You’ve made it through your first semester as an English teacher in Spain and have survived commutes, difficult students, mistranslations and perhaps conflicts with your co-teachers or coordinator. After all of that, and not to mention adjusting to living in a foreign country thousands of miles away from your hometown, you want to do this whole experience all over again! It might be your first or second time renewing in the same school or changing regions entirely. Maybe you’ve learned enough Spanish to muddle through the Profex manual on how to renew as an auxiliar de conversación or maybe you haven’t.
This is why you’ve landed on this page for updated and accurate information on how to make sure you can stay in Spain for at least another year!
And where are the types of places you could go exactly?
Note: If you’re renewing for another year within the Comunidad de Madrid, you will need to also renew through their portal called AuxMadrid, follow the steps there (as detailed in this PDF from the Comunidad de Madrid) and ask your school to log into it as well and request you. I never renewed for another year in Madrid because I applied to modify my student visa to a self-employed visa to start work as a translator and writer so I can’t help answer any specific questions regarding that platform.
However, I can guide you through the renewal process on Profex and share what my experiences were like from 2015-2017. You will find all the relevant links for the materials for the 2020-2021 school year with updated methods and tricks on how to apply for the current program.
(If you are renewing within the Comunidad de Madrid, this section of the Comunidad Bilingüe’s website with instructions on how to renew from the previous year.)
Important update for all applicants: The renewal application for the 2020-2021 school year ends on Friday, April 24th at 12:00am. CET+2
1. Decide where exactly you want to renew
This is one of the most important parts of your renewal application. You may foresee yourself staying at your school for a couple of years or maybe you fell in love with the first region or city you were placed in and want to find a way to stay there for as long as you can. Or you may really enjoy Spain’s diversity and want to spend a few years here, switching cities or regions each year.
I’ve met people from all walks of life and in three different cities since I did the program. I’ve been in Madrid the longest time, which is also the most sought after region to be placed in, so the people and stories I’ve heard in the last 4 years have all been related to the big city. Each person’s story is different most stories aren’t linear but through this program, you have the power to make your experience great or make the best of a bad situation. (Especially if you get placed at a disaster or less than ideal type of a school.)
Your first option would be to stay at the same school (center), whether that’s a primary, secondary, trade school or Escuela de Idiomas (EOI). However, if your placement is in a town but you live in a nearby bigger city, you could switch it up and try pueblo life or vice versa. Or if you live in a city with a significantly lower cost of living (e.g: regions like Aragón, Andalucía, Castilla la Mancha, Extremadura or Galicia primarily), you could choose to live by yourself. Your second year will be different from your first year even if you stay at the same school so don’t fret over remaining at your school if that’s what you really want to do.
The second option is to renew to stay in the same Comunidad Autónoma (Autonomous Community) but be placed in a different city (and province). I personally had the unfortunate luck of being placed at two primary schools in Galicia who wanted to have a new auxiliar each year in order to expose the students to different accents, cultures and a new person. On one hand, I understand why they want to spin the auxiliar roulette wheel and see what they get (an English or Irish auxiliar or a really chill West Coast auxiliar, etc) but on the other hand, why not allow someone to stay for two consecutive and avoid having to train a new person? This is one of those, “Ugh, Spain.” moments. In my case, my second year, I ended up renewing in the same province but was given a placement in Santiago de Compostela city center (just a few minutes walk from the famed Cathedral). That placement later played a much greater role in my life but you can read a different post to learn more about that.
And lastly, the third and final option you have is to request a placement in a completely different region (Comunidad Autónoma). A famed former auxiliar turned ex-pat in New Zealand went from Andalucía to La Rioja. A fellow Galicia lover also went from Andalucía to Galicia. And yours truly went from Galicia to Madrid and has been here ever since. As a first-year renewal, you will have priority over every other renewal applicant so if you didn’t get your region of choice the first time around, you can secure it for your second year!
(Note: the first blogger mentioned in the above paragraph, Liz Carlson, hasn’t updated her posts related to the Auxiliar program in years so while you can get a general idea of what different regions are like, you won’t find recent figures on the cost of living or any new improvements or changes that have been made to each region.)
