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Where to go in Spain / recommendations?

Where to go in Spain / recommendations?

Old Dec 28th 2004, 7:23 pm
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Default Where to go in Spain / recommendations?

Well, I've been lurking here for a while, but this is my first post. Just after a few pointers from anyone in the know...

I plan to move to Spain next year, hopefully in the next 6 months. My main problem is that I don't have any major personal preference for where to go in the country, and I need to start focussing my efforts in finding work and accommodation.

I'm 29, single, and currently work in the I.T. / internet sector. I don't have a lot of capital behind me - enough for deposits, etc but not a lot beyong that. I will be renting rather than buying to begin with, however. Work-wise, I'd prefer to continue working in IT in the long term, but I don't mind taking up bar / catering work if I have to in the short term (though I have little experience of that). I prefer warm weather, and I'd prefer being near Spanish culture - I'm no fan of the English bar style of some holiday resorts. My Spanish is fairly basic - enough for standard daily conversation, but not much beyond that yet. I'm very willing to learn, and I'm sure it'll improve rapidly once I'm over there.

So far, I have a rough idea of *maybe* Barcelona - I'm scouting thanks to some cheap flights next month - and I did have some job interest around Malaga/Gibraltar when I put my CV online. I've used a few online job sites, such as www.infojobs.net, and Barcelona looks to be easiest for my field, but I've heard it's an expensive place to live. I'm just not sure, and I'd welcome any hints, especially from any of you guys already living there.

Also, what'sthe best way to do things? Do you think it's best to get all the work, accommodation, etc sorted before going, or is it best to get a month or two's living costs together then just take the plunge?

Last edited by moleman; Dec 28th 2004 at 7:26 pm.
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Old Dec 29th 2004, 7:49 am
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Default Re: Where to go in Spain / recommendations?

Hi Moleman,

Phew...where to start. If you've got a bit of cash already, I suggest just hopping on a plane and sort out job & digs when you arrive. If you can survive for a while without the need to work,all the better.

The problem with Barcelona,something many people overlook, is that it is in Catalonia and all of them speak Catalan. Now, all Catalans are bilingual but their level of Castillian Spanish varies depending on how "deep" into Catalonia you are - if one's everyday speech is in Catalan, then in many cases their Spanish is far from perfect. That said, terrific area to go to and you should have no trouble finding work especially given your background. Just be aware that it will extremely confusing for you when trying to pick up the lingo if two languages, not too dissimilar to each other but definitely different languages, are being spoken all around you. I started life in Catalonia but didn't hone my Spanish until I left the region.

Barcelona is a good transitional place for a young person leaving the bright lights of the UK for a completely new country, new culture. Barcelona is one of the most "open" and cosmopolitan places in Spain - a true European city and can be seen as a good stepping stone between Europe and traditional Spain. As for it being expensive - well, it's not the cheapest place but you can live there quite easily on a low salary which probably won't apply to you working in the IT field. Renting in a shared flat or house should cost you in the region of 300-400 € a month (cheaper and more expensive can be found) or if you prefer your own pad (an expensive option for someone just starting out) set aside at least 700 € (lower if you're out of town). Even in a crappy Barcelona job you should expect to pull in around 1000 € a month after taxes, though in your field you should be able to find something nearer to 1500 €. Don't expect good money at the beginning - you could be an IT whiz in the UK but you have yet to prove yourself in Spain so expect to start at the bottom.

If you want to work in IT and pick up Spanish, stick to the major cities. After Barcelona, Madrid is the obvious choice but here you will need good Spanish to work in any company - there are a few businesses who choose English as their working language but these same businesses are, in my experience, reluctant to take on anybody with less than upper-intermediate Spanish. Here, your problem with climate kicks in. Whilst absolutely scorching in summer, winter is FREEZING!!! In fact, I would say that it is even colder than in the UK, although not as damp. In winter, every night the temperature falls below zero and daytime temps are generally between 5 and 10º.

So you look south. Malaga is a problem because the whole area is saturated with the type of ex-pat community you said you wanted to avoid. But don't write that off immediately. Where there is a region with high ex-pat community, there tends to be a lot more business and with it job opportunities.

Seville would be perfect - it has the climate, it must be the most traditionally Spanish city in Spain, and the ex-pat community is different to the one you say you wish to avoid as they will all be people like yourself i.e. foreigners working in Spanish companies. One snag - Seville doesn't usually have that many job opportunities in comparison to other cities.

Then there's the up and coming area around the Huelvan Costa de la Luz near the Algarve border. Absolutley traditional Spanish as most locals can't speak a word of any other language, not TOO many expats and tourists....yet! It's a nice balance and promises to stay that way for a considerable time. Most of all, if you've got a bit of get up and go in you,there a plenty of opportunities here for someone with your background.

We might be looking for someone in the near future for our newspaper so you might want to send a CV for us to look at.

Hope this has helped, despite the rambling!!!!!!
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Old Dec 29th 2004, 3:31 pm
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Default Re: Where to go in Spain / recommendations?

Hi moleman,

Welcome !

I live about 20 miles from Malaga and find this area to offer a very good balance of both commercial and relaxation opportunities. I would disagree with the rather sweeping 'saturated' description of the previous contribution, although I do agree that the coast is certainly foreigner-land !

