Why You Should Teach English in Spain (Pt. 2)

There are countless reasons why someone would want to come to Spain to teach ESL rather than another part of the world and many of the reasons are self explanatory (check out our other post on this topic). Who wouldn’t want to live in such a beautiful and culturally rich country as Spain?

In this post we are going to look at some of the other less obvious, but still incredibly beneficial, reasons why you should come to Spain to teach English.

Four-Day Work Week

That’s right! Even though school will be in session five-days a week, you will only be required to teach and be in the classroom four out of those five days.

You won’t know till you arrive the first day of class on October 1st (the Spanish school year goes from September to June but you’ll start a month after they do), but you will either have every Monday or Friday off.

That means, you’ll have a three-day weekend every week that you can dedicate to exploring your city or town, traveling all throughout Spain, going to the beach or taking a long-weekend trip to Germany or France.

The four-day workweek is great because it is the perfect balance between working hard and building up your experience and resume as an ESL teacher, all the while taking advantage of the beautiful and unique country you’ll find yourself in.

No Prior Teaching Experience Required

Maybe you’ve never taught ESL before but are looking for an opportunity to begin building your resume and experience. If that’s you, or even if you already have extensive ESL experience inside or outside of the classroom, this is the perfect position for you.

There is no requirement of previous experience and is open to anyone under the age of 60 that is a native English speaker.

If you’re looking for your “big break” into the ESL world, or have your TEFL certificate and would like to put some miles on it, then teaching English in Spain is the perfect fit for you.

The Salary is Great

In comparison to the average Spanish salary, what you will be making as an ESL teacher is amazing! And the best part is you won’t be paying taxes on anything!

As an ESL, or auxilar, in the Spanish public school system, you will be making anywhere between 750€ to 1,000€ depending on where you live.

For example, if you live in Madrid, the largest and most expensive city in Spain, you will be making a monthly salary of 1,000€ which will cover all your living expenses and then some. Since the cost of living (see our other post on this topic) in Spain is so much cheaper than, say, the United States, you can get by with a lot less and still live a very comfortable lifestyle.

If you’re living in a smaller Spanish city or region, such as Badajoz, you will be making about 850€ a month which will be more than enough since the cost of living in less populated areas is significantly less expensive than Madrid, Barcelona or Valencia, the three most populated cities in Spain.

In short, the salary you make as an ESL teacher is plenty and the pot is sweetened even more since there will be no taxes to pay on top of it!

Every euro you make is a euro you keep.

Free Health Insurance

One of the best perks from teaching ESL in Spain is that the Spanish government will provide you with free health insurance all the while you’re there teaching.

If for some reason you ever needed to go to the doctor because of a cold, or head to the hospital for something more serious, the Spanish government would take care of it and, best of all, foot the bill.

If you have any specific questions about teaching ESL in Spain leave a comment below or send us an email at rvfspain@gmail.com and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

For those of you who have already taught ESL in Spain before, what are some other exciting benefits or perks that you experienced?



If you found this post to be helpful, take a look at our other posts as we discuss a variety of topics related to Spain. If you are interested in teaching and living in Spain for a year, send us an email at rvfspain@gmail.com letting us know so we can contact you today!

Average Monthly Cost of Living in Spain (2018)

For the most part, products, rent and services are cheaper in Spain than they are in, say, the United States (I’ll be using the U.S. as my country of comparison as it’s where I’m from but the numbers will be very similar for those of you who live in Canada or the UK!). But at the same time, the average Spanish wage is less than in the United States so in a way they almost balance out, percentage wise.

But that’s not why we’re writing this post! So let’s get into it: what is the average monthly cost of living in Spain?

Well, to answer that question, let’s define “living” as the necessary life basics such as food, rent, utilities, transportation, WiFi (it’s necessary) and basic “luxuries” such as eating out with friends, grabbing a drink, or going to the movies. All of that combined should give us a solid estimate of what the average cost of living in Spain (using numbers from 2018) for the average-Joe, like myself (Harrison from RVF Spain Consultants here).

