6 Things You Should Have in Mind When Moving to Spain
Spain is a diverse, passionate, artful, and sophisticated country. The Pyrenees are wild beauty, the sun-baked plains of Andalucía are breathtaking, and the colorful villages on the mountaintops are dreamy. The coastal part of the country is made for enjoyment, and the food is amazing. It’s no wonder that many people want to spend their life or at least part of it in Spain.
However, moving to a foreign country, regardless of how beautiful it is, always comes with a lot of challenges. If you are planning on moving to Spain, here are a few things you should know about the culture, food, climate, living costs, and other important factors to consider before moving to Spain.
The Climate Varies
Spain covers 505.990 km² (195,360 sq mi), and it is the largest country in Southern Europe. It is a country of seaside, mountains, and plains, so its climate varies from region to region. The climate in the North is temperate, with mild winters and warm summers. Expect extremes of hot and cold if you move to Central Spain, and very hot weather down South.
The Cost of Living Is Affordable
Compared to some other European capitals, Madrid is reasonably priced, with the cost of living being 38% cheaper than in London, for example. Properties can be more expensive in popular tourist locations and central cities. The average monthly price of living for one person is €1,500. Food is affordable when purchased outside of commercial and tourist areas. However, utility costs can be high.
Most People Don’t Speak English
Many foreigners are living and working in Spain, but very few locals speak English. According to a recent study, almost 60 percent of Spaniards speak no English at all, and 35 percent don’t speak it very well. So, you have the option of being friends only with foreigners or the five percent of Spaniards who will actually understand you. The best solution is learning to speak Spanish to be able to communicate with all the wonderful people there. Knowing the language will be especially helpful if you are visiting small secluded villages.
Finding or Founding a Job Can Be a Challenge
If you’re planning on starting a business in Spain, you should probably begin with setting things up before you go. The country is business-friendly, especially for EU citizens, but there are many formalities, procedures, and rules to follow.
As for finding a job, you will have an advantage if you speak the language, but you should know that Spain’s unemployment rate is pretty high compared to the rest of the Union. The minimum wage in Spain is EUR 1050, but it is constantly growing.
Healthcare Is Free or Affordable
Spain’s National Health Institute provides free or affordable healthcare. It is available to:
- Spanish citizens
- Those who have been living in Spain for longer than five years
- People legally working in Spain
- Individuals who are paying insurance to the Institute.
There is also an abundance of private healthcare options.
The Culture Is Specific
Spaniards have their own ways of doing things, and for a foreigner, they can be difficult to understand. To say it in the words of Jim Morison: “People are strange when you’re a stranger.” So, here are some Spanish customs that might take some time to get used to:
- Spain has its own schedule, which is likely quite different from what you’re used to. The busiest time of the day is between 9.30 and 11.30. In the afternoon, it can be difficult to get any errands done because it is siesta time. Siesta is an afternoon nap that Spaniards usually take after lunch. After the nap, everything opens for business again in the late afternoon. Dinner in the restaurants is usually served after 8.30 pm.
- Patience is gold when you are trying to get anything done in banks and official government institutions. There’s a common saying – “Falta uno” – which means that wherever you go, regardless of how many documents and photocopies you’ve prepared, you will always be one paper short.
- If the previous cultural shock is too much for you, Spain has got you covered. This country is the home of a unique profession – the gestor. This is someone who will deal with officialdom and bureaucracy on your behalf. Fortunately for you, most of the best gestors speak English very well – it is part of the job since foreigners often have problems with these things.
- Spain is also the land of holidays, and there will be a lot of time off for you but also for some places you want to visit or where you want to shop. Most of the national holidays are actually Catholic, but even the atheists love to benefit from them. Apart from the big ones, such as All Saints’ Day (November 1st), Assumption Day (August 15th), Labor Day (May 1st), and Hispanic Day (October 12th), there are also regional holidays, such as the ones for each town’s patron saint.
All in all, Spain is an amazing country, and living there would surely be a valuable experience. These international moving tips will help you prepare better and adjust accordingly so that your move is smooth and enjoyable. Good luck!
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