auxiliar program, spain

So You Want To Be An Auxiliar de Conversación

What it’s like applying to the North American Language & Culture Assistant Program

(From here on out, I’ll refer to it as NALCAP or “auxiliar program” – because once in Spain, we’re known as Auxiliares, which means assistants.)

I’m not the first person to write about this topic, there are many bloggers out there who have been through the process and succeeded. This is my story, familiar as it may be to the thousands of other auxiliar applicants!

January 10, 2013  |  12:00:01 AM Spain time
It’s time! Application season is open, por fin! Hop on the internet, navigate to the Ministerio’s official application site, also known as Profex. Fumble my way through Profex, using the manual provided by the Ministerio. Refresh the page multiple times as so many people were applying, the site was overloaded. Enter personal data, upload PDFs of transcript and passport. Attempt uploading multiple times because the site is sluggish with all the traffic. Refresh page again. (Ahhhh. I’m sooo tense!) Hit “aceptar” or “continuar” or whatever to get through all the pages. Pick my top three preferred regions, oh Lord this is confusing… Grupo A, B, or C? Well, I know without a doubt I want Grupo A! (Asturias, Ceuta y Melilla, Extremadura, La Rioja, Navarra, País Vasco. Well, hopefully not Ceuta y Melilla.) I try to pick Pais Vasco as #1, Cantabria as #2, and Castilla y Leon as #3. Pick my preferred age groups and size of city? Cool, didn’t know I would get to choose that. Review my data, think it looks okay, cross my fingers for it to go through. Complete! Received a confirmation email. I’ve been assigned the status “Inscrita” (registered) and the number 121. This is a good sign that I’ll get in and get my first choice of region, since I’m 121 of over 3000 applicants. Final step: Print out the confirmation page and stick it in the mail to the coordinator in LA. Wait a few days, check Profex again, status has changed to “Admitida,” meaning they’ve received all my paperwork and now I’m in line for an assignment!


*Wait patiently.*

*Wait some more.*

*Explain to inquisitive friends that I should be hearing any day now…*

*Get really, really antsy.*


May 2, 2013  | 1:39 PM Pacific time
In the waiting period, I pictured what I would be doing when the email came. I had been anticipating it for months! When the email came, I can’t say it was the ideal moment. I was swamped with work. But for a moment I snuck a quick peek at my gmail, and BAM! There it was. My eyes got huge. This is it! Do I open it? Am I ready? What if I don’t get my top region? Is this really happening?

Open email. Yes – I got Pais Vasco!!!  Happy dance (in my head)! I want to tell everyone I know, but work is extremely busy, so I have to make do with texting a couple of friends quickly. And now, ever since receiving my placement, I’ve been in a festive mood, announcing the news to friends and family. There’s still a lot of planning to do before I can go, but I’m well on my way.


My email! Uhh, yes I did screenshot and instagram it. I’m a nerd like that. I was really excited, okay?



A preview of my spreadsheet. Still quite a bit to do, but purple means done!

2 thoughts on “So You Want To Be An Auxiliar de Conversación

  1. Wow, love your spreadsheet! Sooooooo organized! I have one too, but not in color like that.

    You and I have similar experiences and schedules! I also went to Spain 8 years ago. My inscrita # was about as low as yours, and I got my first choice for regional placement too! I texted a few people when I received the first email, but I only got extremely excited when I got the actual city (or in my case, town).

    1. Thanks A L! My spreadsheet has been in progress for several months and many new tabs have been added… a little OCD.
      Cool to hear we’re on a similar timeline with Spain! Better to go back late than never, is what I’ve finally decided. I saw your recent blog post and LOL’d about teaching giraffes in Africa. I wouldn’t be surprised either! 😀 Good luck with the process, hope to meet you in Spain!

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