I’ll be answering this based on my own personal experiences after having lived here for several years now, and hopefully it can be helpful to any expat out there who is interested in coming to Spain to study, teach ESL, or vacation for a bit.

The Average Cost of Rent in Spain:

I would say, easily a fourth, if not a third (depending on the city), of a Spaniard’s monthly paycheck goes towards paying rent.

The 2018 average so far for a normal apartment in a normal area is 883€ per month (not including utilities), which is quite a lot if you take into consideration that the average monthly wage for the average Spanish worker for 2018 is 1,375€ per month.

Of course, rent varies depending on where you live and the bigger the city the more expensive and less spacious your apartment will be and the vice versa if you live in a more rural area (en el campo) but based on those numbers the average Spanish worker for this year (2018) spends nearly 64% of their monthly paycheck on rent.

That is a high percentage but don’t let that scare you, future ESL teacher. Rent might be high, especially in a bigger city like Madrid or Barcelona, but relatively inexpensive apartments and shared rooms are very possible to find with persistent searching and if you’re able to find a roommate to split the rent with, even better.

Based on my own personal experience, I’ve lived in a total of three different locations in Madrid, Spain since I first moved here several years ago.

When I first arrived to Madrid, I was sharing an apartment in Guzmán El Bueno in Madrid with three other guys and our monthly rent was nearly €1000 for the apartment because it was in an upscale part of the city.

However, it wasn’t so bad since we could split it four ways and each paid roughly 250€ per month, not including utilities, for a really nice, well-furnished piso (apartment). Not bad!

After living there for a year, I moved to Lavapiés, also in Madrid, where I graciously lived for free for a few months (thanks Philip!) as I was getting everything ready to get married.

After our wedding, my wife Alejandra and I moved into a small house in Colonia Jardín, Madrid, which is about a 35 minute Metro ride from the city center, where we pay 550€ per month, utilities included.

As in almost every city in the world, and Spanish cities are no exception, the most expensive apartments area closer to the city centers and the further out you go from there, the cheaper the rent becomes.

For anyone wishing to study or teach English in Spain, this is good to know because it might be worth living half an hour, or even up to 45 minutes, outside of the touristy parts of town to save some serious money on your monthly rent and just take the bus or Metro into the city center whenever you wish to visit. My wife and I have saved thousands of Euros in rent because we live a little bit outside of the “thick of things” which we enjoy because we are closer to the countryside and away from the hustle and bustle.

The Average Cost of Food in Spain:

 This is where the differences between the cost of things in Spain and the cost of things in the United States are really noticeable. Food in Spain, and by “food” I mean all the products you buy at the grocery store or local fruit and vegetable stand, are really, really cheap. At least compared to the United States.

I should say, that your monthly food bill can still get really high if you are buying big-name products and processed foods. Those products still tend to be cheaper than in the United States, but I don’t want to give off the wrong impression that no matter what you buy and how much of it, it’ll only ever be a few dollars. Nope, definitely not true.

What I mean by cheaper is that the “general” produce and other items you might buy such as bread, milk, meat, cereal, eggs, etc. are much cheaper in comparison to the same products from the U.S.

For example, so far in 2018, the average cost for:

2lbs (1kg) of apples is: 1.75€,

A loaf of freshly baked bread (think French bread) is: €0.94,

One quart (1liter) of milk is: 0.88€,

2lbs (1kg) of tomatoes is: 1.71€,

One domestic beer such as Mahou (the Budweiser of Spain) costs: 0.88€,

And 1lbs (500g) of chicken breast costs €3.48.

Now, those are just the national averages so in some parts of Spain those same products will be less expensive and in other parts more expensive, but hopefully it can still communicate the point that food is really inexpensive!

