Americans in post-2000 Europe find themselves hard-pressed to find legal work. Moreover, Europe has no worker program for young Americans, like it does for Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians. Americans, therefore, have few options when it comes to working on the continent.
Fortunately Spain, of all nations, has a teach-abroad program targeted mostly at Americans, but also for any other Anglophone nations. There are some other possibilities, especially the Fullbright program, but the requirements are often higher, the time frame is longer and the planning is more extensive.
Spain’s program is called Auxiliares de conversacion. Technically speaking, it’s an academic grant, but it’s pretty clearly teaching work. You are a teacher’s aide in Spanish classrooms, mostly primary, and work about 15 hours a week for a monthly stipend. The stipend is 700 Euros outside of Madrid and 1000 in Madrid. (They don’t tell you this at the outset, mainly to dissuade too many people from choosing Madrid. In case you’re wondering, 1000 is enough to survive, and with a little knowhow you can easily take in 500 more a month through private classes.)
The program’s duration is 9 months, from October to the end of June. You are permitted to renew one year and one year only. You have government covered health insurance and the position is secure. The application deadline is usually in February or March, so you should begin planning around Christmastime the preceding year, because you will need a letter or recommendation, health certificate and a Spanish motivational letter.
Personal, I recommend Madrid. It’s the seat of Castilian Spanish, so you needn’t worry about one of Spain’s many dialects and languages, and it’s right in the center of the country, making it easy to travel throughout Spain and to catch flights abroad. You also make more money and the city is not nearly as expensive as most European capitals. You can actually go out and have fun without having to worry about it very much. Also, if you’re looking for another job for the coming year, it’s a good way to start out, make contacts and find work at an ESL institute.
Any questions about this position or how to apply, post them in the comments.