDA placements are much more competitive than the government Language Assistant program and not everyone gets a spot. To be a successful candidate, shine up you CV (resume) and be sure to boast any experience you have related to teaching and working with children.

Applications for the 2018/2019 are already closed (unless you´re an EU citizen or a Spanish resident with the right to work in Spain), but BEDA is already getting set up for the next season!

BEDA Language Assistant Applications
for the 2019/2020 school year will open from
November 30, 2018 – January 31, 2019.

BEDA Language Assistant Requirements

To apply as a BEDA Language Assistant, you have to be over 20, have completed university and be a native English speaker. For your visa, you´ll also need to provide a clean background check and bill of health.

BEDA Language Assistant Requirements

BEDA Bonus Points (but not necessarily required)

When submitting your application and resumé, remember to emphasize any skills or relevant experience. Did you study English, Spanish or Education? Do you have a TEFL or TESOL? Have you worked in a classroom, as a coach or in summer camps? Have you ever studied abroad or travelled long-term? All of these extras will work wonders for your CV.

BEDA Bonus Points

BEDA Language Assistant Application Process

BEDA How to Apply

1. Submit your CV and application by the deadline.

2. Successful applicants will receive an email inviting them for a Skype interview (in English). It should last 5-15 minutes and isn’t something to stress over. Instead, think of it as an opportunity to highlight your relevant experience, express why you want to work in Spain, and to confirm your location and age group preferences.

3. Accept the position. Those accepted will be notified by email in late March or early April and given a week to make a $175 wire transfer to hold their space. Once you’re in, you’re in!

Questions About BEDA?

If you have any other questions about my BEDA experience, let me know in the comments below! You can also take a look at this link for general information about what the BEDA program entails,  and here you can find BEDA’s FAQs.

Click here if you´d like to learn more about the Spanish government auxiliar de conversación program (also known the Language and Culture Assistant Program).

And don’t forget to like and follow, as I’m compiling tons of information & resources about the various options to teach English in Spain. Make your Spain dreams a reality! 😉🇪🇸💃

Hasta luego, Erica 💙

Hungry for More?

 

 

I’m constantly building up content related to moving to Spain and teaching English in Europe. Here’s a few posts you might be interested in:

BEDA Language Assistant Program

BEDA Language Assistant Enrollment Fee: How to Confirm Your Placement
Auxiliar de Conversación Program: Language & Culture Assistants

Moving to Spain

Language Assistants: Getting Ready for the Big Move
Packing Dos & Don’ts for a Year Abroad
The Shelter Games: Apartment Hunting in Spain
Finding a Flat in Spain 101: The Basics
No One Says Apartamento: A Piso Glossary for Spain

Expat Life

11 Ways to Overcome Homesickness While Living Abroad
Six Years in Spain: Reflections of a Life Abroad
2017 A Year in Photos

20 top tips
BEDA Enrollment Fee_Confirming Your Placement as aBEDA Language Assistant Placement
20 top tips
Reflections of a life abroad
BEDA Enrollment Fee
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65 Comments Add yours

  1. allyson says:

    Thanks for this! It was really informative.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica says:

      Glad you enjoyed it!

      Like

  2. Different Frame of Mind says:

    This was a fabulous and informative post! I have actually never heard of this program but it looks like something I might be interested in doing. Thank you so much for sharing this information!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica says:

      Thanks a lot! Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Really interesting post! I also didn’t know that programs like this exist. I wish I’d known about it before I started my teaching career. Well written and very informative. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica says:

      Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it. From one teacher to another…. One week til holidays 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is great to read because it’s something for me to consider. Husband and I are traveling in Asia, but Spain seems like a place we want to stay for a few months. So if we budget well, we will hopefully make it there too. 24 hours a week isn’t that bad!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica says:

      I’ll be doing a writeup soon about a similar program (sponsered by the Spanish government) that’s only 16 hours a week 🙂

      Like

  5. amit says:

    Such a great post for anybody looking to move to Spain and teach English. Being a long-term traveler that’s lived and worked around the world I get asked the same thing – Although I’ve not taught while I’ve traveled, I do know so many people who have. I think this is the first time I’ve heard of the BEDA program. I’m going to pass this post onto my brother who is looking to start his traveling life soon 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica says:

      Glad to hear it! They definitely make it easy to get started working abroad, and he’ll have the whole of Europe to enjoy on weekends and holidays 🙂

      Like

  6. Lara Dunning says:

    Sounds like a great way to experience living in Spain and make a living. Thanks for breaking down the program and its pros and cons. If I did it, I would definitely choose a location outside of Madrid as I prefer small towns over big cities. Did you need to know Spanish to apply?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Erica says:

    I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂 Priority is given to applicants with some Spanish knowledge, but by no means are you expected to be fluent when you apply. Part of the coursework offered by BEDA is Spanish classes, so you’re certain to improve your language skills while you’re here.