For example, my wife and I spend 150€ each month on all of the food we could possibly want, including produce, milk, bread, snacks, etc. Each week we go to the same fruit and vegetable stand by our home to buy our fresh produce and are able to fill up our entire fridge with the freshest apples and bananas, lettuce and tomatoes, cilantro and avocados, for 12-13€ each week. And that’s in Madrid, the most expensive city in Spain!

The Average Cost of Utilities in Spain:

 In Spain, you can expect to pay roughly 165€ (2018 average, including WiFi) each month on utilities. That 165€ includes heating, electricity, water, gas and WiFi. The 2018 monthly average for WiFi, which has been a fairly stable number throughout the years, is 30€.

My wife and I are fortunate enough to pay a flat rate with everything included, but when I was still teaching ESL and living in Guzmán El Bueno in Madrid, my roommates and I paid about 55€ each month for all of our utilities (about 220€ total), including WiFI.

The Average Cost of Public Transportation in Spain:

As I’m sure you’ve already heard and possibly experienced firsthand, public transportation in Europe is fantastic and inexpensive, and Spain is no exception. It is very convenient and easy to access public transportation all throughout Spain, with the most common types of transportation being the Metro (subway), bus and train.

train 1
Renfe is a very popular and widely used train company in Spain
Renfe Bullet Train

Most cities in Spain will have some type of public transportation pass that you can pay to load with credits for a months time which will allow you to access any Metro, bus and train line within a certain zone.

Madrid Metro Symbol

Currently the 2018 monthly average for this type of pass is €49. What a great deal! That means, if you live in a city and don’t have a car, you can get around wherever you’d like to go, within that city, as many times as you’d like, for less than 50€ and without the hassle of having to find parking!

Public Spanish Bus in Granada, Spain

In my own personal experience, I pay 20€ each month for unlimited access to Madrid’s public transportation and can easily get around anywhere I’d like to go with no hassle at all. We don’t have a car because having one would be unnecessary and too much of a hassle. Isn’t that incredible!? Before moving to Spain I never would have thought I’d ever say that having a car would anything but convenient but because all of our transportation needs are met here without a car, it wouldn’t make sense to own one.

For more information on public transportation within Madrid, check out this earlier post on the Madrid public transportation pass called the Abono.

The Average Cost of ‘Fun’ in Spain:

I would say that the cost of going out with some friends to get a drink or go the movies is neither cheap nor expensive, but fairly priced in Spain.

Going out to a Spanish bar for a beer and some patas bravas with friends is going to be about 7€ for your beer and portion of the tapa.

Or going to the movies will be roughly 15€ for your movie ticket, popcorn and a drink, per person. In fact, last night I went to the movies in Madrid on a Wednesday, the cheapest day to see a movie in Spain, for only 5.60€.

If you’re wanting to go grab a coffee at a relaxing Spanish café, read a book and nibble on a chocolate napolitana, you can expect to pay between 4-6€ depending on where you go.

Or go to the supermarket and buy several sandwiches for a few euros only and take them to the nearest park for a peaceful lunch.

In my opinion, those types of things in Spain are fairly priced for the experience you get out of it and the time you spend there. My wife and I spend about 30-40€ each month on fun things like going to the movies or getting a coffee, which balances out to usually some type of activity every couple of days.

Have you or do you currently still live in Spain and have a personal experience to share? Leave a comment below!



If you found this post to be helpful, take a look at our other posts as we discuss a variety of topics related to Spain. If you are interested in teaching and living in Spain for a year, send us an email at rvfspain@gmail.com letting us know so we can contact you today!

Why You Should Teach English in Spain (Pt. 1)

It’s Spain!

Question answered. Post finished. Done for the day.

Okay, okay, there are plenty of other reasons why anyone would want to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) in another country in general but there are also many exciting and unique reasons specific to Spain.

This is a short-medium sized post on why you should not only teach ESL, but why you should specifically teach ESL in Spain.


1). It’s FREE.

That’s right. You read it correctly. Teaching English in Spain, and by teaching English I mean being placed in an actual Spanish school, in an actual classroom, with actual students, all the while getting paid, is entirely free.