As you would be coming here for the first time, you may find it a little daunting if you were to appear in areas where there are few foreigners, which may put you off a little. However, if you arrived at Malaga, you would certainly have the chance of experiencing a wide selection of the many different lifestyles on offer in this area.

From an employment point of view, this part of Andalucia can offer many different work possibilities, albeit many seasonal.

Its very much a case of horses for courses. If you give us a little more information about yourself and be a more precise about what you want out of your Spanish life, I'm sure more advice would be offered; probably more than you want !

In any event, I would counsel against the 'jump on a plane.....' way of doing things. Do lots of research, and then more....

The area is littered with those who have just 'jumped on a plane..... ' and ended up disillusioned and on a plane back from whench they came!

However, get things right, and this area offers lots of possibilities, its a wonderful part of Spain, IMHO !

Good luck !
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Old Dec 29th 2004, 7:17 pm
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Default Re: Where to go in Spain / recommendations?

Wow!!! I didn't expect that much info! Thanks for the effort guys, that gives me a few things to think about at least...

I'm definitely thinking southern areas - I know someone who spent time in Madrid, and it sounds great, just not somewhere I'd necessarily want to live! Anyway, I managed to book a flight for £30 return (thanks sales!) in a special offer so I'll be in Barcelona for a few days and I'll start my search from that end. I wish I had a few more savings, but I don't mind starting from the bottom!

Anyway thanks for the tips, I'll definitely keep the Catalan differences in mind...
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Old Jan 3rd 2005, 1:48 pm
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Default Re: Where to go in Spain / recommendations?

Originally Posted by moleman
Wow!!! I didn't expect that much info! Thanks for the effort guys, that gives me a few things to think about at least...

I'm definitely thinking southern areas - I know someone who spent time in Madrid, and it sounds great, just not somewhere I'd necessarily want to live! Anyway, I managed to book a flight for £30 return (thanks sales!) in a special offer so I'll be in Barcelona for a few days and I'll start my search from that end. I wish I had a few more savings, but I don't mind starting from the bottom!

Anyway thanks for the tips, I'll definitely keep the Catalan differences in mind...
Moleman, just before you get too excited about what you´ve been told about jobs and lifestyle of Barcelona, I thought I´d give you a few additional comments. Salaries here are not anywhere near 1,500 euros per month, regardless of whether it´s IT or anything else. I know very well qualified people with several languages and they barely earn 1,000 less taxes - in fact, 800 per month seems the going rate. People seem to think that just because you are in IT it´s not necessary to communicate in the indigenous language, this is not true - there are plenty of out of work Catalans and Spaniards with good English who you will be competing with. Bar work is 10 a penny and you may be lucky to get 3-4 euros an hour and have to work very long hours.

Barcelona is a great city but under it´s beautiful exterior there are many problems, just like other popular destinations, such as high crime and mass immigration etc. The beach may be a stones throw away but without quality of life it´s not that big a deal. I would really check it out and meet as many people as you can, go to the big job agencies here such as Manpower and Ranstad (although compared to the UK, they are not very pro active at finding people work, especially if you are foreign).

Unemployment here is nearly the highest in Europe so that should give you some idea of the economic difficulties here. Just because you come from the UK and speak English this doesn´t open doors I´m afraid and unless your Spanish is perfect (and in some cases they require Catalan as well) it´ll be virtually impossible to find an okay job with a basic salary - sorry to be a downer, but this really is the case.

I would say, come over here, do your homework, be realistic and enjoy the adventure - just don´t burn any bridges in the process. Good luck for 2005!!
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Old Sep 14th 2005, 12:31 am
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Default Re: Where to go in Spain / recommendations?

Originally Posted by pain-in-spain
Moleman, just before you get too excited about what you´ve been told about jobs and lifestyle of Barcelona, I thought I´d give you a few additional comments. Salaries here are not anywhere near 1,500 euros per month, regardless of whether it´s IT or anything else. I know very well qualified people with several languages and they barely earn 1,000 less taxes - in fact, 800 per month seems the going rate. People seem to think that just because you are in IT it´s not necessary to communicate in the indigenous language, this is not true - there are plenty of out of work Catalans and Spaniards with good English who you will be competing with. Bar work is 10 a penny and you may be lucky to get 3-4 euros an hour and have to work very long hours.

Barcelona is a great city but under it´s beautiful exterior there are many problems, just like other popular destinations, such as high crime and mass immigration etc. The beach may be a stones throw away but without quality of life it´s not that big a deal. I would really check it out and meet as many people as you can, go to the big job agencies here such as Manpower and Ranstad (although compared to the UK, they are not very pro active at finding people work, especially if you are foreign).

Unemployment here is nearly the highest in Europe so that should give you some idea of the economic difficulties here. Just because you come from the UK and speak English this doesn´t open doors I´m afraid and unless your Spanish is perfect (and in some cases they require Catalan as well) it´ll be virtually impossible to find an okay job with a basic salary - sorry to be a downer, but this really is the case.

I would say, come over here, do your homework, be realistic and enjoy the adventure - just don´t burn any bridges in the process. Good luck for 2005!!

i bought 2 young children here 8 mounths agmonth'saga. Alameda. it is lovly not lovely of brits and Brits thing we need'd. ineededan make it..any one can.
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