Reasons Why the “Auxiliares de Conversación” Facebook Group Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

Guiri with her Spanish Boy

Left: guiri, Right: not a guiri

One of the ways I have found to amuse myself when bored is to get on Facebook, but that can be depressing. All those enormously successful, happy people, while I’m at home eating yogurt out of a mug on my couch. But I know some people who will never fail me, los auxiliares de conversación en España. That is to say—the Facebook groups. Some are more interesting than others, but my favorite one is “Auxiliares de conversacion en MADRID”. Of course, for every amusing post, there’s an equally boring post.

But then there are the pull-my-hair-out, scratch-my-eyes-out posts. Here’s the rundown of some of the most annoying posts, topics, and people in these groups:

British (and sometimes other European) people who love to talk about the ignorant Americans they know.

Because stereotypes are there for a reason, amirite?! Guys?

People trying to avoid all contact with other guiris.

Guiris are the gringos of Spain, if you didn’t know. And aren’t they just the worst! This guiri-avoider must live with other foreigners in order to avoid speaking English. He/she will see Americans out at restaurants and remark about their loud voices and annoying laughter. Boo, guiri hater!

Actual quotes:

staying away from americans is my #1 plan.

“Everyone’s so flipping materialistic here [in the US]”

People who only want to hang out with other guiris.

Conversely, some people actively avoid contact with the other, a.k.a. Spaniards. Strange, isn’t it, that one would travel so far to speak only English, interact with only foreigners, etc.? These are the people that invite—ostensibly—the whole group to their house for their very first fiesta. Oddly they never seem to have a second …

People stereotyping heavily about Spaniards.

People who think getting residency in Spain as an American is as easy as 1-2-3.

Asked by one curious auxiliar: “does anyone know how difficult it is to obtain residency in Spain if you’re not employed or a student?” Two words, young one: Very. Difficult.

Crazily ignorant people.

These people will ask for tapas bar recommendations after living in Spain for nine months. They wonder if this Messi they’ve been hearing all about plays for Real Madrid (or what?).

“whats the difference between piso and habitacion as far as looking for something to rent?”

Where can I buy a good/inexpensive umbrella?

do public libraries exist in Madrid?

According to Spaniards I’m a “giddy.” Still haven’t figured out if thats a good thing or bad thing…

You begin to wonder how in the world they’ve survived this long.

(Thank you to the Twitter account @GuiriBullshit for the quotes!)

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32 comments

    1. But sometimes there are those posts that just entertain me so much. I honestly don’t needto be in the group, but I love those fights. Dramarama.

  1. TELL ITTTTT! While I’m usually willing to help, I tend to ignore the people who are like, “Soooo I want to be in Madrid because I studied there, and I got placed in Granada. It was my third choice. Should I go?”

    Two words here, too, young one: YOU DUMB.

  2. oh my that’s exactly why I don’t take those groups seriously because some people are just dumb or simply weirdos. OR WORSE, THEY DON’T KNOW HOW TO WRITE/TYPE and that gets sooooo annoyed (and I mean in their mother tongue, for heaven’s sake)

    1. LOL. Yes. My thoughts exactly. We are going to TEACH ENGLISH for heaven’s sake. I’ve seen enough misuses of “your/you’re/their/they’re” to make me cringe. Also, all the switching posts are making me roll my eyes. I’m sorry if people didn’t get their first choice, and I did get very lucky, but I applied super early, so I guess I don’t have a lot of sympathy. Also, have people not heard of google? I’m gonna be avoiding the group for the next month or so, because everyone is freaking out hard about their visas/background checks and it’s a stress party in there.

    2. I try to believe that they are just lazy and not completely illiterate, especially as they’re going to teach English, for goodness sake!

  3. LOL! I thought I was the only one. I used to say maybe it is because I’m a bit older but then realize ahh no. It used to baffle the mind some of the questions and comments, just amazing they survive in the universe this long. jajaja

    1. I mean, I used to be more ignorant about Spain and Spanish and the like, but I would never have asked if there were libraries in Madrid or where to buy an umbrella. Good Lord.

