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?
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.
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!