You might be wondering if it is still a good idea to teach English in Spain. That’s understandable.
There may be a little feeling of uncertainty since the recent Catalan Referendum for Independence held last October 1, 2017, which the central government in Madrid has denounced. Since then, the Spanish and Catalan governments are gripped in a deadlock and a pending coup d'état.
Now, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy plans to invoke Article 155, which allows his government to seize control of Catalonia’s regional government and its other agencies. On the other hand, Catalonia’s President Carles Puigdemont has issued several statements stating that they want to dialogue with Spain. However, he has shown no sign of backing out of his campaign for independence.
So there is a question begging to be answered within the TEFL community. With a looming “Catalexit” from Spain and from the European Union temporarily, will Madrid, and Spain in general, still be a top or even just a safe TEFL destination?
Let’s take a look at some possible scenarios and opportunities in three major areas brought about by this crisis with supporting data from www.Politico.Eu and its various sources.
Safety and Security
If Catalonia pushes forward with its declaration of Independence, Spain would do everything in its power to prevent or rectify that. Does that mean it will plunge the country into a state of civil war? Highly unlikely. Catalans have claimed and had indeed demonstrated that they are pacifists who are willing to choose dialogue over brute force. So they may limit their retaliation to mass demonstrations and strikes.
Moreover, all eyes are on Spain and Catalonia now. Nobel Prize laureates, The Elders, international leaders, communities, and organizations, both in Europe and elsewhere, are already trying their best to help pacify the situation. A civil war may be a remote possibility since it is perilous to everyone.Hence, expect more and more countries and private entities, vested interests, to help diffuse the situation.
If, however, there will be some form of force and resistance, like the ones that transpired during the October 1 referendum, these may likely be isolated cases and localized around Catalonia. And even if there is indeed a threat, most foreign investors and companies might be interested relocating within Spain from Catalonia. This may open up opportunities to promote the English language in other safer, more stable and secure parts of Spain.
Economics and Politics
The Financial Times reported that Catalonia’s economic strength has fueled its push for independence. Catalonia is only 6.3 percent of Spain’s total land territory and only 16 percent of its population. However, as one of Spain’s richest regions, Catalonia contributes one-fifth of Spain’s GDP and one-fourth of its exports.
Yet, Spain provides much of Catalonia’s raw materials and comprises one-third of Catalonia’s exports market. Thus, if Catalonia will become independent and be out of the EU, expect Spain to experience adjustments in the economy over the short-term. However, in the long run, it is highly probable that Catalonia can be accepted in the EU if it wishes to be part of it. A few have already expressed their support for the Catalan Republic even if majority support’s Spain’s laws.
However, foreign investments interested in EU’s unified market might prefer investing in Spain, a boon to its economy. So, with this outlook, most likely there may be a good demand for the English language within Spain as English is considered the primary language of international business. And if Catalonia remains in the EU, then most likely the status quo can be maintained.
Tourism & Migration
Catalonia accounts for almost one-fifth of Spain’s tourist visitors, for Spain’s immigration arrivals, and foreign residents. With the temporary “Catalexit”, there is a possibility that these groups would prefer to go to Spain if they wish to visit or stay in an EU member state. Thus, this is another great opportunity to promote the English language within the country for locals, immigrants, and tourists alike.
A number of Spanish companies in Catalonia may want to return to Spain if Catalonia becomes independent. Large banks like CaixaBank and Banco de Sabadell, as well as other firms, have already relocated their headquarters into Spain. So, there may be an influx of other private individuals and institutions returning to Spain, and with it may come opportunities to promote the English language.
So is Spain still be a top TEFL destination? We believe it still is one of the best TEFL destinations now more than ever. Despite some temporary political woes. Whether “Catalexit” happens or not, there are opportunities either way. We’ll just have to prepare ourselves to embrace them. And just like “Brexit”, it may not happen soon or may not happen at all. Only time will tell.
In the meantime, if ever you are interested in taking a TEFL course or hunting for a TEFL job but still have some doubts about the current political situation, feel free to contact us for more detailed updates. We’ll be glad to help!