The School Teaching Assistant Spain program is a great way to explore the teaching profession while gaining insight into Spanish culture. You’ll live with a welcoming host family in the Maresme region (just north of Barcelona) and volunteer at a local school for 15 to 20 hours per week. A welcoming host family provides accommodation and all your meals in exchange for three-to-five hours of English tutoring per week. No Spanish or Catalan language skills are required!
Fall 2017 Program dates
|Start Date||Apply By|
|End of September||Friday, August 18|
|Early October||Friday, August 25|
Spring 2018 Program
|Start Date||Apply By|
|Mid-January||Friday, November 17|
|Early March||Monday, January 8|
|Early April||Friday, February 2|
NOTE: specific start-date will be decided with school and host family. Program duration depends on arrival date and participant availability.
With no obligation to move forward, you can get the ball rolling by signing up today. We’ll reach out to help you plan your adventure when you're ready!
Placements range from pre-schools to high schools to language centers, and you may assist one or more local English teachers across multiple grade levels. As an assistant, you’ll organize activities on your own and take the lead at times, focusing on conversational English. Specific teaching experience is not required, but participants must be mature, professional, punctual, and organized. InterExchange will provide sample lesson plans and teaching tips to help you feel confident in the classroom.
School placements are typically confirmed at least one month prior to the program start date. Once confirmed, we will provide all of the next steps on when to book your flight, where to purchase travel health insurance, and how to prepare to be a teaching assistant and live abroad.
Host Family Placement
You’ll stay with a pre-screened host family in the Maresme region (within one hour of Barcelona), who are enthusiastic about the concept of cultural exchange. Families live in close proximity to the school, but in some cases you may need to take public transportation back and forth.
In exchange for a private bedroom and all your meals, families generally expect participants to provide limited English tutoring for the duration of your stay (about three to five hours per week). This can be informal, but it’s nice to prepare a few lessons in advance.
Host family placements may not be issued at the same time as school placements, but will be confirmed before the program begins. We will notify you as soon as a placement has been found so you can connect with the family over email and/or video chat to make sure that you are both happy with the match.
Participants generally arrive the Saturday or Sunday before their program start-date. Your host family will pick you up from the airport or train station. They'll bring you to their home and will help to get you oriented to your new environment. You'll also work with your family to set up a tutoring schedule and will discuss how to get around the neighborhood, where to go, and what to see!
InterExchange provides pre-departure support and guidance and will connect you with other participants in Spain via our Facebook group.
You’ll also have in-country support from our international partner in Spain. They screen all the host families and schools and provide 24-7 emergency assistance, should you need it.
In addition to the long list of attractions and activities in nearby Barcelona, there are several great places you can easily explore in a day-trip, such as Girona (explore the medieval architecture and vibrant nightlife), Figueres (the birthplace of Salvador Dalí), and Sitges (a coastal town known for its Mediterranean beaches).
While this is a serious volunteer commitment and your school expects you to show-up when scheduled, you’re welcome to explore on your weekends and on days when your school is closed for holidays. Spain has an extensive network of trains and bus lines that make exploring convenient.
Costs to Consider
Please be prepared to cover airfare to and from the U.S.
You must have insurance that covers repatriation and emergency medical evacuation.
- Personal Spending Money
For independent travel/trips, any optional extra classes, social time with friends, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a visa?
U.S. citizens do not need visas to enter the Schengen area and are permitted to stay for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. You will simply enter the Schengen area (which includes Spain) with your valid U.S. passport. For more information on the Schengen area, please visit the U.S. Department of State's website.
Do I need to know Spanish or Catalan?
No. You will not need to know Spanish or Catalan, nor will you be required to take language classes abroad (although you are welcome to if you want, of course!). Usually, at least one member of your host family will speak some English.
Do I need a TEFL Certificate?
No, a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate is not required for this program, but getting certified is helpful, especially if you don't have any classroom teaching experience. International TEFL Academy offers an internationally recognized online TEFL course. Mention InterExchange to get $50 off tuition!
Can I be placed with a friend or partner?
We can sometimes place friends relatively close to one another, but not with the same host family.
Can I earn money while on the program?
This is a voluntary position and it's not possible to work on the side.
If I'm not accepted into the program will I receive a refund?
Yes, if you are not accepted or in the unlikely event that we are unable to place you, we will refund your $250 deposit. We will keep you posted throughout the placement process.
Why do I have to pay for a volunteer teaching program?
The fee covers the cost of placing you in the program, as well as pre-departure and in-country support. As a non-profit, mission-driven organization, InterExchange reinvests fees into programs and our Foundation to promote cross-cultural awareness.
What our participants are saying
It was such a rewarding experience for me as a teacher and traveler! My host family was extremely accommodating and helpful. We went on a few family excursions together such as hiking and berry picking… I guess I made up for not ever studying abroad in college! It was sad to leave the large group of friends I made while in Spain, but we are and will continue to keep in touch. Who knows? I loved Spain so much I might move there! Jen
In short, going to Spain changed my life. I know it's a cliché to say that, but in my case, it's true. Being immersed in another culture excited a quality in me I never knew existed. I want to major in anthropology because Spain helped me cultivate my love of other cultures and peoples. I've maintained a beautiful correspondence with my host family – never have I met a more loving and open group of people and I'm aching to go back to visit them. Sara