Barcelona, the second largest city in Spain and capital of the autonomous Catalonian region, is widely known as one of the most beautiful and culturally enriching cities in the world. With days spent lounging on the white sand beaches, evenings strolling Las Ramblas, and nights dancing like there’s no tomorrow at one of the many discotecas, individuals who choose to teach abroad in Barcelona are guaranteed to have a fun, relaxing, and rewarding experience living in this vibrant Mediterranean city.
Teaching Jobs in Barcelona
Most teaching jobs in Barcelona are focused on teaching English as a Second Language. Spain’s educated population has a significantly lower English proficiency level than most Western European nations, so English teachers are increasingly in demand, since English is becoming more and more important for conducting business internationally. Though some opportunities to teach English in Barcelona are open to anyone, aspiring teachers will find that most schools and academic institutions expect teachers to have a TEFL, TESOL, or other teaching credential or experience.
There are many opportunities to teach in Barcelona at international language academies, as well as teaching placements in local education-related organizations. Other English teaching jobs in Barcelona include positions at private language schools or Spanish companies, who often look for English teachers to boost business English proficiency of employees. Private tutoring is also an option for individuals who want to teach in Barcelona, however it does not offer a very stable salary or predictable schedule.
It is important to note that as opposed to most other regions in Spain, the language of public education in Barcelona is Catalan, a slightly different form of the Spanish language. The use of Catalan often hampers individuals from teaching in Barcelona, as it often creates a more difficult language barrier when teaching subjects other than English, even when teachers are fluent in Spanish. However, most English teaching jobs in Barcelona do not require teachers to speak Catalan, so regardless of your bilingual skill set you should be fine teaching English in Barcelona. Most locals do speak both Spanish and Catalan fluently, but knowing a bit of both will help you greatly in affairs outside the classroom.
Life in Barcelona
The pace of life is quite laid back in Barcelona. Siestas are common in the late afternoon, dinner is not typically eaten until 10:00 p.m., and nights out on the town have a tendency to become early mornings out on the town. The cultural adjustment can be difficult at first, for teachers who are accustomed to a more time-oriented, efficient city life, but most individuals who teach in Barcelona find slowing down to be a refreshing change of pace. Teaching in Barcelona will likely mean teachers are working most of the weekdays and have weekends free to relax and enjoy the lolling Mediterranean lifestyle.
There are plenty of culturally immersive opportunities to engage in while teaching abroad in Barcelona and ways to fill your time spent outside of the classroom. Checking out the many innovative museums, architectural masterpieces (most notably those of Gaudi), shopping areas, sporting events, and music and dance performances are all ways to spend quality time during any teaching job in Barcelona. And when you’re tired of exploring, join the locals by relaxing and hanging out with friends at a beach or local café.
Most Barcelonians get around the city using the comprehensive public transportation system of metros and bus lines. You can get to most places via public transport, once you have mastered navigating the system, but metered taxis are also commonly available if you choose. Barcelona also has a newly introduced system of bicycle sharing, where upon joining you can grab a bicycle from any station spread throughout the city and leave it dropped off at any other station. This is certainly a cool way to get around the city, but Barcelona can be quite hilly in parts, so expect to get a good workout in.
Salaries & Costs
Pay for teaching jobs in Barcelona is typically not stellar, with average earnings around $1,000 to $3,000 a month, which combined with the fairly high cost of living leads to a low amount of saving. Obviously pay for teaching in Barcelona will vary depending on your position and institution, with private schools or organizations typically paying more than language academies or other public institutions. Most individuals who teach in Barcelona will be paid by the hour instead of on a monthly salary too.
Despite rather high living costs, Spain is actually one of the cheaper countries for teaching abroad in Europe when it comes to daily spending. However, since Barcelona is such a popular tourist destination prices can be disproportionately high within the city. Luckily, teachers can easily learn how to shop locally and stay away from tourist areas to save on spending. It is also common for foreign teachers to supplement regular teaching jobs with private tutoring lessons, to increase their monthly earnings.
The bottom line – you will certainly earn enough to get by comfortably while teaching abroad in Barcelona, but do not expect to save up a considerable amount of money.
Accommodations & Visas
Most likely you will want to find an apartment while teaching abroad in Barcelona. Living with roommates will be cheapest, and it is easy enough to find local listings online living with either local Barcelonians or other expats. Single studio apartments are considerably more expensive, but if you choose this route then search in neighborhoods away from the central downtown areas for more affordable options. Some teaching programs in Barcelona will organize group living in a flat for foreign teachers, so take this into account when looking for teaching jobs.
If you are planning to living and teaching in Barcelona for more than 90 days then you will need sponsorship for a work visa to legally stay in Spain. Therefore, your employer or program provider will have to help you to obtain a visa, so they should be informed about your need for a visa early on. Teachers can also consult GoAbroad’s Spanish Embassy Directory to locate the nearest consulate in their home country and begin inquiring about the visa process.
Benefits & Challenges
Teaching abroad in the shining cultural gemstone that is Barcelona will be a professionally and personally rewarding experience. The Spaniards live a very laid back and easy going lifestyle, and nowhere can this be enjoyed more fully than in the Catalonian capital of the Mediterranean. Barcelona is a truly beautiful and enriching city, and foreign teachers will be able to explore every part of the city while making a positive impact on the community through education. The adventurous beginnings of a successful international teaching career lie within grasp – so reach out and take the journey to Barcelona.