Barcelona is somewhat of a Mecca for ESL teaching and TEFL courses. Just do a quick search on your favorite search engine for "TEFL" and chances are that many of the results that pop up make reference in some way to Barcelona.
The huge demand for English teachers in Barcelona, it's warm Spanish climate, endless fiestas, art, history and culture all help to attract countless scores of native English TEFLers on a never ending conveyor belt of low cost flights.
Some of the new arrivals are already seasoned and experienced TEFL teachers but they alone are not enough to satisfy Barcelona's hunger for English teachers. Most of those who will be using their whiteboard markers to share their language skills will be heading straight for a TEFL academy to get qualified and take an intensive course on how to teach English.
The many TEFL academies in Barcelona all have their different courses which they deliver but the norm is a 4 week, full time TEFL training courses which takes a native level English speaker and converts them into English an teacher. Once qualified they can get comfortable in Barcelona or hop on a plane and head for pretty much any destination where ever people need to learn English!
Teaching or not, passing by or putting down roots, Barcelona is still a must-see city.
Whereas prior to the tragic tsunami of Christmas 2004, Thailand was the uncontested number one TEFL destination, soon after cautious wanna-be English teachers started to look for other locations and Barcelona neatly fitted the gap for being 'somewhere different'. New TEFL training courses popped up on the Barcelona teaching map, followed by plane loads of trainees who now spread the word about their great experiences. The large number of TEFL certification courses on offer in this Catalan city is no accident.
Barcelona is a living tale of two cities. It has a dual role and a dual cultural identity. To the Spanish its a commercial capital with its own stock exchange, one of the biggest container ports in Europe and a big source of tax revenue to Madrid. But, upon arriving in Barcelona, you will find out that Barcelona is viewed as THE capital city to the Catalans, who consider themselves not Spanish but Catalan. The Catalan independence movement is growing strongly now in the midst of the Spanish economic crisis as a nice dream to distract Catlans from their economic woes.
their own goals for more autonomy from Madrid, parallels are often drawn with Scottish devolution, the Lone Star State being annexed by the Union and Wales having it's own language within Great Britain. However the political aspirations of Catalonia pan out over time, the cultural reality is there to be enjoyed today. Being fiercely loyal to their heritage, every aspect of Catalan history, art, culture and tradition is openly celebrated at every possible opportunity. The result, a packed calendar of fiestas and guide books rammed full of museums, galleries and exhibitions celebrating the Catalan history and culture of Gaudi, Miró, Picasso, Orwell, Guardiola and Bisbal.
After the museums close, Barcelona is especially lively at night, which makes making new international friends and contacts a breeze. The Spanish and Catalan people are very friendly and are always eager to learn about different cultures. Being a native English speaker is a great ice breaker in any social situation and guarantees open invitations to a huge range of social activities that your typical tourist could never dream of. Making local friends is a great way to improve your Spanish (or Catalan!) and to become better acquainted with the cultural norms, especially if you're planning on teaching in Spain.
The lifestyle in Barcelona is very relaxed and easy-going even though it is still a busy and vibrant city. Most TEFL trainees and English teachers adapt very well to this change of pace and begin to chill out in a way that they weren't always able to do in their home countries. A book on the beach is just as popular as night out clubbing, or just learning to slow down and take things easy whilst doing your lesson planning in one of Barcelona 6000 cafés, bars and beach bars is a good enough way to spend the day.
So that's the low down on Barcelona. In order to avoid contributing to the cliché box (like a swear box) in our office we have skipped any mention of delicious tapas, washed down by refreshing sangria, the exciting nightlife and how you can enjoy a relaxing stroll down the beautiful Ramblas. Although you can.
There's a huge amount of guidebooks and websites out there which can give you plenty of reasons to add Barcelona on your 'To Do' list in one way or another, but check out some of the resources on our site, written by Barcelona resident teachers, to get a TEFL perspective on this great city and what it means to live and work there even if you never wanted to share your knowledge of the present-continuous. And remember, if you want to contribute with your own TEFL experiences in Barcelona, just let us know!
So book the flight, book the TEFL course, go live the Spanish experience and afterwards get in touch with us and share your experiences to inspire others. Oh, does anyone know a TEFL course in Barcelona we could speak to to get more useful information about TEFL in Barcelona? Let us know, we need to collaborate with a local TEFL Academy to get some really good articles for our readers! Hasta luego.....