Vanessa Hoffman: English Teacher & Traveler

Meet Vanessa Hoffman

Vanessa in her favorite Café

Vanessa Hoffman is an Auxiliar de Conversación in Toledo, Spain who spends her free time practicing Spanish and traveling.

Hi Vanessa! Can you explain how you began teaching English and why you chose to teach English in Spain?

I chose to teach English in Spain simply because it was a way to live abroad and travel after graduating from college. I majored in Spanish at the University of Oregon and I wanted to have a chance to perfect my Spanish before I went back to grad school or got a job. I also wanted to try out teaching, and because the program I’m in doesn’t require prior teaching experience, it was a good way to test it out without committing long term.

That is a great idea. Where in Spain were you placed and how did you find out about this teaching job?

I teach in a small pueblo about an hour south of Madrid, in the province of Toledo. I heard about the job through my university–the Spanish department sent out an email about the program, North American Language and Culture Assistants in the fall of my senior year, as a good post-graduate option. The program is run by the Spanish Ministry of Education, and they assign us to a school, so I did not chose my post.

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

I work 12 hours a week for the school and receive a 700 euro per month stipend for it, but I am also able to give private conversation classes to other people in town to make a little extra money. In my school I also teach extra-curricular classes for Spain’s version of the PTA, and they pay me 15 euro for each hour.

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

Travel was definitely a factor in my decision, but I think mainly I have always wanted to live abroad and enhance my Spanish. Once I got here, I realized how easy it was to hop on a plane to many places in Europe and have tried to take as much advantage of this as I could. When else in my life can I get to Paris in two hours? But even aside from Europe, there is so much to see in Spain as well, and since I only worked 4 days a week I took many weekend trips around the country.

It’s great that you explored Spain too! What cities and countries have you seen while teaching in Spain?

In Europe I have been to the Netherlands, England, Belgium, France, and Italy. In Spain, I have been to Madrid, Toledo, Cuenca, Sevilla, Caceres, Merida, Barcelona, Girona, Segovia, and many other smaller towns.

Barcelona Spain

Barcelona

Good motto! What cities or countries are next on your list for travel while teaching?

For the end of the year I am planning a trip to the north, through Galicia, Cantabria, and País Vasco.

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

I think traveling while teaching is a very good way to do it because it gives you a base from which to travel out of. Traveling for months at a time can be exhausting, but if you are living there you can go home after a week or two to have a break. Also, because you are living abroad I think you get a more authentic experience (you have relationships with people, actually have to speak the language, you eat food made by people not restaurants), rather than just hopping around as a tourist. Another great advantage is that you are earning money while you are spending it, you you don’t have to stay in the States and save for years before you can go. 
Vanessa Hoffman is a 23 year old graduate of the University of Oregon, class of 2011, with a degree in Spanish. She blogs about her life at www.vanessaregresa.wordpress.com
Photo Credits: Vanessa Hoffman, xavitalleda

Comments

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

    I would really like to teach english in bilbao, how do i go about this?
    Many thanks.
    Rachel

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