Spain is one of the most beautiful countries in all of Europe. There is something magical about it that you can feel even when you simply utter the words. The language, the culture, the natural beauty, and the architecture are all stunning, spectacular, and mystifying at the same time. However, the problem is that we all hear about just how costly it is to live or travel to Europe these days.
The Euro is a powerful currency that probably puts your local currency to shame, thus making it a lot harder to stretch a dollar. But what if you landed a job that paid you in Euros? That might just be the best way to keep your dream of touring Spain and Europe alive. However it isn’t always as easy as that……. is it?
What can you expect in Spain? What is the cost of living in Spain? What sorts of jobs are available out there? Let’s get right into it.
For starters, let us take a quick look at some of the things you need to know, and need to take care of before shifting your life to Spain and moving abroad. You already know that the language of the land is Spanish, (If you don’t then maybe this isn’t the destination you should be headed to, but that is beside the point) but there are quite a few other factors to consider.
The Essential Things that you need to Know before Moving to Spain
Without knowing basic Spanish don’t even think of moving to Spain. It is the first thing that you need to learn. You may be able to get by without it, but it is going to be a struggle. This doesn’t mean that you have to be fluent or a natural Don Juan, but at least grab a book and some audio tapes and lay down the groundwork. Spanish for Dummies is a great starter point and once you have the basics down, everything should flow nicely when you are submerged in the language and the culture.
Apply for a Spanish Visa
You will need to get a Spanish visa from the Spanish consulate in your country. It is advisable that you find yourself a full time or part time job before applying for a Spanish work visa. The company you are working for can help you get through the process, and the all the steps are hastened quite drastically.
Find a Place to Live
This cannot be missed; you have to find a good place to live in Spain. You can contact some rental apartments via the internet and get a place booked in the city or town of your choice. There are quite a few options, and you can leave it until you get there if you want. However the added stress of not having a place to lay your head at night can turn your venture into quite a headache.
Renew your Driver’s License/Passport
If any of these two is nearing expiry then you ought to rush to renew them. Your current driver’s license can be easily converted into an international license which will make it a lot easier to get around. However if it is expired you will be SOL. On top of that you will be stuck with major problems if your passport expires during your extended stay in Spain. Renewing it at home is a lot easier than renewing your passport abroad.
Being in Spain you need proper health insurance. As an expat you can opt to use either your existing national health insurance policy, via some international arrangements, or you can choose to apply for a policy with a reputable Spanish Insurance company. While it may seem like a drain on your bank account at the time, the peace of mind health insurance offers is well worth it.
It will make thing quite a bit easier if you can get your hands on a vehicle in order to get around in Spain. There is public transportation but it can be quite a hassle and taxis are incredible pricey. You can choose to bring your car abroad with you but there are some good deals to be found by just looking around once you have relocated to Spain.
Possible Job Opportunities in Spain
If you are not starting a business and don’t happen to be sitting on a massive nest egg, then you are going to need a job in Spain to pay for your living expenses. Some of the jobs that English-speaking expats can apply for are listed below with their expected salaries. Of course these salaries can vary and change quite often, but this will give you a good general idea.
The most common job for a non-EU expat is to be an English teacher. The job pays anything between €800 and €2,000 on a monthly basis. Your salary will depend greatly on your previous experience, qualifications, and credentials. There are a number of places you can look into that are constantly looking for English teachers such as public and private schools, universities and even business firms.
The IT sector in Spain is on the rise and demand for skilled IT professionals is growing constantly. A person skilled in programming, system management, and other IT skills can get anything between €2000 and €4200 per month depending on their credentials. These jobs are also posted and advertised in a number of places.
There are also a number of opportunities that lay in other sectors like journalism, hospitality, and tourism. The pay in these fields is also very competitive with the salaries you would find at home. Your salary will almost immediately increase if you are bilingual or can come up with an impressive grasp of Spanish before heading abroad.
Cost of Living in Spain
This is one of the major concerns for most expats moving to Spain. The good news is that compared to other spots in Europe, Spain is still a relatively cheap country to live. According to a survey, on average a couple needs to spend €644 per month as their living expenses. The cost of housing is still less than what is found in the UK. Average rental rates for property in non-tourist places is around 3%-4% of the property’s value while in tourist places, it is as high as 7%. This is in direct correlation with the fact that salaries are higher in the more populated areas as well though.
If you are looking to buy a home in Spain then you should expect to pay mortgage rates of around 6% when it comes to interest. That is pretty viable considering some of the things that are going on in real estate these days. Gas prices and utilities have gone up recently and after a one time deposit of €25, a monthly bill of €15 for gas can be incurred.
For a couple they can expect monthly food expenses to hover in between €300-€350 per month. This figure of course changes based on eating habits, but it is a good sign overall as produce and other items are relatively affordable in Spain. Phone bills and satellite television bills are high because of the Telefonica monopoly. There isn’t any competition in the market, thus you are pretty much stuck with the only option that is there. Your best bet is to use the internet to watch television, and stick to Skype. Although you probably knew that already being the savvy traveler you are.
Making the Move to Spain
Just as it would be with any move to a different country there is a lot for you to plan and prepare for when considering living and working in Spain. While there are some beautiful sights, an invigorating culture, and a number of opportunities, it is going to be quite a bit different than what you are used to. While there are a number of expats and even locals that speak English, you are going to be a lot better off if you learn the language.
It will be easier to get around, easier to get a job, and easier to become accustomed to your new lifestyle. Unlike places like Costa Rica which have been turned into a haven for retirees and foreigners, Spain has held tightly to tradition. That may just be why it is such an attractive destination for many.
Study the culture, get in touch with anyone you know that may have been to Spain before ,and prepare yourself as much as you can. You are entering a new part of the world and a new stage of your life. This is a huge change but if you plan properly, moving to Spain could be a rewarding journey of a lifetime.