    Like

  8. What a wonderfully informative post! Teaching in the Canary Islands sounds like such a resonant experience. Sounds like a great and rewarding way to experience the area!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica says:

      It definitely allows you to explore the area in a way that a simple vacation doesn’t allow! Thanks for reading 🙂

      Like

  9. I would say the pros outweigh the cons except the weekend courses! If I was working and living in Spain, I would want to take advantage of the weekends to travel around as well. BUT being in the Canary Islands is great and the experience sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing. We met a few people while in Spain that were teaching English there and I wondered how it all worked. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Katie @ Zen Life and Travel says:

    I think I would love to do this if I was young and single! I have probably missed the boat on my opportunity for this! I never realized you would be eligible for health care with this type of job.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica says:

      You’d be surprised how many people come over here with their families! Couples applying together can choose to only accept the position if they’re placed within the same community, and you can even enroll your children in local public or private schools 🙂

      Like

  11. Great detailed breakdown. The Canary Islands sound like a nice place to do this program. Must be a very different experience compared to Madrid!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica says:

      They both have a lot to offer, but I’m a sun and sand kindofa girl, so while I loved Madrid, Canarias is definitely more my cup of tea! Thanks for reading 🙂

      Like

  12. Zue says:

    How to submit my resume here?

    Like

    1. Erica says:

      Hi Zue! Follow this link to submit your resume: https://ecmadrid.org/en/language-assistant/81-training/1425-language-assistant .
      The link is also up above in “How to Apply” 🙂
      Good luck!

      Like

  13. Danette says:

    Is there a max age limit?

    Like

    1. Erica says:

      Hi Danette! Their website states that you must be at least 20, but doesn’t list a maximum age limit. From the Language Assistants I’ve met, I’d say the majority are from mid 20s to mid 30s, but I’m sure there are some outliers.

      Like

  14. Maria says:

    Hey Erica, Thanks for this awesome post! Do you know if BEDA offers positions in Barcelona? It’s listed in the drop down menu of their application for preferred cities…but I know sometimes those lists aren’t up to date! Thanks!

    Like

    1. Erica says:

      Hi Maria! A couple of years ago I asked BEDA about placements in Barcelona and they told me there weren’t positions there, BUT they’ve grown quite a bit over the last couple of years so it’s possible that now there are. They usually reply to emails pretty quickly so it would be worth it to give them a shout to confirm with them directly. Sorry I can’t give ya a more definite answer!

      Like

  15. Shaily says:

    Very informative post for anyone planning to teach English in Spain. I never heard of BEDA program before, but it’s great to know programs like these exist. Loved reading about your experience with it!

    Like

    1. Erica says:

      Thanks, Shaily!

      Like

  16. I’ve never heard of the BEDA program before, but it sounds like something I’d be interested in sometime in the future (as today is the deadline for applications). I appreciate your two cents at the end where you compared your experiences. I would have thought you could make more in Madrid, but I now understand why that’s not the case.

    Like

    1. Erica says:

      Thanks for reading! There’s a few similar English teaching programs in Spain that are still accepting applications for the 2018/2019 school year. I’ll be doing a write-up on them soon, so keep an eye out! 🙂

      Like

  17. Anete says:

    I’d never heard of BEDA before. This seems like such a great opportunity. Would love to have such experience myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Jithin says:

    English teaching is the best way to travel around the world, if you have the skills. Thanks for pointing out the opportunities in Spain

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Lydia Smith says:

    It might it’s con, but I think the BEDA program is such a thoughtful and helping scheme for expats. The process to enlist is quite easy too unlike some expat jobs where you need ‘tons’ of certificate. If only the peace money can be cancelled, every other thing looks great. Thanks for sharing this.

    Like

  20. lcdorkin says:

    Thi looks like such a helpful guide for anyone wanting to teach in Spain! It’s such a beautiful place to live and work!

    Like

  21. Marquita says:

    This seems like this was an awesome opportunity! I’m glad you outline the entire program.

    Like

    1. Erica says:

      Thanks for reading!

      Like

  22. shannonkeary says:

    This was such an interesting read! I studied for a TEFL qualification a few years ago (through the online course) but just never felt qualified enough to do anything with it! It must have been incredible to be so immersed in the local life. Thanks for sharing! Xoxo

    Shan// http://www.cultureandcouture.co.uk

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica says:

      I think teaching — like so many other trades – is something you really learn as you go. Of course you need training, but nothing can really prepare you until you’re in front of the class, thinking on your feet with 30+ eyes on you! It’s great you have the TEFL to fall back on in case you decide to switch it up someday – it gives you so many opportunities to travel and live abroad!

      Like

  23. Laura SP says:

    This is an amazing post about people who would like to live abroad 🙂 thanks for sharing!

    Like

  24. Kim says:

    This sound like an amazing experience to be part of! I teach abroad now as a primary teacher but would love to have done something like this when I was younger!