If you spend more years in the program, you’ll get less preference from the Ministry program so if you’ve been an auxiliar for a few years, apply as early as you possibly can in order to get a low application number (inscrita). And one final note, the Ministerio de Educación just released a formal graph in this year’s renewal instructions about the Number of Renewals (Número de renovaciones). Please refer to the photo below and confirm if your preferred region has limitations on how many times you can renew.
**Important note: Auxiliars who are placed in Murcia get paid in 3-month chunks and recently a lot of auxiliars in Valencia went without pay for 3-4 months. In January 2020, they went on strike to get the government’s attention. Exercise extreme caution and build up your savings a ton if you want to move to either of these regions.**
2. Apply through Profex (if applicable)
If you remember from last year, the Spanish government uses this very rudimentary online interface for educational programs run both in and out of Spain. It’s infamously known for crashing on the first day the application re-opens but…this past year (2020), I heard that surprisingly it didn’t crash! It has every other year I’ve known about the program but maybe things are looking up? (Don’t get your hopes up about them changing websites or doing a massive upgrade to Profex itself, though.)
So, first things first: navigate over to the Profex website (preferably using Firefox or Internet Explorer). You’ll be directed to the page in the screenshot below:
Sign in to your account
Next, after clicking on the Auxiliar de conversación link, you’ll be directed to the next page that prompts you to input your username and password from last year. This is usually your passport number and your chosen password. (If by any chance you forgot your password, you can request to change it underneath the log-in boxes that says Incidencias de acceso.)
Since all the information you inputted last year in your Curriculum section is saved and carries over to the next year, there will be no need to make any changes unless some of your contact information (like email address) or passport number have changed.
Search for the correct Auxiliar de Conversación Program you wish to apply to
Once you sign in you will see your name and contact info at the top right corner (hidden for privacy purposes) on the main page that will look something like this:
In the search box in the middle of the page, type “Auxiliares de conversacón” and all of the most recent school years the program has been offered will be on the list. The current year is titled 2020 Auxiliares de conversacón extranjeros en España / Language Assistant.
Choose the correct application type
On the left-hand side you will see a list of drop-down tabs. You will want to click on Auxiliares de Conversación and as you can see in the above photo, other tabs will appear beneath it. Your next step will be to click on presentación solicitudes in order to load the following page on your computer.
Once you click on renovación solicitud, your application with your saved Curriculum info will open up and you will be a different series of questions compared to the questions you answered when you first applied. DO NOT click on nueva solicitud because it will basically rewrite you as a new applicant and since you only get one chance to apply for renewal on Profex, you don’t want to mess anything up. But, you can always email your regional coordinator (or the main office in Madrid) if you do make a mistake that can’t be fixed after submitting the application.
Answer 3 sets of questions
The first screen you will see is going to be the requirements in order to renew. It will be in a list format with boxes you will have to check and a button to click in order to upload the corresponding document.
I. Haber ocupado una plaza de auxiliar de conversación en España durante el curso 2019-2020.
Translation: Have had a placement as an auxiliar de conversación during the current school year (2019-2020, in this case.)
Since you are a renewal, you will naturally check this box because you meet the requirement.
II. Tener la nacionalidad alemana, australiana, austriaca, belga (inglés), canadiense, estadounidense, finlandesa, francesa, holandesa, irlandesa, luxemberguesa, neozelandesa o portuguesa.
*Adjuntar en este apartado una copia escaneada de la página del pasaporte donde aparecen los datos personales y la fotografía.
Translation: Have German, Australian, Austrian, Belgian (English language), Canadian, U.S., Finnish, French, Dutch, Irish, Luxembourgish, New Zealand or Portuguese nationality.
*Attach a scanned copy of the first two pages of your passport showing your photo and personal info.
If you have citizenship in one of those countries (most likely American or Canadian if you’re reading this), you can still participate in the program for next year. I would advise you to check your eligibility for more years in the program if you are of another nationality.
III. Presentar carta de motivación de no más de 300 palabras.
*Adjuntar aquí el documento en el que detalle sus motivos para solicitar la renovación en este programa.
