Work and Travel in Spain
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN SPAIN FOR TRAVELLERS
Spain is a classic package holiday destination. However, this shields you from the local culture. You can’t see the real Spain by the swimming pool in a resort.
If you want to dive into what this nation has to offer, you need to do something different. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities in Spain for those who want to challenge themselves.
Our travel guide to Spain is going to show you what’s possible and how you can go about making it all happen.
1. Teach English in Spain
Statistically Spain has one of the worst levels of English speaking in Europe. The Spanish government wants to change that, so if you’re a native English speaker and want to travel in Spain you may want to look into teaching English.
The best part about work and travel in Spain as an English teacher is there are lots of opportunities to get paid for your work here. English schools all over the country are employing native English speakers, and there’s no need to be fluent in Spanish.
There are unpaid opportunities as well, including in summer camps, after-school clubs, and on a private basis.
Like always, you will have far better prospects if you possess a TEFL qualification.
2. Protect the Environment in Valencia
Valencia is known for being a green hub in Spain. International organisations work tirelessly to protect the coastline from the overdevelopment that has been seen up and down the country, and you could be a part of that.
If you want to work in Spain and you care about the environment, there a variety of positions you can take on. These could include planting trees, spreading awareness about the environment, and helping to campaign on behalf of environmental groups.
3. Work in a Hostel in Southern Spain
Hostel jobs are always available across Spain. For the budget backpacker, travel in Spain is much too expensive during the summer months. This is why it’s the most popular work and travel job in the country.
You’ll find jobs available in places like Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga, Granada, and Valencia. Of course, you could even choose one of the smaller hostels located along the main ‘Camino’ route in the north.
The work is easy and you’ll always get free accommodation. Some hostels even throw in free food as part of the deal.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR SPAIN
Spain is in the Schengen Zone, so anyone from the UK and European Union (EU) can stay for as long as they like. They can also work without applying for a work visa in advance.
However, if you want to work and travel in Spain from outside these areas you need to be aware that you can only stay for a maximum of 90 days in the whole of the Schengen Area at once. Then you have to leave for a minimum of 90 days before you can return.
This applies to North Americans, Australians, Kiwis, Japanese citizens, and South Korean citizens.
South Africans and Russians must download and fill in the visa application form for entry to the Schengen Zone. If accepted, the same conditions as above apply.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN SPAIN
Springtime in Spain brings about a variety of local festivals across the country. After the winter months, Spanish culture comes out hibernation.
But if you want to involve yourself in volunteering opportunities in Spain you should move to the south and look into the environmental projects there. Most of them conduct the majority of their operations at this time of year because the hotter summer months can be unbearable for working outside.
It’s also a good time to be in the north if you want to arrange a homestay on a farm. The rural areas can still be cold in the north at this time of year, so don’t underestimate the conditions.
Summer across Spain is characterised by an influx of tourists. Work in Spain in summer largely revolves around the major tourism industries.
Your possibilities are endless at this time of year as every corner of Spain is an attractive prospect. Work in hostels, work as a promoter for a local club/bar, or teach water sports along the coastline.
Another option is to go to a summer camp and work with children there. Sports like football are extremely popular. As long as you have a fun personality you’re already qualified.
The autumn time is when you want to start looking at English teaching jobs in Spain. The school year begins in autumn and many schools/universities want to find qualified English teachers to take their classes. You will need a TEFL qualification to take on paid work.
If you want to work on a private basis, you can get away with simply being a native English speaker. Families and students just want the chance to practice their English for a few hours per week. Again, this typically pays, but you can also combine it with a homestay.
Believe it or not, you can actually find work in Spain during the winter. The north grows bitterly cold and you can find snow on the mountaintops.
It even has a small skiing industry in the Pyrenees. You could work as a ski instructor or as a worker at one of the lodges or hotels. You may even want to consider venturing into the micronation of Andorra for this type of work.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN SPAIN
Spain is a major part of the European community and has few problems with discrimination. It’s one of the easiest countries to start your adventure in.
There’s a culture of foreign backpackers coming to volunteer in Spain, so you’re not going to experience any problems.
Just bear in mind that the level of English in Spain is low. Outside of the major cities and tourism centres you will struggle to get around without at least a basic level of Spanish. Make sure you learn a few key phrases if you want to mix with the locals or visit remote areas.
Do you have what you need to begin working or volunteering in Spain?