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The Auxiliares de Conversación Program is one of the best ways for Americans to live and work in Spain, and thousands of people come to work all over Spain with this program every year. Most of them end up in Madrid, Spain’s capital city, but what’s it like living as an Auxiliar de Conversación in Madrid, Spain?
Can an auxiliar de conversación in Madrid live comfortably? Do you make enough money? How much is rent? Do too many people speak English?
We answer all these questions and more about what it’s like living as an auxiliar de conversación in Madrid, Spain based on our own personal experience of living and working here!
When you are applying to the auxiliares de conversación program, you have to select a specific region in Spain to apply to. However, you are NOT guaranteed the region you want.
On the application to be an auxiliar, you select 3 regions in Spain that you would like to live in and rank them in your order of preference. Each region in Spain has a certain amount of spots open for auxiliares.
Certain regions in Spain are very popular and have very few spots, like Asturias and Cantabria. Typically, these placements go to second year auxiliares as they have preference over new auxiliares. Other regions that are less popular generally have open placements all year and often are asking for mid-year auxiliares to come in January.
So where does that leave Madrid for auxiliares de conversación?
Well, Madrid is a very popular region for the auxiliar program. However, it also has the most placements available every single year.
When you apply to the auxiliares de conversación program, you will want to apply early because placements go out based on your application number, or inscrita number. If you apply early and your number is under 4000, you will most likely be able to get a placement in Madrid.
Keep in mind that this can vary by year although funding for the program can change by region each and every year.
It’s also important to note that placements are for the region, or autonomous community, of Madrid, NOT the city! This means your school could be anywhere in the Comunidad de Madrid and not necessarily in the city.
Now that you know how to get an auxiliar placement in Madrid, what is it like living as an auxiliar de conversación in Madrid?
How Much is Rent in Madrid?
As with any city in Spain, or the world, rent can range depending on where you live and what kind of apartment you are looking for. Madrid is a huge city of over 3 million people and has a big range of neighborhoods that vary in price of rent.
Before deciding on where to live, you will need to know where your school will be. This will probably determine where you will be living since you won’t want a crazy commute every day.
In Madrid, auxiliares de conversación make €1000 per month, without teaching private English lessons on the side. This means any super high end apartments are probably out of the question, unless you’re coming with a huge amount of savings that you are fine with burning through.
Most auxiliares de conversación in Madrid rent a room in an apartment with others. It’s a cheaper option than renting your own apartment and is a fantastic way to meet people and improve your Spanish, assuming your roommates are Spanish.
The average rent for a room in Madrid ranges from €350-€550 per month without utilities. Apartments in the center of Madrid are usually smaller and more expensive, but you are closer to a lot of things. The further you go from the center of Madrid, the bigger and cheaper the apartments generally get.
We found an apartment in La Latina near the center that was easily connected to each of our schools by metro, but was at the top of our budget at €1100 per month. See a tour of our apartment in Madrid below!
For more specifics on renting an apartment in Madrid, read our How to Find an Apartment in Spain guide.
Working as an Auxiliar de Conversación in Madrid
As stated earlier, the school you are placed at as an auxiliar de conversación in Madrid may be right in the center, in which case you’re super lucky! However, it could also be wayyyy out in a village.
Obviously, most people want to be placed in the center of Madrid, but most people aren’t. Our schools are about a 30-40 minute metro ride from the center, but are still within Zone A.
In Madrid, auxiliares work 16 hours per week over 4 days per week at their school. This is 4 hours more per week than auxiliares in other regions in Spain. You do get paid more though, €1000 compared to €700.
Paying for a Metro card is a necessity when living as an auxiliar de conversación in Madrid. If you are under 26 its only €20 per month, but if you are over 26, it will cost you €54.60. The Metro is fast and efficient, but unfortunately, the cost of a monthly Metro card is a necessity if you are living in Madrid.
The general responsibilities of auxiliares in Madrid are the same as others across all of Spain. You will be a language assistant in the classroom assisting the classroom teacher in English classes, which could be social studies, science, physical education, art, or music classes taught in English. However, you will not be in the classroom alone or grading.
The 16 hours of work per week does give you plenty of free time, which you can use to teach private English lessons for extra money or to explore Madrid and Spain!
What About Eating Out and Getting Drinks?
If you are wanting to work in Madrid as an auxiliar de conversación, you obviously want to explore and experience all the Spanish culture, food, and everything else Madrid has to offer.
Honestly, it would suck being here and not being able to afford to do anything in this wonderful city.
Madrid is more expensive in tourist areas than it is in local neighborhoods further from the center, but it’s generally affordable everywhere.
A beer, caña sized, will set you back about €2-3. A ración is generally about €9-12 depending on what you order and will feed a few people. A cubata or copa, mixed drink, will cost €6-10.
Other smaller cities in Spain that have less tourists will definitely be cheaper for eating and drinking out, but you can still do it in Madrid on an auxiliar budget! It just won’t be every night.
Overall Experience as an Auxiliar de Conversación in Madrid
Living as an auxiliar de conversación in Madrid has been a fantastic experience, but it should be stated that it is quite expensive, especially when living on an auxiliar salary.
It’s almost necessary to make extra money on the side. We both teach private English lessons on the side 3 nights a week. It makes for busy weekdays, but other weeks are free for exploring Madrid and Spain…and hopefully in Europe once COVID allows it!
If you’ve never taught private English lessons, here are some ideas for teaching private lessons that will work with any level student!
Overall, Madrid is a wonderful, and affordable city, that offers so much to auxiliares!
If your goal is to save a bunch of money during the school year, it’s not going to happen in Madrid though. It would probably be better to chose a smaller, cheaper region on the auxiliar de conversación application.
Find out all about living in different regions in Spain as an auxiliar de conversación with our Guide to Regions in Spain!
If you are wanting to live in Spain in a major, centrally located city, with tons to do, and are open to working a few extra hours, Madrid is a perfect city for you consider when doing the Auxiliar de Conversación Program in Spain.