BEDA Program vs NALCA Program

I’m sure a lot of you who read my posts have one thing on your mind… what the heck are these programs she keeps referring to?! Some of you may just know about NALCA (North American Language and Culture Assistants) better known as the “Auxiliares” program. Either way, I am going to do my best to give you everything you could possibly want to know about the two programs as well as their pros and cons!

NALCA- Auxiliares Program

This program is run by the Spanish Ministry of Education. It is a grant given to Americans and Canadians to be “language and culture assistants” in the public schools in Spain.  This program is first come, first serve and over 2000 participants are a part of the program every year, with those who are renewing for the first time getting first preference.


As an assistant, you can literally be assigned to any school in Spain. This means the school can be in the middle of no where in a pueblo out in the country, or in the middle of a city. There is speculation that you can contact the program and request to be closer to a city, but for the most part you have absolutely no control besides choosing the region you want to be in.


Oct-May (with paid holidays!)

Pay and Hours:

Auxiliers outside of the Madrid region get paid 700 euro per month non-taxed and work 12 hours.  Auxiliers in Madrid get paid 1000 euro per month and get paid 1000 euro.

Pros and Cons:

The auxiliares program is pretty infamous for one issue: payment problems. As you may know, Spain is in a serious crisis right now. Let’s just say the members of this program are at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to getting paid. Some regions are worse than others. Madrid seems to have their act together when it comes to pay, but other than that most regions in past years delayed paying their assistants anywhere from 1 month to 4 months. This means you have to come with a ton of money saved up in case you don’t get paid until the year starts.  Other cons include the fact that you are pretty much on your own with only bureaucrats to turn to. This means you are doing everything yourself without anyone helping you along the way (except maybe past or current auxiliers). The final con is not knowing exactly where you are going to be placed until you are assigned a region and a school within the region. This being said, you have very little control where in the country of Spain you end up. Some people may like this, but I’m not a huge fan of surprises!

The pro to this program is ironically, the pay. You get paid 700 for only 12 hours of work, meaning you have plenty of time to do private lessons on your off time or to travel around Europe. That is a huge pro for a lot of people, and many are willing to put up with the bureaucracy of the Spanish government if it means living in Spain for 9 months!

BEDA Program

Welcome to my program for the 2013-14 school year! The BEDA Program, or Bi-lengual English Development and Assessment Program, is a much smaller, competitive version of the NALCA program for the semi-private Catholic school system, with just over 300 assistants.  Here are some characteristics they are looking for in participants:


This and the other photos below about BEDA can be found at their FAQ site.

All of the above are not required, but they give you a serious leg up on competition! There is also a Skype interview that lasts from 10-15 minutes. During the interview, either Samantha or Esther (the two program coordinators) will tell you in more detail about the program. At the end, you are given time to ask them questions, which I recommend you to write down in advance! I had a TON, so my interview lasted the upwards of 20 minutes! This is not normal though, so do NOT feel like you have to ask this many.


Almost all of the placements are in the region of Madrid, with a couple other placements in the Canary Islands and other mainland locations.


This year, orientation is on Sept. 5 and 6, and we start our position on the 16th. It runs until June 16th with paid holidays throughout the year!

Pay and Hours:


This is the great thing about BEDA- If you want to earn more guaranteed money, you can! I am doing 24 hours per month, so I will be earning 1200 euros before tax. I still haven’t figured out the taxes yet, but that is still not too bad of pay. Also note the 175 euro enrollment fee to hold your position for the school year.

The following is also included with the program:


Pros & Cons:

So in my opinion, unless you are placed in Madrid in the NALCA Program, this program is your best bet at having a reliable job in Spain. They have zero payment problems, as you are paid by the organization and not by the government.

Of course there are cons to everything, and this program is no exception.  There is a required course at the University of Comillas some Fridays through out the year, which can limit your amount of traveling. Also when you look at required hours, this program is much more of a commitment. If you actually want to be a teacher and are not getting an assistant teaching job just to be in Spain, this is the program for you. If not, you may do best trying to get a job with the NALCA Program since it has limited hours and less commitment.

Another con to the BEDA Program is you have to pay taxes, while in NALCA you do not (since it is a grant). The final con is if you do not want to be in Madrid, this is definitely not the program for you. Almost all of the placements are in Madrid, and I am assuming most second years get first grabs for the few outside of Madrid.

So this is everything that I know about the two programs! If anyone has anything to add or any corrections for me to make, please leave it in the comments below, and I will try to correct it! Thanks so much for reading, I hope this was informative!

2 thoughts on “BEDA Program vs NALCA Program

  1. I know the entry is old, but I wanted to congratulate you on your writing. I liked the blog, I happened to see what new entries in it. Luck and not to give up, because the blog is a luxury. A kiss !!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s