Teaching Assistant Ryan Andrews

Meet Ryan Andrews

ESL teacher in Spain

Ryan Andrews is an American Language and Culture Assistant who lives and works in Jaen, Spain

Tell us Ryan, why did you begin teaching English and why did you choose to teach English in Spain?

I started teaching English this year mainly because I wanted to come to Spain and learn the language. I made a quick school-related trip to Buenos Aires two years ago and could not get over how awesome it was to be speaking in another language with people. I greeted the challenge with open arms and wanted to live that experience again, but for a longer amount of time. Next thing I knew, I was in Andalusia, Spain.

Andalusia is amazing! Where exactly were you placed and how did you find this teaching job?

I teach in Jaen capital in the province of Jaen, Spain. Jaen is like the forgotten province of Andalusia. When I first arrived to Madrid in September, I talked to some Spaniards that had not even heard of the city! I found the job through the North American Language and Cultural Exchange program. A friend told me about it and it caught my attention quickly.

How many hours a week do you work and what is your monthly salary?

I work five and a half hours each day, four days a week — from 8:30 – 14:00 — and receive 700 euros a month (which is more than enough for rent/travel/food/typical expenses).

Was being able to travel a main factor in deciding to teach English in Spain?

No, it was not a main factor in deciding to teach here. I did not do much research before heading to Spain in terms of traveling, so initially it did not matter to me whether I had time to travel as long as I was able to practice my spanish. However, after my first trip to Granada in October, I realized the potential of traveling and have tried to do so as much as possible.

Yes, travel is addictive! What cities and countries have you been able to travel to while teaching in Spain?

I have traveled to every province in Andalusia (except Malaga), to Madrid, Barcelona, San Sebastian (wow!), Zaragoza, Valencia and Zurich, Switzerland. Spain’s travel opportunities are so diverse and it has so much to offer– I think it is possible to be completely content traveling only inside of Spain. It’s cheaper too.

We completely agree– Spain is extremely diverse. What cities or countries are next on your list for travel while teaching?

I do not have any countries on my list but rather cities. I need to make it to Malaga to complete the ‘Circuit of Andalusia’, and I am heading up to the Basque Country one more time to check out Santander, Bilbao and San Sebastian  for the second time. The city is gorgeous and, albeit having less than 200,000 people, has a lot to offer.

Is teaching in order to travel worth it? Would you recommend it to others?

Clearly, I would recommend this to anybody who either wants to be a teacher or wants to travel because this program easily fulfills both of those desires. The education system (which depends on where you are placed by the program) is different here in Andalusia than what I am used to in Seattle, especially in a small village of less than 2000 people. I was surprised at some of the things that happened in the school, but have gotten used to them over time.

Ryan Andrews graduated from the University of Washington last June. He loves playing sports, speaking Spanish and attempting to live a faith-filled life. Vaya con Dios. Find him on twitter or writing on his Spain blog.


  1. Hi,
    I saw the info you shared about your teaching position in Jaen. I will be teaching in Jaen this fall and would love to consider you a contact I might reach out to. I am very excited and, of course, have so many questions. If you don’t mind my contacting you, please let me know the best way and best times. Thanks so much and can’ wait to hear back from you!

  2. Hi Ryan,
    i just read the info you shared about yourself and your teaching position in Jaen. I will be arriving in Madrid within the month and then moving on to Seville and Jaen where I will eventually teach. It is such an exciting time and I have so many questions. I would love to reach out to you if you are willing to be contacted. Thanks so much and am really hoping to hear back from you.

    • Hey Molly, send me an email, I’d love to give you some insight – ninjamoner22@hotmail.com

      • Hi Ryan,
        It’s great to hear from you. While I have some info about my assignment in Jaen, there is still so much I don’t know. I am so excited to begin this chapter in my life! I have lots of questions but won’t overwhelm you just yet. I am very anxious to establish some friendships in Jaen and hope to count you among one of my first friends. I have yet to meet anyone who knows of Jaen so anything you can tell me will be more than I know at this point (except for that which I’ve read)- in fact any insights you share will be appreciated. Since I will be a teaching assistant as you are, any info you can share on the Spanish educational system, job responsibilities of teaching assistant will be helpful I’m sure. On a fun note, I am hoping to do lots of traveling and would love to hear more about your travels. Of course I still have to address all the essential issues of living, such as apt rental, bank acct, phone rental -all, or some of which which you may be able to offer advice on. As I said I don’t want to overwhelm, I am just super psyched to get to Spain! Even though I still have lots to do before I just want to get on the plane tomorrow! Looking forward to hearing back from you!

Speak Your Mind