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Old 18th October 2006, 10:16 AM   #1
Hero Forero
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Default A happy landing in Spain - meeting people, settling in.

This is a duplicate of a list I put on the blog, on ideas for meeting people and finding your feet when you first arrive in Spain.

So, in no logical order:

1. Enroll on a course in Spain before you leave
I walked straight into a TEFL course at International House, Madrid, when I first arrived in Spain. I instantly met 11 other people in the same boat as me. What a relief! It was an even bigger relief when the school hired me afterwards, and I had a whole staffroom of people to go out with at night! Which leads me to…

2. Get a job in a language academy
You will meet lots of savvy ex-pats who have been here for years and can give you excellent advice on those first difficult weeks in Spain (and show you where the beer is coldest ) Don’t be afraid of mixing with English speakers (some people only want to meet Spaniards), they can be a very useful asset in those early days!

3. Get a job anywhere, better still, have your company send you here!
It’s not all about English teaching. You can work in anything you want with the right amount of effort and patience. If you can get a transfer to Spain with the company you already work with, even better - there will be an office full of Spanish people waiting to bring your language skills up to par.

4. Get an intercambio
No, get three intercambios (see our Spain Glossary entry). Use’s language exchange section for your city. Place an ad of your own. This is the very best thing you can do to make contact with the Spanish. Do not underestimate the power of the intercambio!

5. Use the Irish Pubs
If you feel like you need to speak to someone in your own language, don’t worry about checking out the Irish Pub scene when you first get to Spain. There will be a host of ex-pats propping up the bar, who can give you great advice about finding flats, work etc.

6. Flat sharing
Find a shared flat with one or more locals. Look at noticeboards in bookshops, colleges, universities etc, ex-pat paper classifieds,… with any luck some of your new flatmates’ social life will rub off on you!

7. Choose a busy city
All of the above will be a lot easier in a big city such as Madrid, Barcelona or Valencia.

8. Join a Spanish class
…in a language academy. Your Spanish will improve, and Spanish classes in Spain tend to be full of people from all over the world that have just moved to Spain for the long term.

9. If in real doubt, use a relocation service
Some of them are very personal and friendly, and will help you to find a flat, and to orientate you in your new surroundings. I met the owner of one, “Easy Landing“, on a plane to the UK - seems highly recommendable!

10. Find a Spanish bar to call your own
Been in a real, typical Spanish bar and felt quite at home? Make it your local. Pop in regularly for a coffee, caña, or menu del dia. The barmen/waiters will soon come to recognise you and make you feel more at home.
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Old 25th October 2006, 07:13 PM   #2
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Default another tip

To give yourself the best chance of making your new life permanent, I think it is really important to give yourself a break now and again. What with the language and paperwork and dislocation and poverty, you need to recognise that it is a huge undertaking, mentally. Not every day can lead to some great leap in understanding or other achievement. Don't be too hard on yourself.

Sometimes you just have to accept that it's the day for hiding under a blanket at home and watching English DVDs with a glass or two of wine. There is no shame in this. Your brain needs a rest.

The next day you will feel ready to carry on again with the fight.
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Old 25th October 2006, 09:34 PM   #3
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Good point. I had a night in watching English language DVDs after 2 weeks! I'll try not to duplicate the point, but it's worth it!
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Old 25th October 2006, 10:17 PM   #4
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i must have missed an entry from you, but it looks like your location is back in Scotland?

I just got back from Glasgow this weekend as it happens.

So how was your time in Spain? Do you feel like you learnt much from it? Let me know if you've already gone through this in another post.

Hope it proved to be a good trip
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Old 18th March 2008, 12:21 PM   #5
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This is a great summary. I would like to add one point if I may:

Lose your fear of talking to people. People love it when you make the effort to speak in their language, and talking is a very important part of the Spanish culture.

At some point, you might come across someone who makes fun of your accent for instance. In this case it is very easy: this person is not worth knowing, ignore them. Unless it is your boss of course...
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Old 2nd October 2008, 09:52 PM   #6
Glen D
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Default Tips

A couple of other tips

If applying for jobs on infojobs do not be afraid to apply for jobs that seem to be beyond your qualifications or experience if they are looking for an English speaking. The fact that you are a native speaker is often something that sells you better than any qualifications. Spain is a country with more university graduates than almost any other country in Europe so many jobs request qualifications that are not really required to be able to do the job. I have a fantastic job with an outsourcing company simply because they needed to show their British client that there would be cultural understanding of their company.

If you are moving to Galicia, Catalunya, Valencia or the Basque country make the effort to learn some of the local language as well as Spanish. A little goes a long way and the local authorities often provide free classes.

Join an Intercambio group as well as doing 1 to 1 intercambios. this allows you to meet both Spanish people and Expats as well as meeting more people overall. You can find these groups advertised in local magazines as well as on loquo. In Barcelona the following group is great -

Let flatmates look for you - I and other friends have had much more success by advertising ourselves and what we were looking for on sites such as loquo. You will find yourself inundated with replies and will often even get offers of a discount if you are prepared to speak English with your new flatmates for a few hours a week. You should always though agree the price to include all utilities and make sure you agree the maximum amount of people who will live in the flat.
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Old 2nd October 2008, 10:00 PM   #7
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Great advice, Glen! Welcome to this forum. Hope you will become a regular.
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Old 21st February 2009, 11:19 AM   #8
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I'm a firm believer in that the appearance or form of money (e.g. plastic, coins, cash, etc.) will affect greatly how you spend it. Since the cash in Spain looks like Monopoly money and there are coins worth over two dollars apiece, be cautious with your spending. I was a bit naive my first time around and budgeted rather poorly because I didn't think twice about things like 5 euro cab rides to cover what was really within walking distance or 2 euro phone calls just to let somebody know I was on my way.

It can be extremely difficult to experience a culture whose social life is so vibrant and maintain a frugal lifestyle. That being said, it is entirely possible to cut your time abroad short because you nickle and dimed your way back to the US.
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Old 24th March 2009, 03:43 PM   #9
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Default Networking in Valencia (Val-Net)

Hola, I am a Scottish woman who moved to Valencia 1/2 years ago and am loving it !. Although I do miss my pals and family back home. They are thankfully keen to travel and last year we had 70 visitors !.
I have started up a Meetup group for Business Networking if anyone is interested our first lunch is this Friday and will be monthly thereafter. A great way to meet people and help build up contacts to help you in business. If anyone is interested look up Val-Net or post me a thread. I'm not sure if I am allowed to put the address?.
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Old 15th June 2009, 05:42 PM   #10
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Default re: another tip

I feel the physical (ok, perhaps that's a slight exaggeration on my part...) exhaustion when I try to read an entire article/story/thread in Spanish, so 'Thank You!' for this:

Originally Posted by Steve W View Post
Sometimes you just have to accept that it's the day for hiding under a blanket at home and watching English DVDs with a glass or two of wine. There is no shame in this. Your brain needs a rest.
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Old 24th June 2009, 02:21 PM   #11
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Thanks so much for this wonderful assimilation guide and for the great resources. I wish I had something like this when I was living in Rome!
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Old 20th October 2009, 02:35 PM   #12
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These are really great tips! I think these sort of recommendations can be applied to anyone moving to a foreign country where they don't know anyone. I think the hardest part for a lot of people is meeting other people to socialize with, and make friends. I agree that a good way to meet others is to get involved in as many activities as you can- join a Spanish class, a dance class, whatever your hobbies are. Language classes are particularly useful if you wish to meet other international people.
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