What to do when you are hungry for adventure or craving a new life or opportunities? Going away and starting somewhere entirely new is what most people dream about, but not very many people do. Today my dear friend Claudia, a fierce young creative and entrepreneur shares her story. She will tell you about the journey that took her from Amsterdam to Valencia in Spain. And shares some musthave insider tips!
Almost a year ago, I packed my bags and left Amsterdam for a warmer, more tropical location: Spain. And when my dear friend Roos asked me to write a guest post about it for her blog, I couldn’t be more excited. After all, what’s cooler than moving abroad? Writing about it and sharing it with others, of course! There is so much to say, about so many things. For so many years, I told myself “One day, I will move abroad!”. It took me a while, but in the end, I did it.
I had been dreaming about Spain for a long time. I’ve always had a passion for the language, I’m familiair with the culture and know many people from there. But, I don’t really like to admit it, I was a bit culture shocked. There are so many things that are different when you move to a different country. Culture, urban design, food, opening hours, housing, costs of living, work etc. I though I was prepared, but I wasn’t really as it turned out.
Finding an apartment
When I first came to Spain, I stayed at a hostel. It took me about five full days to find a ‘piso’ (apartment). At first, I expected it to take a day or three, so it took a bit longer than I thought. Since by day six I started work, it was quite stressful. In the end, I found a nice apartment that I shared with three others, all from different countries. There are many website to look for an apartment, but don’t expect to hear back from everyone.
Now I’m pretty sure that you’re all familiair with the phenomenon ‘siesta’. Since the Spanjards have invented the midday nap and their traditions are pretty much sacred to them, you will find that many shops, museums etc. are closed around lunch time. Most of them are closed from 14:00 until at least 16:00 or sometimes even 17:00. This sometimes can be very tricky if you’re in a hurry to get something, I’ve been there. On the other end, most shops are open until 21:00, every day of the week, which is actually pretty nice.
Costs of living
The costs of living are a lot lower than in northern European countries. As I said, rent is a lot lower than what I’m used to. But besides that, many foods are grown in Spain, which make them cheaper. If you want to go out to eat, there are many cheap options. For example, the other day I had a complete lunch menu (two dishes and a desert or cup of coffee/tea) and one drink for under €10. Any additional drink was €1, I believe. In Amsterdam, €10 is just about what you pay for one dish, drinks not included. Public transport is ridiculously cheap, by the way: for tram and metro rides, you pay less than €8, which is not even 80 cents per ride. The same for bus rides, those are only a couple of cents more expensive.
Some things I found out about jobs in Spain: finding jobs is hard. The Spanish can’t find them, so don’t expect that you will. If you don’t master the language, but your English is good, you will probably succeed in hostels, hotels or any other touristic company. But other than that, options are scarce. If you want to get a good job, try to get transferred through your current job and make sure you have skills that not many other people have.
If you’re good with languages, translation is always an option. Me, I work as a freelancer and I know many other people who do that (in fields as social media/marketing, psychology, business development or people who run their own company from a distance). If your English is good, you can always start teaching English or even your own language (French and German are popular). People can’t find jobs, so more and more Spanish people want to learn these languages to move abroad or gain more skills, so there are options there.
Claudia is a creative translator & copywriter and currently lives in Valencia. Follow her amazing Instagram GirlOnTheMove.
Stay tuned for next weeks article, where Claudia tells you more about the Spanish lifestyle and her adventures.