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Old 26th August 2010, 04:47 PM   #1
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Default Possibly, maybe, could be perhaps moving to Barcelona....

Hi all,

Was wondering if anyone would be able to give me any advice or helpful information with regards to moving to and living in Barcelona.

My girlfriend is potentially getting a job there and if she did then I would be going with her. So she'd be fine work wise but I don't really know exactly what I could do. I have looked at CELTA courses and doing one as soon as we got there and considered that but don't really know how saturated the teaching English market is in Barcelona- is it particularly easy or difficult finding work doing that?

We live in London at the minute so are fairly used to everything being expensive and a few friends have compared Barcelona to London cost of living wise. Would this be an accurate comparison do people think?

Also I tend to take an interest in current events, politics, economics that kind of thing and have seen that the Spanish economy hasn't been faring too well recently. How bad is it? I know the media enjoys over-exaggeration/reacting, was just wondering whether people have genuinely been affected by the economic climate, whether they've noticed a marked change in respects to living in Spain. And whether you thought it might impact negatively on my potential employment prospects.

Thanks very much for reading and thanks in advance for any advice or information you could give me. I welcome any comments, information or advice that you feel would be of use to me be it about life in Barcelona, Spain in general or even if you don't think it would be of use to me and you would just like to tell me that you think Bobby Hassell is rubbish at full back and Martin Devaney was never very quick even when he was younger- please feel free.

Thanks muchly,

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Old 26th August 2010, 05:13 PM   #2
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Default Your Move to Barcelona

Just do it !

- Ask yourself this ... In however many years time, when you are on your death bed and looking back over your life, would you rather have done thimngs you regretted OR regret NOT having done things. Life is far too short - take a leap, you will be stronger for it.
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Old 26th August 2010, 05:39 PM   #3
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If it helps then teachers here in Madrid have told me that teaching has not been too badly affected by "la crisis". When people worry about their jobs then they try to improve their job prospects, and improving their English is certainly one way of going about it.

I spent a few months in Barcelona several years ago and, from what I recall, the most expensive thing about living there was accommodation. But that might have got cheaper with "la crisis" (although it hasn't much in Madrid). Public transport is cheap and, like anywhere really, you can eat/socialise cheaply if you know how to go about it. It's difficult to compare to London because the exchange rate has fluctuated so much. I'd say you can get by on less money in Barcelona, but it depends on your lifestyle. If you try to lead a "British" lifestyle and spend lots of time in Irish pubs paying €5 for a pint then you'll find it as expensive as London. If you can get away from that scene then it'll be cheaper. After all, the locals seem to get by on much lower wages.
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Old 27th August 2010, 12:55 PM   #4
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Bobinho IMHO the press are far from exaggerating. My spanish family are suffering with large amounts of unemployment. Agreed Sevilla is not BC but there we have four households and from the end of this week not one employed. In Madrid members of the family are having their pay cut and hours increased. Luckily our family in BC is all retired.

Any expats lying around are trying the 'I'll teach you English" game. However if you get formal qualifications and attached to a language school you will have a better chance for as Legazpi says as times get tighter the ability to speak english is a real asset for the spanish. There are also Spaniards who do not want their kids to learn Catalan and thus look for additional English instruction.

Certainly BC is expensive compared to much of Spain but if you're willing to live like a local you'll have less problems.

Of course in Spain there is no safety net like in the UK so make sure you have enough money to get out if it doesn't work out.

Unemployment is 20% and I believe spain is going down the plughole but you will find more optimistic opinions elsewhere. But if any recovery does appear I think BC is likely to be the first to see it.

Beware red tape in Spain. Everything takes longer and you will get used to long queues getting your status sorted. Do research being autonomo carefully. You have to pay each month you work but there is a way of signing off as it where if for a whole month you stop working.

Check your medical status. Insurance isn't cheap.
Beyond that have a great time, BC is a great place Nigel
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Old 27th August 2010, 03:10 PM   #5
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Default Thanks guys

Thanks for the replies. I guess it's like anything in that you learn what you need as you go along. But information from people with the knowledge and experience, like your good selves, is extremely useful and I really appreciate it. And I absolutely agree Tumbit- better to regret something you did, than something you didn't.

I think we'd definitely try and live like locals and experience the city as natives. I think the opportunity to do that, having never lived in another country is a big part of the appeal.

Would you guys say that the CELTA course and looking for work teaching English would be a good way to go then?

With regards to "la crisis" I had heard that unemployment was at 20% and I think I read somewhere (perhaps on here) that unemployment for under 25's (which I am) was nearer 40%. Which is a scary thought. Do people that know more about the Spanish economy think that things have got as bad as are they are going to get and recovery is on the horizon, or that it could still get worse before it starts getting better?

Nigel- thanks for the reply, by 'safety net' do you mean like health care and that kind of thing? Was there anything you were specifically thinking of or just in general?

Cheers again for your help. Hope you all have a great bank holiday weekend, wherever you may be.
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Old 27th August 2010, 03:41 PM   #6
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How good is your Spanish? If it is not close to fluent then you are going to struggle. Teaching English requires communication and the students will in general expert you to be able to reply to technical questions about language structure and grammar.

At the moment because of the incredible unemployment every job is being hunted down. Without very specific skills why should anyone employ you over a spaniard? Further, more outside BC, there may be a need for, or a desire for, Catalan.

So if you have no specific skills (I'm not saying you don't have any) then English teaching would seem the role for which you are best qualified and may have an advantage.

Your problem will be that lots of other english speakers have a similar plan.

As I said if you get a recognised qualification then your chances get better but it is still competitive.

By safety net I meant that you will not qualify for dole or social security. They will let you starve. So make sure if the worst happens you have a ticket back to home (I'm assuming the UK but wherever home happens to be).

Realistically think of earning nothing for a year.

What will happen next? Well IMHO Spain will not recover in the next 5 years. The Euro is under extreme pressure and is controlled by Germany. This means Spain cannot devalue to become more competitive. To do so it would have to jump the Euro ship and that costs money and would mean the controlling classes would lose cash and status. The construction industry is in ruins. Argriculture has been in decline for years, tourism is largely of a low value type (but will recover as us nothern Europeans get richer and the brits benefit from a stronger £). Several Spanish corporates are rapidly moving their interests overseas (e.g. Santander and Grupo Ferrovial ).

So at the moment you see the qualified spanish youth looking to escape overseas. (Having said that it was announced recently that 10000 manual workers had gone to france as the usual seasonal jobs on the CDS had vanished). That leaves a non competitive workforce chasing diminishing opportunity. Thus the government has to pay more dole and pensions (people living longer). And all that while they await the fallout from the banks – that are holding vast quantities of properties as assets and not liabilities.

Sorry to sound so negative but you need to go into this with your eyes open. I hope you have success. Good luck, Nigel

Last edited by SrCandas; 27th August 2010 at 03:55 PM.
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