How can that be?


Well there are a number of reasons but the primary one is that the Spanish government sees the long-term value in it’s citizens becoming increasingly proficient in English and several years ago created a specific program to bring in native English speakers from around the world to work as auxiliares, language assistants, in Spanish classrooms to help raise up the next generation of English speakers.


Because there is such a high demand and because it is such an important issue to the Spanish government, the program is completely free, and comes with a monthly salary, free health insurance and all the perks of living in sunny Spain.


2). You get to live in sunny Spain!

Not only is teaching ESL in Spain free and your chances of being accepted into the program very high, you get to live in an incredibly beautiful place known the world over for its pristine beaches, snow capped Sierra mountain ranges, and tranquil coastlines.


Millions of tourists around the world come to Spain each year just to visit it’s breathtaking sights and surroundings and unlike many things in life that are more beautiful in post cards then they are in real life, Spain does not fall into that category by any stretch of the imagination.


Take a look at this article from Seeking The Spanish Sun that explains the Spanish alore very well.


Every story and documentary and Facebook post you’ve ever seen about Spain quite honestly doesn’t do it justice.


I mean, just take a look at these photos!

Spain A

Spain B

Spain C

Spain D

Spain E

For more breathaking Spanish sights, take a look at another well-put article from Seeking The Spanish Sun.

3). You are able to partake in the unique Spanish culture and lifestyle.

 Spain not only is an incredibly unique country in comparison to the entire globe, but even within it’s own continent Spain really stands out.


It could very well be that Spain is somewhat unique from the rest of mainland Europe because of the Pyrenees Mountains separating France (attached to mainland Europe) from Spain or the fact that the country is part of a long peninsula that juts out from Europe (the Iberian Peninsula), but whatever the reason Spain has developed over the centuries to be a truly rich and vibrant culture and society.


Just take a look at the Spanish eating schedule.


The rest of Europe might typically, because of culture and custom, eat their lunch around 12pm or so and their dinner around 7pm at in the late afternoon.


However, in Spain both of those times would be defined as a merienda, or snack, and would opt to eat their lunch at a late 3 in the afternoon and their dinner at a famishing 10 at night.


That might seem like a minor example but in many ways it is very telling of the way Spanish culture is different from the rest of European culture, which is why living in Spain is such a continuously exciting adventure full of rich foods, fun people and enjoyable way of life.


Doing life in Spain, with the exception of big, bustling cities like Madrid and Barcelona, has a tendency to move slower than many other parts of the world.


There is more of a focus on spending time with people, not fretting over money, worrying less and enjoying more.


It’s a real “stop and smell the roses” kind of culture.


4). No matter where you go, you are walking on history.

It’s mind blowing to think how old and ancient Spain is, and even more mind crippling to think of all the major world/historical events that have taken place there over the millennia.


It’s a part of the world that’s just really, really old.


For example, 35,500 years ago ancient people created the Altamira cave paintings in Cantabria, Spain, which the name Altamira itself might not ring a bell, but the paintings themselves you’ve definitely seen:

Spain F

So old!


And the ancient structures that still exist today that can be touched and explored and experienced are just unreal. Take for example the Roman Aqueduct in Segovia, Spain, about a 45 minute car ride north of Madrid, which was built over 2,000 years ago when the city was Roman led.


It was built with zero cement or mortar and is incredibly still standing two millennia later.


How did it ever stand in the first place and not immediately topple over without being held together by cement? Roman ingenuity!


Each block was perfectly cut to fit on top of the one below and is held together by nothing more than gravity.

Spain G



It’s so old and has been around for so long that it is impressively seen in artwork from over the centuries such as this sketch by English artist Edward Hawke Locker from 1824:

Spain H

Spain is full of fascinating history that can be touched and experienced even to this day which is why you should choose Spain as your far-away destination to teach ESL if not for just the chance to see it’s ancient buildings and historical landmarks!


In other words, what are you waiting for? Come to Spain!



