Where to teach English as a foreign language in Spain: Part 1

Spain is one of the most popular destinations to teach English as a foreign language; the weather is fine, you can live reasonably comfortable (but never rich) on the wages, and English is vital for Spaniards. With so many places to chose from I thought I’d do this two part blog on the best places to teach English in Spain. This week’s blog is based in Andalucía.

Seville at Night

Seville is the capital of Andalucía. It’s a flat city with a population of about 1 million so it’s got a lively feel. The city is centred round the 4th largest Cathedral in the world and the River Guadalquivir. It’s funny but I used to hate Seville. Some things still get on my goat, but in general I’m happy here. (Photo by lilivanili)

Teaching English in Seville
Despite the current recession, jobs exist in Seville. There are three main language schools and about ten or so smaller ones spread around the city. Classes are mainly for kids and teenagers, although at the moment demand for adult English is high. You can get a mixed bunch of students depending on the area. Where I am the students are generally fine, quite motivated and not too problematic, but in other areas they can get quite boisterous. I’ve been here seven years so I love teaching Sevillanos, they can get rowdy and overly proud of their city but in general they’re a good laugh and keen to learn.
Things to do
I’ll be honest, after about two days I’d seen almost everything in Seville. As I said before, the city is built around the cathedral (free entry on Sunday, if not then €8) and the River Guadalquivir (free to walk along 24 hours; I spend a lot of time there). I went up the amazing Tower of Gold once, which is worth it for the view, but the museum is a bit pants. The Alcazar or Royal Palace (free for residents or €8), is impressive to see the mosaic walls, but the best bit is playing hide and seek in the garden maze.

There are tons of bars and places to grab tapas. A new attraction, which isn’t very popular with the locals, is the giant Setas – Mushrooms. For €1.30 (free for residents) you can go up the top and see a decent view of Seville; it’s best at night to see all the churches and Cathedral lit up. Seville is a great place to live and learn Spanish. Popular festivals are Semana Santa; a religious festival around Easter and La Feria; a mad drinking and dancing party at end of April or early May.

Useful links: SevillewikiExplore SevilleAll about Spain, Seville

View from Gibralfaro

If I had to live in another place in Andalucía then I’d probably choose Malaga. It’s the second biggest city in Andalucía with a population of almost 600,000 and is the fifth largest in Spain. Despite being on the Costa del Sol, Malaga has kept its Spanish culture and the eight months summer season makes it a great place to live. (Photo by Gotardo)

Teaching English in Malaga
There are plenty of language schools in the centre of Malaga and surrounding areas. Demand for English is high due to the booming tourism industry. There are also language schools dotted along the coast in places like Torremolinos (nasty), Fuengirola, and Marbella. Apparently the students are a bit more open minded than in Seville, but they are just as proud to be Malagueñas.

Things to do
Like most cities in Spain the Cathedral is one of the main sights. My favourite part is the Castle of Gibralfaro which you can explore while seeing great views of Malaga and the sea below. I’ve never been in the Alcazaba but it’s supposed to be pretty cool too. The centre of Malaga is buzzing with bars and nightlife is excellent; my brother-in-law lives there so most times we ‘go out for a quick beer’ we normally get back at about 6am. The best attraction about Malaga has to be the beaches. The one in the centre is not that pretty, but if you go east along the coast the sand is whiter and cleaner. The Picasso museum (just round from the Cathedral) is worth a look, as well as the English Cemetery about 20 minutes walk from the centre.

Useful Links: Malaga.usEverything you need to know about MalagaAbout Malaga


If you’re after a quieter, more bohemian place to teach English then head to Granada. I think the mountain backdrop makes the city prettier than Seville, and walking about the Albaicín’s winding medieval streets is a joy. Granada is small with a population of only about 300,000 so if you like chilled out places then it might be perfect for you.

Teaching English in Granada
There aren’t as many language schools in Granada, which means they’ll be fewer jobs (surprise surprise). However, a quick look on google gave me a list of about ten academies so there are opportunities. I’d imagine working in Granada would be a lot more laid back than other places in Spain, plus with the more cosmopolitan feel you’d get a mix of students too; could be fun. (Photo by pandahaccer)

Things to do
Granada is all about the Alhambra (book ahead). The first time we went we missed out on the Royal Complex because we didn’t pay attention to the time on the ticket. Walking about the Generalife gardens and seeing the views over the city are the best parts. There’s an excellent view of the Alhambra from the other side in Plaza San Nicolas. I’m sure you’ve guessed there’s a cathedral to see too, check out the Royal Chapel to see where the Catholic Kings are buried. Be careful outside though because the gypsies can get quite aggressive. As mentioned before just walking about the Albaicín gives you a great feel of the bohemian atmosphere. You’re also only about 30 minutes from the beach and the Sierra Nevada is great for skiing.

Useful links: Lonely Planet GranadaAlhambra ticketsGranada info

I hope that gives you more of an idea of teaching English in Andalucia. Check out my blog this Saturday (updated on 3rd of May, the second part will be live on Tuesday the 8th of May)  for a similar article on Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia.

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