Translation: Submit a letter of motivation/intent no more than 300 words.
*Attach the document detailing your motives for applying to renew in this program as a file.
IV. Presentar informe del centro de trabajo.
*Adjuntar aquí una copia escaneada del informe de su centro de trabajo firmado por el director o el coordinador del programa bilingüe.
Translation: Submit the school’s (or language school’s) evaluation of your position called an informe del centro.
*Attach a scanned copy of the evaluation that needs to be signed by the director or bilingual coordinator. (Some schools are adamant that only the director signs these so make sure you double-check who will need to sign your own form.)
Make sure the review is favorable and you get a stamp on it as well. (It’s also a lot more comprehensive compared to years past so make sure you are upholding all of your auxiliar duties and at least pretending to like your job!)
The next screen you are going to see is similar to the list of regional choices you saw when you applied. It’s the same exact list just added into the renewal application. If you are renewing in the same school and region, select it as your first choice and so on. If you are changing regions, select your new region of choice and two more that you would not mind going to in the event your first choice is not available.
Important note: It’s perfectly fine if you don’t upload all of your documents on this page as you fill out the application to renew for the first time. When you have everything properly filled out and signed, you can go back and upload them in the section titled, Documentos anexos, after you click on the Curriculum side tab.
Lastly, in the final set of questions, you will be asked to answer which language you will teach, about the placement itself and whether or not you will stay in the same region or not.
The last set will consist of answering 8 questions about the language you will teach, the placement itself and whether or not you will renew in the same region or school itself.
Here’s the list:
I. What language do you wish to teach? (English, French, Chinese, German or Portuguese)
II. Is this your first time renewing? (If this next year will be your second year, click yes. Are you a third year? Select segunda renovación and so on.)
III. Have you previously renewed in the program? If so, how many times? (Again, if it’s your first year, select once as this will be your first renewal. It’s not a big deal if you get this one wrong.)
IV. Do you want to stay at the same school/center?
V. Do you want to stay in the same Comunidad Autónoma but not necessarily the same school? (If renewing at the same school, select no.)
VI. Asks you to write out the current name of your school or language center (EOI).
VII. Do you want to stay in the same Comunidad Autónoma?
VIII. Isn’t actually a question but rather a text box where you can write additional notes and preferences such as age and city or anything else you’d want the Ministerio to know.
I’m not sure why but when I renewed for the first time back in 2015, I waited about a month and a week to submit my renewal application! I learned that first-year renewals got priority so I figured that I would be safe to wait a bit. I did also check in with myself and make sure I wanted to stay in the same region even though most of my friends weren’t going to stay. I recommend doing an evaluation of your own situation and asking yourself if you want to stay or go somewhere else.
Last step: when you get to the final page, click on the Inscribir solicitud button. If there isn’t any missing info or unchecked boxes, you will see the phrase El proceso terminó correctamente. At the very end of the screen, you will see the option to Volver a la página anterior (return to the previous/home page) which will take you to a page where you can download the automatically generated PDF version of your application. Download and print this because you will have to send it off to the corresponding education office for your region.
3. Mail in your PDF application, checklist and upload documents
This step is pretty straight forward but time-sensitive.
If you’re renewing in the same Comunidad, sign each page of your PDF print-out and send it to your regional education office. For example, if you’re renewing in the Comunidad de Galicia, you will send your letter off to the Consellería de Cultura, Educación e Ordenación Universitaria located in Santiago de Compostela.
If you chose to switch regions, you will have to mail your PDF print-out to the Ministry of Education whose office is located in Madrid. It’s sometimes hard to find this exact address so I’ll put it below in order for you to have easy access to it.
Ministerio de Educación y Formación Profesional
Subdirección General de Cooperación Internacional y Promoción Exterior Educativa
Programa de Auxiliares de Conversación Extranjeros en España
Paseo del Prado, 28, 3ª planta
For questions, you can email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Receive and accept your placement
From years past and if memory serves correctly, once you send in your PDF application and it’s stacked with the rest of the hopeful renewal applicants, you will hear back about placements.
