We Filipinos love to travel, and wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to explore another country. One way we can do it is to become an auxiliar de conversación– a language assistant– in Spain. There have been almost a thousand Filipinos who are now auxiliares de conversación in Spain, and the number is growing. Here’s Auxiliares de Conversación – FAQs Part II.
In my previous post I talked about the Program in a general sense. I understand that while there are a number of blogs about the auxiliares’ experiences, very few are about the specifics of the program for Filipino applicants. Here, I have come up with some questions, and I have answered them based on my experience applying this year.
Disclaimer: Some of the answers here are based on my own experience applying to the Auxiliares de Conversación Program for the 2019 intake. They should not be taken as absolute truths, but just as guides to give you an idea about the Program.
1. What is the general timeline for a Filipino applying as an Auxiliar?
The process for Filipinos is similar to the general timeline, with the addition of a Preselection process done by the partner schools together with the Education Adviser. Here’s an overview of the timeline, from the application process until the end of classes:
2. What is the Preselection process and why do Filipinos need that?
The Preselection is a step added by the Education Adviser to personally assess the applicant’s English proficiency. Sadly, Filipinos are not considered native speakers of English, so this additional step is necessary. It is also a way to assess the applicant’s behavior; Auxiliares are expected to lead group activities, so they need to be extroverted, or at least engaging. These are all assessed during the interview.
The first step (Stage 1) of the Preselection process is done by the partner schools. Partner schools are those with a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Spanish Embassy. As of 2019, the partner schools are: University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, University of Santo Tomas, West Visayas State University, and Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan. Students from these universities do not need to schedule the interview on their own; it will be scheduled by the Education Adviser, and they only need to accept it.
The next step in Stage 1 is the Interview with the Education Adviser. As mentioned, the interview aims to assess the proficiency and “energy” of the applicant. The interview is done in-person for applicants living in Manila, or through Skype if the applicant is from the Visayas, Mindanao, or is unable to come to Manila. For either session, the interview takes less than 15 minutes. The Education Adviser shares the outcome of the interview right away, so you will know whether you can proceed to the next step or not.
IMPORTANT: Please note that you cannot register through Profex without first scheduling an interview with the Education Adviser. Otherwise, your application might be rejected and you have to wait another year to apply. Also, you cannot register through Profex if you failed the interview. The Education Adviser keeps a list of applicants who passed, as the number is limited.
3. What if I’m not studying in any of the partner schools or had already finished my studies from any of the partner schools?
If your school is not part of those with MOA, you belong to Stage 2 and you need to manually schedule an interview with the Education Adviser. The same applies to those who have finished their studies from the partner schools years ago.
If you are taking your master’s degree from any of the partner schools, you are still considered a student, so there is no need for you to schedule the interview on your own.
4. How is the Preselection process done in partner schools?
The Preselection requirements vary from school to school, but are managed by the school coordinator.
- For UP: We only needed to send our CV and letter of intent.
- For ADMU: still gathering info!
- For UST: still gathering info!
- For WVSU: Cover letter, transcript of records, Europass CV, recommendation letter
- For XU: still gathering info!
5. How do I schedule an interview with the Education Adviser?
Please follow the guidelines on this file.
Hurry! The Interview slots sell like hot tamales. So, make sure to schedule yours as soon as the call for application opens, which usually happens on the second week of January.
As far as I know, the earliest interview slots were opened for January 17, 2019, and the last set of interviews were conducted on March 14. This is to give enough time for the applicants to complete their requirements and upload them to Profex.
6. I passed the interview! So, what’s next?
Congratulations! Now, it’s time to register on Profex. This file provides the step-by-step process, but make sure to prepare the following documents, which you need to scan:
- Passport photograph page (passport should be valid until 3 months after the duration of the Program)
- Passport-size photo (white background. No selfies!)
- Diploma or transcript of records
- 300-word motivation letter addressed to the Education Adviser
- Recommendation letter from a professor (must follow the guidelines)
After completing the registration, you will be given an inscrita number, which will also give you an idea about how many applicants there are from all over the world, so far. For Filipino applicants, the inscrita number is not that important. The changes in status (from inscrita to registrada, admitida, plaza aceptada and adjudicada) are processed alphabetically, as in the case of the 2019 applications.