  4. My favorite comment was when someone asked whether we get paid 700 euros/month or 700/WEEK. And then proceeded to say she wouldn’t be able to survive on 700 a month. First, did you seriously sign up for the program without knowing the terms, and secondly….700 a week for 12 hours of work? In a country that is in crisis? Face. Palm.

  5. Hahahahaha guiri comments are the besttttttttt

    You forgot, though, to add the people who don’t know how to use the search function and spam the groups with “Where’s the Madrid group?!?!” and “Anyone teaching at my school?!?!” buufffffffff

  6. Oh wow, I don’t even know if I could handle that. People think because they are online they can just “run their mouth” – I at least hope they don’t act like this in real life.

  7. lol I especially love those who say they’re on their phone so they can’t use the search button. First of all, USE FREAKING GOOGLE if you wanna know things.

  8. Hahaha, how did I miss this post?!
    There’s something else that’s always a little off-putting about these groups, which could just stem from my sensitivity, but it seems many forget there are people of color in these programs who have very different experiences from others. I was just talking to another future auxiliar about her worries over how she will be perceived in Spain.
    Anyway, spot on with all of your points.

    1. Yes, I honestly can’t imagine being a person of color here. It seems to be acceptable to do things like “make Asian eyes” and refer to all Asian people as “chinos”. Let’s not even get into “los Moros”. It would be incredibly difficult to be a person of color here. (And I say all this still loving Spain.)

      1. It’s definitely been a concern of mine, but I have the same/similar concerns when I travel anywhere, minus a few cities in the U.S., so we learn to deal with it as part of our everyday experience. I do wish people would address it more often, especially in a city like Madrid with so many international residents, but we take what we can get. I just have to remind myself that this stems from ignorance, not necessarily maliciousness, which is a tiny, tiny comfort.

        1. Regarding being a person of color, I read a few stories of minor incidents but decided that I wasn’t going to let it hinder me or make me concerned about going to Spain. I got placed in a small, southern town and the person I ended up rooming with admitted that she had no friends of my race. Mind you she spent a year in the U. S. right outside of Chicago too. I got one harsh glance in the grocery store from an old man (most of the old men were attracted to me-a whole other story-ugh) and I looked back at him just as harsh. What got me though is that one of the students told me via email after I got back to the states that some of the students were racist towards me (even calling me a racial slur). At the time, this was unbeknownst to me because this was the younger group who were always speaking to me in the hallways, smiling at me etc just generally overall excited to see me whereas the older group most were nonchalant towards me. I don’t think the student had any reason to make this up. Prior to that I only had one other incident in the classroom with some (older) students singing a stereotypical rap song and mocking me (I didn’t like the way that was handled or in my case “not handled but another story). Anyway, this second-hand information made me question every person who was “nice” to me in my face…were they just playing “nice” to me and talking/thinking badly about me behind my back? When I see others (of the same racial group) living it up in Spain, I think they are having the time of their life…maybe they didn’t have any racial incidents..so why did I have to encounter such ignorant people? What’s funny is that there were a few students of color at the school, wearing their afros or braids…and there was one African student. So once again, I thought, wonder if they had any racial incidents considering they live among and attend schools with (white) Spanish students. Overall, it left a bad taste in my mouth. I was born and raised in a southern state with a bad racial past and I’ve never any blatant racial incidents or been called a racial slur…so it so ironic to me.

          1. Oh I forgot to mention, that there were a few Chinese students at the school but overall it wasn’t that diverse. So naturally, I wondered what their experiences were like too. Anyway, I shouldn’t have been surprised…I’m about 70% over it though. Overall, the majority of the people I met were kind and friendly (unless they were being fake).

          2. Thank you for sharing your experience! It was good to hear your point of view, though I’m really sorry you had some negative encounters. I mean, even in my U.S. hometown, I’ve run into a fair share of ignorant people, so I can’t say I’m expecting too much from a country where I’m even more a minority. It’s definitely helpful to hear someone speak honestly about this though; I think most people who write about their experiences gloss over the negatives and focus on the positives (Which is usually a good thing!), but sometimes we just need the harsh truth.

          3. Hi, Erin. I found your Twitter page. I would like to talk a little more with you about my experience (so if you get a new follow it’s me).

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