If you found this post to be helpful, take a look at our other posts as we discuss a variety of topics related to Spain. If you are interested in teaching and living in Spain for a year, send us an email at rvfspain@gmail.com letting us know so we can contact you today!

Simple guide to Spanish wines

Wine 1

When we think of wine, its very likely that a few specific places around the globe come to mind, one of which undoubtedly being Spain. There’s no denying that Spanish wines are world renowned for their flavor, variety, textures and uniqueness. Like taking a swim on a hot day, or shooting for a B- and getting a solid A, Spanish wines, simply put, are just the best. Here is a simple guide to understanding Spanish wines.


Often referred to as Rioja because of the region in Spain where this grape varietal originates, tempranillo wines are perhaps the most common reds found in Spain, and will most likely be the bottle you buy when friends come over because of its price and popularity. Tempranillo wines can be subdivided into four different styles: Rioja, Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva. Rioja being the cheapest, typically costing €4-5 ($5-6) for a good bottle, and having been aged for a year, up to Gran Reserva where it is aged for a total of 3 years, 2 of which are in oak barrels. A good bottle of Gran Reserva is usually in the ballpark of €28 or more ($35+).


Garnacha, also known as Grenache in France, is a popular grape varietal north of the border in France but actually originated in Spain. Garnacha can be divided into young and old with the younger grapes tasting more like sweet strawberries and the older, aged grapes more of a deep, red licorice. A bottle of young garnacha, great for making a sweet sangria, is in the ballpark of €9-14 ($12-18) and the older of the two, known as fine garnacha, ranges in price from €20 to €28 ($25-35).


Authentic Sherry, often refereed to as the whiskey of wines, only comes from one place on the planet: Andalucía in the South of Spain. Like Champagne from France, or Bourbon from Kentucky, a true, genuine Sherry can only be found in the hot and dry Spanish region of Andalucía. Known by North Americans as a sweet wine, Sherry in fact comes in two varieties, sweet and dry, and is a great companion of certain foods such as olives, cured meats, and cheese AKA all the good things Spain has to offer.


Monastrell, also known as Mourvèdre in France, is yet another popular grape varietal in France that ultimately has its origins in Spain. Found in a wide reaching area of Spain ranging from Valencia on the East coast to La Mancha towards the center of the country, Monastrell wines are popular for their chocolate and black-pepper hints, and has even been known to have hints of vanilla and mocha the longer they are aged in oak barrels. A good bottle is in the price range of €8 to €14 ($10-18).


Last, but not least of all, Mencía wines come from the Mencía grape varietal found primarily on the West coast of the Iberian Peninsula in Portugal and Galicia, Spain. Commonly blended with other grapes before bottled, Mencía wines are medium bodied with floral aromas and not too many mouth-drying tannins. A good bottle is anywhere from €16 ($20) to €24 ($30).

Extra resources on Spanish wines:





If you found this post to be helpful, take a look at our other posts as we discuss a variety of topics related to Spain. If you are interested in teaching and living in Spain for a year, send us an email at rvfspain@gmail.com letting us know so we can contact you to set up a free 20 minute consultation!

Steriotypical Spanish Breakfast in Photos

1. Cafe con Leche

Food 12

You can have it on the go at your local bar:

Food 22

Or make it at home:

Food 23

2. Meat and Cheese Plate

Food 20

Captura de pantalla 2018-03-14 a las 10.48.48
Credit: http://www.theoptimalistkitchen.com

3. Magdalena’s

Captura de pantalla 2018-03-14 a las 10.54.06
Credit: saborapan.blogspot.com.es

4. Pan Tostado con Tomate y Aceite (Toasted Bread with Tomatoe and Olive Oil)

Captura de pantalla 2018-03-14 a las 10.50.20
Credit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ra2sqQ97Hsk
Captura de pantalla 2018-03-14 a las 10.51.52
Credit: http://www.persucarhipa.com

5. Tortilla

food-1290636_1920 copia

Food 21

6. Croissant

Food 11



If you found this post to be helpful, take a look at our other posts as we discuss a variety of topics related to Spain. If you are interested in teaching and living in Spain for a year, send us an email at rvfspain@gmail.com letting us know so we can contact you to set up a free 20 minute consultation!

