The promise of crystal clear Mediterranean waters, quaint cobbled streets and the best weather Europe has to offer is enough to convince anyone to pack up and head for Malaga. What many don’t know about this hidden gem is that the English teaching industry is absolutely booming, thanks to the greater influx of tourists visiting this great city. Once bypassed in favour of cities like Madrid or Barcelona, many like me have now been swept up in its understated charm.
Malaga offers so much more than just sun-drenched coastline. It has an incredibly low cost of living, enabling almost anyone to live like a king (or queen). Aside from cheap housing (a one bedroom apartment will cost you around 400 euros a month), Spain also boasts a fantastic healthcare system, which you will be entitled to as long as you’re teaching legally.
To work as a teacher in Malaga is a relatively easy process. Whilst some teachers opt to do a TEFL qualification (like I did), it definitely isn’t a necessity to break into the teaching industry. If you do choose to do a TEFL course, there are some great options and you’re guaranteed to learn a lot. If I hadn’t taken the course I definitely wouldn’t have been as confident walking into the classroom. On top of that, two of the people I met on my course are now my best friends and another two are now married! The stress of plunging into the deep-end of teaching together will give you a bond for life. Teachers here come from all walks of life and many different fields of work and study, all with one thing in common – the love of travel. The tight-knit community of teachers that exists in Malaga will make you feel right at home.
As a native English speaker, your foot is already in the door. There is an incredible need for teachers here at the moment as many jobs are increasing their English language requirements, leading to many locals enrolling in the English academies. Most work is for teaching children after school, but there are also opportunities for teaching adults. These range from business classes, which can be very lucrative, to conversation classes, where you get paid to talk for a few hours. It is generally very easy for teachers to find work, even for those without qualifications or experience. In fact, there are even many teachers here with work, who aren’t native English speakers.
In comparison to other European countries, the pay can seem low. But once you see how little it costs to live here, you realise it really stretches a long way. Every time my British friends and family visit me they can’t believe that you can get a 3-course meal and a glass of wine for 10 euros. What makes Malaga so special is that the year-round sunny and warm climate means outdoor activities can be enjoyed by everyone all year. Renting a beachside tennis court will only set you back five euros and the city bikes can be used for free. With so much nature in and around the city, it’s the perfect place to relax as well as work. Try kayaking through the lakes in El Chorro or skiing in the mountains in Sierra Nevada just an hour and a half away.
The work that you do in academies is generally great fun. Whilst of course, there can always be a class you don’t look forward to as much as the others or a parent that needs the play-by-play on exactly what little Jose Antonio does in class everyday, there will be others that put the biggest smile on your face. Class sizes are small; usually no more than 12 students, so you can really get to know each other well and often the adult students will become your great friends. I regularly play tennis with a group of students I taught two years ago, it’s a fantastic way to make local friends, which is often much harder than making expat friends.
Guest Author: Andrea Furneaux
Psychology graduate Andrea Furneaux fell in love with travel at a young age, living abroad and exploring far corners of the world with her family. After volunteering in Mexico and Brazil on a gap year, she headed for Spain straight after university, where she has worked as an English teacher for the last three years. When she’s not lying on a beach on the Costa de Sol, she’s playing tennis at the local club or working on her new blog. Check out her blog: www.andreaisla.com