Also, note that the status for Filipinos goes from inscrita to admitida, skipping registrada. This may be due to the fact that there are fewer applicants than, say, USA, and our Education Adviser handles the process quite efficiently.
7. Which regions are Filipinos allowed to choose for the placements?
As of 2019 Filipinos are allowed to choose the following regions for their placements:
Andalucía, Aragón, Asturias, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y León, Valencia, Extremadura, Galicia, Islas Baleares, Islas Canarias, La Rioja, Madrid, Murcia, and País Vasco
In Profex, the regions are grouped into three, and you have to select one region only for each group. So, if you want to choose Madrid and Valencia, for example, and they belong to the same group, then you can only choose either Madrid or Valencia, not both. Don’t be greedy.
8. When can I apply for the visa and what do I need to prepare?
You can apply for the Longterm Student Visa 3 months before your intended date of arrival in Spain at the earliest. So, if you’re arriving in Spain on September 22, you can apply for the visa as early as June 22.
Generally, the requirements are:
- National Application Form, filled out completely
- 2 photocopies of the National Application Form
- Passport-size photo with white background, and meeting the format per BLS
- Passport, valid until at least 3 months after the duration of the program
- 1 photocopy of the valid passport and photocopy of the passport pages with visas/stamps
- Previous passport/s, if any
- 1 photocopy of each previous passport and photocopy of the passport pages with visas/stamps
- Carta de nombramiento (which is sent out around June via email)
- 1 photocopy of the carta de nombramiento
- Proof of economic means, such as bank certificate, bank books, ITR and international credit cards
- 1 photocopy of each proof of economic means
- You may also add the proof of economic means of your sponsor, if any. Documents include the ones listed above plus an affidavit of support. You can only be sponsored if you are less than 23 years old.
- Make sure that you receive the documents for the proof of economic means on the same month of your visa appointment.
- Medical results and certificate from a DOH-accredited hospital or clinic, authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs (red ribbon). The certificate must be valid within three months.
- 1 photocopy of the medical certificate and the results
- Tip: Photocopy your results and certificate before you have them authenticated at the DFA.
- Make sure that your medical papers are certified by the DOH. Some clinics or hospitals can do it on your behalf.
- NBI Clearance, valid for 3 months from the date of application, and authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs (red ribbon)
- 1 photocopy of the NBI Clearance
- Tip: Photocopy your NBI Clearance before you have them authenticated at the DFA
Note that you do not need to have the documents translated to Spanish, as is the case with the regular longterm student visa. There is also no need to buy your own medical insurance, unless you are arriving much earlier than 10 days before the start of the program. The Carta de nombramiento contains the details of the school as well as the details of your medical insurance while in Spain. The Consulate may also require other documents not stated above.
Put everything in a large (long) brown envelope, and write your surname and given name in BOLD LETTERS, and contact number on the upper left corner of the envelope. You must be present at the appointment date, and you will also pay the visa fee on the same appointment.
If you plan to arrive in Spain much earlier than that, then you need to make an appointment for a separate Tourist Schengen Visa.
It is highly recommended to book your flight after you have received your visa. Adding the flight itinerary to your application will not guarantee an approval.
9. How much should I have in my bank account?
While the language assistants are provided a monthly stipend, they need to suss out their own accommodation and daily expenses. Ideally, you need to have enough cash for at least 3 months, to be safe. It is no secret that some regions have delayed payments, so the more you can save, the better.
10. Is the stipend really enough? What if it isn’t?
It depends on your spending habits. Auxiliars living in pueblos say that the monthly stipend is more than enough. For others, especially those placed in big cities, the allowance is just enough to survive. People either work extra hours in their schools or teach private classes to earn more money. It is really up to you on how you will use your allowance. The stipend may not be enough if you plan to travel, shop, drink or party every week.
This ends our Auxiliares de Conversación – FAQs Part II. I hope these answers have calmed you down a bit! I know how it feels to be anxious about the application, so here’s hoping I have answered your questions sufficiently. If not, or you have other questions, feel free to write them down on the Comments section below and I’ll do my best to respond to you. Cheers! CM