Teach English in Spain

Captura de pantalla 2018-02-15 a las 19.46.42
North American Language and Cultural Assistants program (Credit: http://www.ielanguages.com)


If you’re a native English speaker and are not living in Spain, soaking up the Spanish sun, travelling around Europe on the weekends and making money while teaching English, then you need to seriously consider all your life choices that have left you in such a dark and forbidding place. Teaching English and working in Spain is simple, exciting and very feasible! If you have a Bachelor’s degree of any kind and are a U.S. or Canadian citizen, then you are eligible to participate in the North American Language and Cultural Assistants (NALCA) program, allowing you to teach English in Spain!

What is the NALCA program?

The North American Language and Cultural Assistants program (also known as the English Auxiliar Program) is run by the Spanish government to bring in, you guessed it, North Americans to teach English in the Spanish school system. NALCA has been going on for quite some time, which is surprising because very few people outside of the program even know it exists. For the American college student who just graduated and still doesn’t know what to do career-wise or the Canadian TEFL teacher wanting a change of pace, the NALCA (English Auxiliar) program is the surest, easiest and most guaranteed way of living and working in Spain for non-EU citizens.

How much does the program pay?

You would be earning anywhere from €750 to €1,000 ($925 to $1,230) each month depending on the cost of living in the city you are placed. That might not sound like a lot but because of the low cost of living in Spain you would have more than enough. If used well, the money you make alone from teaching in NALCA will pay for your housing, food, everything you need and weekend trips around Spain and Europe. That’s not even taking into consideration the extra money you might make from private English tutoring on the side where a native English speaker can easily charge €15-20 per hour.

How much would I be working?

You would be working anywhere between 20 to 25 hours each week, and only four days a week. Not bad! Your free day would either be Monday or Friday, allowing for long, three-day weekend trips to travel around Spain or visit another country in Europe or Northern Africa with ease.

When is the application deadline?

The application deadline is typically from January 1st of each year to Mid-April. The program itself doesn’t begin till September/October of each year and runs to June/July of the follow year.

Can I renew the program after each year?

Yes! The program is renewable for up to three years. After initially being accepted and working for a year, you will be asked by your school if you are interested in renewing again for a 2nd year at the same school. It is only possible to renew at the same school where you worked your first, or second year, otherwise you will have to reapply for the entire program again if you would like to be placed somewhere else or in a different city, and at that point you are at the mercy of the Spanish school system in terms of where you are needed most.

Challenges of the program

The paperwork! NALCA is an incredibly rewarding and exciting opportunity but it does come with its fair share of paperwork and bureaucracy. Moving to another country to live and work is never as simple as it sounds, but it is possible, especially if you know what you’re doing. RVF Spain Consultants is the expert on all things related to moving, living and working in Spain and we offer one-on-one, personalized assistance for all those wanting to work and teach in the NALCA program in Spain. We guarantee to walk you through everything, from the VISA to applying to the program, applying for and receiving temporary Spanish residency, opening a Spanish bank account, making sure your phone works in Spain, and a plethora of other related services to save you stress and a perpetual headache.

Teaching English in the NALCA program is not only itself rewarding and worthwhile, it is a fantastic opportunity to experience an exciting culture, learn a new language and travel the world. Start your journey to teach English in Spain today!


NALCA (English Auxiliar) program requirements:

  • Bachelor’s Degree of any kind;
  • U.S. or Canadian citizenship;
  • NO prior teaching experience of any kind is required;
  • NO age limit.



If you found this post to be helpful, take a look at our other posts as we discuss a variety of topics related to Spain. If you are interested in teaching and living in Spain for a year, send us an email at rvfspain@gmail.com letting us know so we can contact you to set up a free 20 minute consultation!