Just like your first year, you will be notified when your application goes from inscrita to registrada/admitida.
Someone from the office where you sent your form to looks over your application, checks to make sure the Profex one is correct to and then goes into the back office (or what I assume) and changes your status. In a smaller region like Galicia, this will most likely happen in February or March. In Madrid, it should happen in March or April.
And then that lovely day when you receive an email with the subject line: adjudicación de plaza, which is your regional placement assignment! You’ll have about 3 days to accept and then you will receive your assignment letter (carta de nombramiento) not too long after that.
Note: The year I switched to Madrid, I received my regional placement around mid-May and didn’t get my carta de nombramiento until mid-July. If you are switching to Madrid or are renewing in the region, you’re going to have to sit tight and wait a bit longer during these steps.
5. Renew your student visa
Renewing for another year in the program is quite easy when you compare it to renewing your student stay card (see above), isn’t it?
Last year you had to go to your nearest Consulate to apply for the Spanish student visa which is a real pain and requires you to gather lots of documents, pay a large fee and travel to the Consulate. When you renew your student TIE (tarjeta de identidad del extranjero) for another year in the program, you will have the option to do it from your local city’s Extranjería’s office. I highly recommend this option over getting another student visa pasted into your passport (which is actually a waste of your time*). It costs a total ~50 EUR and you will be able to extend your stay and time “on the clock” in Spain so to speak.
You will be able to begin the renewal process starting 60 consecutive days before your TIE card expires or up to 90 consecutive days afterward. If you are planning on being out of the country for more than 90 days (due to the large gap between the finish date and new start date of the program), I would suggest you plan to give yourself enough time to apply for another student visa from your nearest Consulate.
If you do plan to stay or be outside of Spain for just under 90 days, renew your student visa here as soon as you start gathering paperwork and can turn in your completed application the minute you receive your carta de nombramiento. If you travel outside of Spain while your card is expired, you will need a permission form called an autorización de regreso. (More on how to apply for that soon.)
If you are switching regions and wish to renew your TIE in Spain before you leave or during your free time in the summer, remember that you will have to travel to the Extranjería office in your new region to do so.
*Special note: The reason why I say getting a new student visa each year is a waste of your time is quite important. A lawyer explained to me that the student visas we get affixed inside our passports are merely permission forms to enter the country. The student TIE and renewing it in Spain are what count towards being eligible for other visas such as the freelance visa. But, if you get new student visas from the Consulate each year, you are essentially restarting the clock on your time in Spain and won’t be able to switch to a different visa (and have actual residency) should the opportunity present itself.
6. Contact and visit your (new) school
If you will be switching to a new school and therefore will automatically be subjected to the torture that is learning everyone’s names…congrats! This step will be more helpful for you.
However, if you will be returning to the same school, my advice to you would be to update your school coordinators or director on any changes or delays you might experience over the summer. It is possible to run into flight delays, scheduling errors and of course, our old but familiar friend, jet lag.
Anyway, my advice to you when going to a new school and needing to introduce yourself would be to put a ton of effort into your first meeting with the director, coordinator(s) and fellow teachers. I’ve always arrived at each of my city placements about 2-4 days before the first day of school. The exception was Madrid when I arrived about 2 weeks before the first day so that I could get settled into my new apartment (that later turned into a nightmare experience) and get familiar with the city.
First impressions and your level of professionalism with the new school staff are crucial so plan to go above and beyond with this first meeting.
Initiate contact towards the beginning to middle of September. Schools will most likely be in session starting September 8th or a little bit later, with shorter school days for the students. If you’re able to, set up a time and day to visit the school and meet the staff a few days before school starts (anywhere between September 25th-30th) so that your face and impression are fresh in their minds.
After you initiate contact, the coordinator or director will most likely give you the email address of the previous auxiliar who can give you a break down of what the school year was like and how the English language classes are run. Each school is different but almost all of them should be ready to welcome you with open arms and will be excited to have you with them!
Have you renewed as a second or third year (or more) auxiliar de conversación before? What tips or recommendations would you give potential hopefuls reading this article? Add your comments and stories below!