Your suitcase is packed, your passport and plane tickets are safely in your pocket, it's almost time to hit the road but you don't want to let your excitement get the best of you and forget any important things, so it’s time to do a quick double check.
There are lots of things to consider before moving abroad to another country to make sure your plan goes exactly as you dreamed. To make this happen, here are some of the top things to think about before you make the move to Spain.
Where to go?
The first thing you have to do is secure your soon-to-be new home. It’s important to have a good feeling about your new house, so you should take your time hunting for the perfect place. After all, it’s about to be your new home away from home.
In Spain, finding a flat requires bags of patience. Take a deep breath and start a careful and meticulous research process. First ask yourself and your family the where, what, why and how. After getting answers to your list of questions, look for your home. The two main property search websites used in Spain are:
Top tip: Try to find the ideal place before you set foot on the plane. If you wait until you land, the process could be even harder and you may find yourself having to stay in a hotel or fork out on an AirBnB whilst you find your new pad. IMPORTANT: be weary of scam advertisements.
Some expats would say that meeting people is the easiest part of moving to another country, but making real friends can be tough. That said, you don't need to panic because when you make a Spanish friend, he or she will be glad to show you around, introduce you to his or her friends, and even help out with any bureaucracy (heads up, there’s quite a lot of paperwork to handle, but fret not, check out our free guide on obtaining your Foreigner’s ID number (NIE) to make the process that little bit easier. If you’re coming from a non-EU country and are required to present proof of private insurance, then check out Caser Adapta + Sonrisa health insurance, which provides you with an official certificate valid for NIE, visa and residency applications.
First, you need to learn about their culture and not be scared by the gregarious nature of lots of Spaniards they're not shouting at you, that's just how they talk.
If you are ready to live abroad, you have to be like a sponge, absorbing as much information as you can from Spanish traditions and then putting it to use to form bonds with others. Also, and this is very important, never say no to “let's get a caña” or to “let’s go for coffee”. A strong friendship can spark from these two simple invitations.
If you have read our previous posts, you’ll have seen that we talk a lot about learning the local language. Not only Spanish but also Catalán, Gallego o Euskera, it just depends on which city you decide to live.
It’s important to bear in mind that lots of Spaniards don't speak English or any foreign language and that hey are proud of their castellano.
We suggest developing the basics of the Spanish language before you even buy your flight. It will definitely make things easier once you get here.
When are we going to eat?
Many expats, at one time or another, have asked themselves, “when is it time for food?” You should be prepared for a change of eating habits, as lots of Spaniards don't eat at the same time as you normally do.
Even breakfast is different. They tend to drink a cup of coffee or juice (maybe a cookie) first thing in the morning and then at 11am they will stop whatever they're doing and have a more substantial breakfast. Lunchtime is also a different story - they can start at 3 or 4 if necessary.
Don't worry, you will get used to this, but it might be a good idea to always have something in your bag in case your stomach starts rumbling before the next meal.
You have to love the fiestas
Spain is one of the countries with the most holidays in the world. They even celebrate a few more from other cultures such as Halloween.
Feria de abril, Easter, Las Fallas in Valencia, giant annual tomatoes fight, you name it. So prepare your wallet and your stomach because you are definitely going to be surrounded by tasty food and great opportunities to travel.
Keep in touch
Getting to know your new city and meeting people is part of the process of moving, but it's also important to always stay connected with your friends and family you left back home.
Lots of expats say that, at first, the idea of being homesick never crossed their minds when making the decision to live abroad. After a while, though, they realise that being homesick is just like any other sickness - it’s natural and we all can suffer from it at one stage or another.
There will be times when you ask yourself if it was the right choice, but a quick call home to speak to your family and friends will give you that support to keep going and not to stop at anything.Packing up and moving to another country can be one of the biggest decisions of your life, so it’s crucial you do your homework before taking the plunge and research the stream of things to consider before moving abroad. Just remember, effort and bravery reap rewards. Good luck with the move.