    Like

  25. Tosh E. says:

    Hi, as of today (Monday May 21 in Spanish time), is the BEDA app still open? I’ve got a confirmation email saying my application has been submitted correctly, but I’m not sure where to check and see if they’ve closed it again…

    Thank you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica says:

      Yes, it was reopened a couple of days ago and when I selected the link just now the application is live. How long ago did you apply? It’s a busy time of year at the office as they’re assigning placements from the first round of applicants and processing CVs from this second round, so have a bit of patience 🙂 Good luck!

      Like

  26. Odilia Garcia says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience! I am so excited that the application has re-opened. I do not have much teaching experience but this has been a life-long dream of mine to wok with youth, and live and work in Spain. I have some experience working with children as a tutor and living with a Spanish family last summer, but have pursued a career in healthcare in the states. I do not that a recommendation letter or cover letter is required but I would like to include these with my application materials. I will submit my application materials immediately and would appreciate any news you hear about the placements. Thank you again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica says:

      Great, I love Hearing this excitement!! The application just reopened last Friday and I’m not sure when it will close again, so I’d definitely recommend getting yours in ASAP. Make sure you stress your experience working with kids and tutoring to better your chances. Good luck!

      Like

      1. Odilia Garcia says:

        Hey Erica! I know you talk about the CV which to me refers to a more in-depth summary of research and teaching experience. Would a one to two page resume also work for this role?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Erica says:

        One page and a solid cover letter should do the trick 😉

        Like

      3. Odilia Garcia says:

        Thanks, Erica! Fingers crossed 🙂

        Like

  27. Karen Johnson says:

    Thank you so much for this post. I actually came across BEDA quite by accident and sent in my application even though the website said applications were closed but somehow they emailed me for an interview and I’m in! I’m pretty excited so I will be reading all of your posts to find out about the programme from another perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica says:

      That’s fantastic, congratulations!! Where have you been placed? If you have any questions, feel free to give me a shout 🙂

      Like

  28. Tony says:

    Oh, I really like the sound of this. One question – the image says that applications for the 2019/2020 school year open in December 2019….you mean 2018 right?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica says:

      Thanks! I can’t believe I didn’t notice that 🙈 You’re right, the new app should be up December 2018 🙂

      Like

  29. Bianca says:

    This was SO helpful. I’m currently a 3rd grade teacher, but want to learn Spanish and figured doing a program like this would be my best bet (versus paying for a program that would teach me Spanish, I could get paid and teach in a Spanish speaking country). I’m wondering if you think there is room to actively pursue improving my Spanish proficiency while up there? My goal is to be fluent but I’m currently a beginner.

    Like

    1. Erica says:

      Absolutely! I would definitely recommend learning some basics before you get here as it will help you immensely in getting settled, finding an apartment, etc. Once you’re here though, you’ll have so much opportunity to practice both with you’re colleages and in life 😜 There are lots of language exchanges between English/Spanish and you can sign up for Spanish classes in one of the language schools here 😄

      Like

  30. Kayla Marie says:

    What an awesome program! I’ve actually been looking into teaching abroad and I’m definitely going to check this option out!

    Like

  31. My Early Retirement Journey says:

    been checking out your blog… i like. two questions
    1, what is the academic calendar like, i.e. how many breaks or vacation/holidays do you get during the year with BEDA?
    2, is the visa for 1 year or 9 months? i.e. do you have to leave as soon as the school year ends?
    3, oh, i guess i have a third question. after you got your spanish residency…are you able to have long stays more than 90 days in other EU countries?

    Thanks!

    Like

    1. Erica says:

      Hi! Thanks for reading ☺️
      1. The BEDA contract runs from September 15-June 15. The Christmas holidays last from 2-3 weeks depending on which day Christmas and 3 kings day fall (3 Kings day is Jan. 6 and a more important holiday here than Dec. 25). Easter week is also a paid holiday, and there are a few other days off/long weekends scattered throughout the year. Alll are paid.
      2. The visa is for 9 or 10 months (no rhyme or reason, jut depends on who processes you), but once it expires you default to a 3 months tourist visa, so you can stay to travel a bit.
      3. I’m not sure 🤷‍♀️ Never tried. Though typically movement through the Schengan countries is free and easy for residents so I imagine it would be ok, though I don’t know about working restrictions.
      Hope this helps!

      Like

      1. Thanks, Erica. Is there anywhere on here that shows what your place looks like and how much it costs? Just want to get an idea of what to expect. I looked into this a year ago but wasn’t willing to go back to roommate squalor…but now i’m focusing on the adventure side of this… maybe in 2020

        Like

  32. This looks like an amazing opportunity, and your write-up is so thorough and informative I’m sure it will encourage a lot of people to take their first steps in programs such as this!

    Like

  33. pappasw says:

    Wow, this is a lot of great information, especially how much they pay and the cost of living. Great article…

    Like

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