Walking around Andujar is very easy, though a car may be better for weekends. The train and bus links are good.
The school is quite simply the best I have ever worked in. Excellent resources, including a huge variety of books suitable for every purpose in the library, as well as the collective knowledge of the current teachers who have a great deal of experience and are more than happy to share it. Indeed, sharing ideas is a big part of the school, and opportunities to do so are given regularly. We often have the chance to observe our peers in the classroom and be observed in turn, which is a great opportunity for professional development. This school year the school paid for the teachers to go to a development seminar in Sevilla, including rail and hotel for the night, which was another great opportunity.
It was very easy to find an apartment, and with the help of Julie, the owner, we had an apartment ready to move in to on the day we arrived in Spain.
The students are lovely. Almost all, whilst noisy at times, are enthusiastic and willing to learn. Most students are existing groups who have been in the school for a number of years, and their previous teachers have instilled upon them a strong desire to learn and good work ethic.
Dan Grant (Teacher at ECI Sept 2015- June 2016, moving back to Britain to take a PGCE).
Dates employed: September 2013 to Present (Returning)
1. The Town
The town is small (ish) and everything that one needs is available and accessible. The people are friendly, and it’s a very much «everyone knows everyone» type of place. There are also fairs, festivals, carnivals and the likes that take place throughout the year. The most famous is the Romeria de la Cabeza which really is worth seeing.
2. Getting Around
There is a train station on the outskirts of the town, and has a direct train to Cadiz (which goes through Cordoba and Seville) and to Barcelona (which goes through Linares and Valencia). There are also regular trains for Jaen and Cordoba. But for other cities, you would have to change at Cordoba. There is also a bus station which pretty much goes everywhere in Andalucia as well as Madrid. Within the town, everything is within walking distance.
3. The School
The school is in two parts, the main school and the annex which is literally three/four doors down. The classrooms are of various sizes, and are equipped with everything you need and want.
4. Materials and Resources
There is a staff room full of resources and materials for various ages, levels and teaching points which is continuously growing. The management are open to new ideas for resources, etc. There is also a huge selection of books for those who are studying for a diploma.
5. The Staff
The staff are great, supportive and will help wherever they can. They have a vast range of experience and expertise between them, from young learners to exam skills and knowledge.
The students are, as a whole, great fun. The classes are never with more than 12 students and the levels range from beginner to advanced. The children are noisy, the noisiest I have ever had, but wanting to learn
7. Teacher Training
There are lots of opportunities for external training with talks and sessions offered and paid for by the school in Seville, Granada and Madrid, just to name a few.
8. Finding a Flat
My partner and I were lucky. We told Julie what we needed before we arrived, as we were also bringing three cats (insane, we know!) and within two weeks of emailing her, we had a gorgeous flat, which we?re intending to keep for next year.
9. The Cost of Living
Everything is cheap. The most expensive things would be toiletries and the electricity bill and the latter only appears to be expensive because it isn’t paid monthly but every two months. It is still slightly more expensive than the average UK bill.
10. Health Cover
Having injured my foot early in the school year, I had the experience of visiting the hospital and the doctor’s clinic. Excellent care and treatment provided and as the school has arranged for a medical card, nothing is paid for or rather the bare minimal is paid for. My partner’s asthma inhaler cost 36 cents on the medical card. You couldn’t ask for better!
Working at El Centro de Ingles has been a great experience. I’ll be sad to leave and am only doing so because I want to move back to the UK.
I don’t think you could find a more helpful boss than Julie. From arranging my first flat here and taking me to the supermarket on the day I arrived to helping me at the tax office, she has always gone out of her way to make it as easy as possible to adapt to working in the town.
She also provides lots of opportunities for professional development. In the two years I have worked at the school,
I have been to both ACEIA and FECEI twice and have attended a number of other external training sessions, which have all been really helpful.
Although the town is small, there is always something to do or see and if all else fails, it will take you a few weeks to get round all the tapas bars and restaurants before you even consider going anywhere else.
There is also a lot to be said for being able to walk to work in less than five minutes. Unless you have a car, you will need to plan weekends away carefully but there are buses to Madrid, Malaga, Seville and Cordoba on a fairly regular basis so it is possible to get out and about.
Coming here was a good decision for me. I gained experience of teaching lots of different levels and age groups, got to work with a lot of fantastic teachers and made a few very good friends. Not bad for two years.
If you are already an enthusiastic teacher of young learners, or a newly-qualified teacher with an interest in becoming such, then the ECI in Andujar could be an excellent next step in your career. It is a small school run in an absolutely professional way, with an excellent team of senior teachers who are genuinely helpful, approachable and supportive. They will do their best to help you settle in, both in your new job and your new home, always going the extra mile if any particular problems arise, or additional support is needed. The classrooms are well-equipped with all the latest technology, so if you are already a whizz on that kind of thing, or would like to learn it, that is a big bonus too. The town is small, but with a pretty, typically Andalusian historical centre, and those famous towns like Cordoba, Seville, Malaga are a convenient bus or train ride away.
Jane Harry worked at EL CENTRO DE INGLES from September 2013 to February 2014 to cover a maternity leave.
Dates employed: October 2013 – July 2014
It´s a medium-sized place, you can walk to everything that you need. It´s a little quiet but by the time spring comes around there is plenty to do.
In spring Andujar comes alive and April seems to be one long party with Easter, Romeria and then the smaller San Eufrasio fiesta. Romeria is a great chance to see the beautiful gitana dresses and if the weather is good for camping, the party at the sanctuary goes on all night. It´s a peculiar mix of religion and Glastonbury.
If you have some evenings free, you can study Spanish free of charge at the adult education centre on Calle Maestra
Having your own transport would be a big plus because while there are inter-city coaches they are not very regular. While Andujar is a small town it has a surprisingly large amount to do. In winter take advantage of the cooler temperatures and go hiking in the Sierra. There are a few different loops you can do that take an hour or so but if you have transport or are super fit there are hundreds of tracks deeper in the mountains – getting to them is the only problem. Bikes are fairly cheap – 100 – 200 euros in Carrefour, Sprinter of the 2nd hand bike shop near El Corte Ingles.
I bought a bike so I could get up into the mountains and would recommend doing the same if you like that sort of thing.
The school is very well organised, clean and modern.
Materials and Resources
All of the classrooms have laptops and projectors and the staffroom is well-stocked with supplementary materials – some old favourites and some new ones too.
It isn´t a young party town and the staff reflect that. Everyone has been very friendly but apart from the occasional post-work tapas, people tend to do their own thing.
We´ve had the opportunity to go to 5 or 6 conferences, which has been good for OPD and sightseeing!
Finding a Flat
I found a flat easily on elalquiler.com and Julie was very helpful in arranging viewings, even accompanying me when she could.
The Cost of Living
Flats seem to rent for about Eur350. My wife and I have lived comfortably on the salary from the school and had a couple of holidays, so a single person should be able to live well and save a bit too.
Rent approx 325eur
Internet connection approx 45eur
Bills approx 100eur depending on season
Gym membership for a couple incl pool 40eur p.c.m
Beer + tapa approx 2eur
Menu del dia approx 6.50eur
Car rental 40eur per day (empty tank).