I studied French and Spanish at university in England and had loved learning languages, so I knew that I wanted my career to involve them. Despite this, I had never really thought about teaching. But after 2 years working in marketing, I felt that I wanted a change. I’d read that the CELTA was a highly-valued English-teaching qualification, and upon asking my friends about it, received hugely positive feedback. So, I decided to leave my London job and embark upon a full-time 4-week CELTA course. I LOVED it! It was certainly not easy, with one essay to submit per week and teaching on my second day (!), but I instantly knew that this was what I was meant to be doing. I emerged, certificate in hand, ready to find my first teaching job!

I’d been given lots of advice on where to start my job search, and initially I was open to travelling far and wide for my first position, but I knew deep down that I would love to work in Spain. I’d lived in Barcelona and Seville before, and had fallen in love with the culture, the people, the weather, the food…! The fact that I spoke the language could only be a good thing. So, when I discovered Spainwise, I knew I was onto a winner – all the EFL teaching jobs in Spain on one website! Spainwise also has a Facebook Page, so I followed this – and, it turns out, this is where I saw the advert that would send me on my adventure! I applied immediately, and a few Skype interviews later, I was offered the job! 12 days after accepting, I jumped on a plane for Andalucía.

Teaching in Spain really is an amazing experience – I taught young learners (aged 5-12) at Academia Discover in Lucena, a town in the heart of Andalucía, for 4 hours a day and also gained experience preparing adults for the Cambridge PET and Advanced exams. I planned in the mornings, and still had time to continue learning flamenco, a hobby I’d picked up after returning from Seville hopelessly enamoured with the dance. Being able to stop for a coffee and a tapa in a sunny square before classes was another perk! The school was well-equipped, with course books and projectors in each classroom, and I shadowed a teacher for a week before I took my own classes, so the transition was smooth. We also had weekly team meetings, where Assieh, the school director, would present teaching ideas. We were also encouraged to design and present our own workshops for the team, which was really enjoyable and an invaluable skill to develop. As far as my first teaching job went, there really could not have been a better way to grow as a teacher.

Moving to another country can be daunting, but within Europe the process is usually straightforward, and having lived in Spain before, I was just plain excited! Assieh and her husband Miguel-Angel were incredibly welcoming and answered every question, from which bus to take from Málaga airport to how to set up my NIE. As well as this, they were both inspiring teachers, who taught at the school themselves and were only too happy to impart their wisdom from years of experience. Before I arrived in the country, they had even arranged a lovely flat for me a stone’s throw from the school.

Living in Andalucía is fantastic – the weather is mild, the cost of living is generally inexpensive, and you are often offered a free tapa with your drink – what more could you ask for?! I was really determined to make the most of my time in Andalucía – I travelled to the annual Ferias in Seville and Cordoba, went skiing in Granada, sunbathed in Málaga…what a lifestyle!

Towards the end of the school year, I also attended the Spainwise Jobs Fair in Córdoba. The fair was a fantastic opportunity to meet teachers from all over Spain, to get a feel for the range of schools and work available, and I even attended workshops and seminars on teaching methods and life in Spain. I made lots of useful contacts and was even offered future work! I would definitely recommend the Spainwise fair as a great way to meet potential employers and find teaching roles in Spain. Although I have decided to teach in England this year, I owe all of my amazing experiences and memories of teaching in Spain to Spainwise – it has truly been invaluable experience for my teaching career. Proof that one website can take you a long way!

Find out about the Spainwise TEFL Job Fairs here.