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Top things to do in Spain – What TEFL Teachers can do when they’re not teaching

Looking beyond the initial stress and excitement of moving to a new country, you are fundamentally looking for a job. We all need to be productive. We all have bills to pay. So, why look for a paid job teaching English in Spain?

People don’t come to Spain looking to swap one routine for another. They came here to experience something different from their routine. Before you resign yourself to one of those living standards, remember that, regardless of what you choose when coming to Spain, you will have the opportunity to do something different. It can simply begin with looking at the right map. 

Travel around Spain

Let’s not kid ourselves here. When you get your TEFL Certificate and find a paid job teaching English in Spain, you will easily be looking for the next great country to explore. It doesn’t matter what part of the world you are coming from. When you find that teaching job in Madrid, you’ll suddenly be closer to an entire breadth of possibilities. For starters, you’re in Spain. Rich with history, activity and culture in every town, the possibilities are endless. Since all these possibilities (like many countries) have suddenly found themselves around the corner from where you are, where do you begin? Most people will definitely start with the area around Madrid. A one-hour train ride from one of the central train stations of Atocha or Chamartin, you can find yourself going to some of the most famous sites that Spain has to offer. Toledo is always a wonderful and charming day trip, a good way to introduce yourself to a surprisingly diverse part of the world. Alcala De Henares, where Miguel Cervantes was born, is another great place to walk around. Avila has a fully intact Medieval Wall, and you’ll be able to get a sense of that life going up and along the very top. Segovia’s main attraction is the aqueduct, that welcomes thousands of tourists every single day.

And that is just the beginning.

As you finish your tour of the areas surrounding Madrid, you’ll be compelled to experience every other corner of the country, and in less than no time at all. If you book your travel far enough in advance, you’ll even be able to travel cheaper. Imagine an exhausting Friday afternoon grading essays. You’re tired. You are looking forward to a weekend. A three-hour train ride from Atocha Station can bring you to Malaga, Barcelona or Valencia, and if you have to work, you’ll be able to do so between a leisurely stroll along the beach. Is culture and history what you want to experience? Sevilla, Granada, Cordoba and Cadiz are some of the most beautiful cities to view history in, take a tapa or a beer (or a few). Also, give yourself the chance to see the other side of the country in places that fewer people go to when coming to Spain. Take a surfing lesson in Gijon, or try some of the sidra in Oviedo. Perhaps you want to do a wine tour in La Rioja, or see some of the famed night life on Ibiza. TEFL Teachers have all these possibilities and more when they bring themselves to the sprawling cultural metropolis of Madrid. One of the great things about Teaching English in Spain is that the timing of national holidays allow one to take extended weekends to de-compress from the pressures of work. You’re a part of that just as much as the locals.

Travel around Europe

It’s cliché. Teachers come to Spain so that they can afford themselves the opportunity to see things, people, and places beyond their own borders. They’ve already taken one step, so now they can take others, as well. A two-hour flight from Adolfo Suarez Barajas Airport in Madrid’s outskirts can take you to countries like France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, or even Morocco. It’s one of the many small opportunities that present themselves to TEFL Teachers in Spain. You may find yourself in a routine, but what do you do with your time off? It may be a little different when you get yourself settled. After all, one could spend a lifetime exploring Europe, and never see everything. The possibilities are endless.

Get to know the Expat Community in Madrid

From the moment you take that TEFL Course in Madrid, you know that you’re not alone. There is an expat community, and if you speak to some of the TEFL Teachers who’ve been in Spain longer than you, you’ll become familiar with not only your requirements as a legal resident, you’ll be aware of some of the events happening in your community which are hosted by fellow teachers. Loneliness definitely comes with being a stranger in a strange land. Speaking to fellow teachers does take at least a little bit of that edge off, and we become mutual shoulders to put a hand on after a stressful week of TEFL students, young and old. 

Doing a quick search on Facebook, or even a private message to someone can give you that quick connection to the social network of TEFL Teachers living in Madrid. For example, because these people have been in the country as long as they have, they can give you insight into how to register as resident in the country, where to find English-speaking doctors, or accountants. If you ask a question that is specific enough, you may also be able to get precise directions to the school that you’ll be working at for the next few months. All it takes is those first few words, reaching out to people who have been exactly where you are now. 

Another great thing about getting to know the expat community in Madrid is that some TEFL Teachers are enterprising enough to have created a small business, and sell a product or service to the community of expats. Services like Yoga or boxing classes, personal training. Some even set up shops, cafes, or restaurants in the City Centre. That’s another thing that’s great about the community of TEFL Teachers in Madrid. There is a diverse array of backgrounds coming from the teaching community. Backgrounds that could be teaching in their own country, but also areas like business, mathematics, law, or even philosophy. These TEFL Teachers may also bring with them hobbies that they’ve been passionate about before they became teachers, and  Seeing what they have done to integrate themselves into Spanish society can go a long way to helping you find your own way in Spain as well. So, look for classes, and maybe a burger joint that offers something similar to the creature comforts of your home. These things may be closer than you think.

Embrace and learn the culture

Say this to yourself on repeat: You are a TEFL Teacher in Spain. You are not in your home country. The locals do not speak English. They speak Spanish. Got it? Good.

Many TEFL Teachers come to Spain to gain a proficient mastery of the Spanish language. Now is your chance. You are surrounded by the language in context, and the people next to you have been speaking it their entire lives. It may be difficult at first, but after spending a little time in the country, you’ll pick up words, phrases, and idioms that are frequently used by the locals. Then, you’ll take those first few Spanish classes, and you’ll begin to understand it the way TEFL Teachers want TEFL students to learn English: In context. Seeing the language in action involves you, and compels you to learn more.

This will lead you to another important step.

Interacting with the locals in Spain will give you an even better understanding of who they are, and how they live. It may not be as different as you think it is. The closer you are to the people in your neighborhood, the closer you’ll be to the small cultural events that locals are typically aware of.

Take a cooking class, and learn how to make that unforgettable plate of paella, or fabada, or gazpacho that you’ve been dying to try again. Make mistakes. It’s how you grow as a chef, a language speaker, a professional, and as a person. If you pull back the focus on what TEFL Teachers do when they’re not in class, they are building an all-important bridge from where they come from, and grew up understanding, to where they are now, and strive to connect to. The teacher, in so many words, becomes the student. The student strives to learn. They learn so they understand. They understand so they grow. They grow so they can reach places, and do things, and meet people they wouldn’t have been able to if they didn’t take that all-important step by moving to Spain. Madrid is a very good place to start. Teachers learn that although they are not in their country where they were born, they are never far away.

About TEFL Madrid

TEFL Madrid Academy is a reputed TEFL training and Exam Preparation Facility in Madrid, Spain. In our campus located in the City Centre, you can train for, and complete an internationally-recognized TEFL course under the guidance of experienced and competent trainers. We work hard to provide support to all our graduates after completing their course. We also provide our graduates with the help needed for them to find paid jobs that match their skillsets and expertise. So, give us a call or send us an e-mail telling us how we can help you take that first step into a new direction.

Exam Madrid Team
Exam Madrid Team
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