One of the hardest parts in trying to find a job abroad is the visa problem, especially for Europe. From what research I’ve done, it seems that in order for a European company or school to offer you a work visa, they have to prove that no other European Union person can offer the skills that you, a non-EU person, can. This means that it’s difficult for Americans to get work visas to teach English abroad because until very recently, the UK was within the EU and full of native English speakers. I don’t know if the results of the Brexit vote will change this over the next few years, but Ireland remains an English-speaking country in the EU.
However, there are a variety of student visa programs instead that allow non EU residents to temporarily come to Spain and assist with English language teaching in exchange for livable stipends– nobody gets rich off these programs but with proper budgeting it’s plenty enough to live off of!
Auxiliares de Conversación/North American Language & Culture Assistant: As you may know, I am currently an auxiliar de conversación in Madrid, Spain. This program offers student visas to individuals from the United States and Canada to assist with English and French teaching. Note: the program does NOT require any Spanish skills, but the entire application program is in Spanish, though fairly easy to navigate with the English application guide and Google Translate
Program requirements: Be a US or Canadian national native English (or French) native speaker who has completed junior or senior year of a BA/BS degree (or graduated) with a clean background check and bill of health under 60 years old.
Program fee: $0
Application process requires: biographical information, a cover letter/statement of motivation, recommendation letter from a professor or employer, a transcript, and a scan of your passport, resume
Hours worked: 12-16/week depending on placement body and region
Amount paid: €700-1000/month depending on region
BEDA Language Assistant: This program is similar to the auxiliares program but placements are within the Catholic school district, which operates separately. I have heard that as a result, most BEDA placements are in the region of Madrid. During the program, you are required to take a language teaching class at a university nearby in order to solidify your “student visa” status.
Program requirements: Be a native English speaker who has finished their BA/BS degree by the time they begin the program
Program fee: €175 enrollment fee
Application process requires: biographical information, a scan of your passport and a statement of motivation for the program, after which you are subjected to rounds of interviews if selected
Hours worked: 18-24/week
Amount paid: €800ish-1200ish/month
CIEE I think this program works in conjunction with the ministry program, but you essentially pay CIEE a program fee to acquire help, including visa assistance, as well as to have more of a chance of ending up in Madrid.
Program requirements: Be a native English speaker with a Bachelor’s degree, experience in a Spanish-speaking country, US or Canadian citizenship, a degree of Spanish skill, and teaching related experience
Program fee: $1100 + $50 application fee
Application process requires: biographical information, professional experience, understanding of Spanish, city selection, personal statement, resume, two letters of recommendation and a university transcript
Hours worked: 18-24/week
Amount paid: €1000/month
There are a few other programs, like the Franklin Institute and the British Council, but those referenced seem to be the big three, and are the programs I’ve seen referenced the most online and with which I have the most experience (either first or secondhand). There are also au pair programs in Spain with which you can also teach English to children in exchange for living expenses.