El Año Que Viene

Though I still have 4.5 months left of this stint in Spain, the ever-present question, of course, is what comes next? And the answer is most likely another year of teaching English in Spain!

The North American Language and Culture Assistants/Auxiliares de Conversación program allows, and even encourages, participants to renew their positions for a second year. As renewals, we get priority placement and a much simpler application process. Considering how much I’m loving life right now, why not continue, right?

My travel group in Granada, on my first visit to Spain in 2006. Who knew I'd end up spending so much time in Spain? I guess I kind of had a feeling. It was love at first sight.

When I finished my year abroad in Madrid, I knew that I had the option to return to Spain after college, but when I finish this program, I likely will only be back in Spain for short vacations, and, right now, I can’t imagine having to say goodbye to Spain for good in June. I haven’t had enough! I miss the people back home, of course, as well as certain aspects of American life, but I plan to spend most of my life in the U.S., so why rush back now?

Submitting a renewal application is an obvious choice — it’s easy, free, and non-binding — but the less obvious decision is which comunidad autónoma (region) to apply for. Renewals can choose to either stay at the same school, stay in the same comunidad, or switch comunidades. I adore my school, my co-teachers, and my students, and I’m incredibly happy there, and Sevilla is an amazing city, but I’m pretty sure I’ll switch to Madrid next year. Why?

  • I love Madrid, obviously. When I re-visited in October, I couldn’t stop thinking that I had to return to live there again some day.
  • Yes, I already spent 10 months in Madrid, but, as it’s a big city, there’s still so much more to explore! I’m in love with Sevilla, and there is a lot to do here, but it’s smaller than Madrid, and, therefore, I feel like I already know most of it pretty well.
  • Though I love working at my current school, I think I’d learn a lot more by working in a different environment. Changes of pace are always good.
  • I could choose to stay in Andalucía and switch schools/cities, but I wouldn’t get much of a say in what city I’d be placed in, and I fear being placed in some remote, dull location. Same goes for other comunidades, and none of them interest me all that much. However, if I’m placed in the comunidad of Madrid, no matter where I’m placed, the comunidad is small enough that I could live in the city and commute.
  • I have some dear friends who will most likely be in Madrid next year as well. Hanging out with them in Europe would be an utter blast.
  • Madrid is much easier to travel from — many more low-cost flights fly out of the Madrid-Barajas airport. This is especially great since my sister will likely be studying in London in the fall!
  • Auxiliares in Madrid get paid €1000/month instead of €700 (but also work 16 hours/week instead of 12), which is helpful since the cost of living is higher there (though not €300/month higher).
  • Madrid’s metro is the greatest metro in the entire world, which is honestly one of the primary reasons I want to live there again.

My friend Connie and me at Madrid's iconic El Oso y El Madroño statue in 2010. Never mind the fact that we were still wearing our winter coats in May. Weather is one advantage Andalucía has over Madrid, but I can deal with it.

I guess I’m writing this post mainly to get my thoughts out and ask for your opinions on this issue. I hope to submit my application soon, but, before I do, I want to make sure I’ve made the right decision. Do you think doing a second year as an auxiliar but moving to Madrid is a good idea? Are there any pros/cons I haven’t thought about? Thanks!

9 Responses

  1. Kathy says:

    Madrid sounds like a no-brainer, based on your check list. These are the strongest ones to me (since you’re asking for opinions):

    – the comunidad is small enough that I could live in the city and commute (you know you love the city and you probably would have a much shorter commute than you do now)

    – Madrid is much easier to travel from — many more low-cost flights fly out of the Madrid-Barajas airport (after all, travel is one of your primary reasons for being there, right?)

    – Auxiliares in Madrid get paid €1000/month instead of €700 (more to travel with)

    – Madrid’s metro is the greatest metro in the entire world (gee, how I wish we had that kind of system!)

    I love your thought process – and I love you!

    • Kirstie says:

      Good thinking on all of those! The commute could easily be the same as it is now (although it would likely be cheaper), but I really don’t mind it. Love you!

  2. Gammy says:

    Hi Kirstie! I planned to write the day I read your latest, but my computer must have had a problem. Your dad fixed it! I have been giving your pros and cons a lot of thought. Of course my very first thought was ” I want her back here” I realized very quickly how selfish that way of thinking was! I am so very happy for you that you are doing so well and enjoying your life! That is so importatnt to me. It was a very good idea to put your thoughts on paper. You are so responsible and mature that I would easily agree on whatever seems best for you. I think you are veering toward Madrid. It has a lot of pluses! It will be nice that your friends will be there! The “big city” factor is good. You can always visit your people at the school, etc. I’m sure that whatever you decide will be the correct decixion. I will be anxius to hear what you decide. It always helps to pray for the best! I love you SO muxh and am so proud of you! Gammy

    • Kirstie says:

      Hi Gammy! I’m glad my dad was able to fix your computer!

      Having such a wonderful family certainly makes it difficult to be away from home, and I really wish I could bring you with me (or invent teleportation so I can visit you whenever I want)! The good news is that I’ll definitely be home for the entire summer and for Christmas break next year, so I’ll just have to fit in as much visiting time with you as possible! And don’t worry, I definitely won’t move here forever — I like California too much!

      Hopefully I’ll submit my application this week! Love you!

  3. Nana says:

    I say to go for it! You are only young once and you don’t want to look back with regret at the things you should/could have done but didn’t. Go with your heart. As you said, you anticipate spending most of your life in the US, so there’s no reason to rush back now. I also think Madrid is a good plan. You love it, the travel from there is easier/cheaper (and you do SO love to travel!) and there is more to do and see there.

    I know your family will miss you but you have been so lucky to have had folks visit you in Spain and to be able to return home for Christmas and, maybe, for the coming summer(?). Like I said – Go for it!

    Much love,
    Nana

  4. Shannon says:

    I know this is an old post, but I absolutely love it. Although I am only about to start my first year as an auxiliar and not renewing like you were, but this post makes me even more excited to leave next month. I especially love your quote, “I miss the people back home, of course, as well as certain aspects of American life, but I plan to spend most of my life in the U.S., so why rush back now?” Very relatable xx

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