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Moving to Spain: Important Aspects to Know Before Leaving

by Enrique Jover VelozReading time: 7 min.
Moving to Spain: Important Aspects to Know Before Leaving
Are you considering moving to Spain as an Au Pair
Everyone thinks of toros, tapas and flamenco when it comes to Spain, but obviously, this country of 46 million inhabitants has much more to offer. Your stay in Spain will be as amazing as you can imagine, but it can be even better if you are aware of some things beforehand. Read the article below to discover some of Spain's secrets.

About the Spaniards…. 

When you meet Spanish people the first important thing you have to keep in mind is that people greet each other with kisses on the cheeks. While in some countries you greet with your hand and in others you give a single kiss, in Spain you give each other two. The truth is that Spaniards are used to keep less personal space. Therefore, don't worry if you notice people getting close to you, although it may be shocking at first.
Punctuality is not a character trait of people in Spain. You should always allow an extra half hour when meeting with Spaniards, as delays are very common. Another deeply rooted custom is the siesta, which is simply a nap taken during the afternoon, after lunch. Many people take it to recharge their batteries for the rest of the day. 
They like to talk a lot and very loudly. You may not see it that way at first because, during first contact, it may not be so easy for them to have a conversation. However, once they feel comfortable, they won't stop talking. In addition, they tend to speak noisily, although maybe in reality it is that others speak softly, it depends on how you look at it.
One of the recurring topics of conversation is politics. While in some countries they don't usually talk about it and they don't even know who is, for example, the president of the government, in Spain it is always mentioned everywhere and at any time. 

You should learn Spanish (and maybe other languages)

Learning Spanish is a challenge for many foreigners. And besides, it is worth it. You will have to learn it because in Spain only a few people speak English fluently, although more and more people are studying it. Don´t be afraid of making mistakes while trying to speak because the people in Spain are not strict when it comes to grammatical mistakes. They value the effort and reward it.
However, the challenge can be even greater depending on the area of Spain you go to. The linguistic richness of Spain is vast and there is a great variety of accents. When you have a good level you will be able to communicate with someone from Castilla or Madrid, who speaks, what is considered, neutral Spanish. However, if you go to Andalucía the way of speaking is very distinct and it will be a different and new challenge compared to how you have been taught to speak Spanish.
On the other hand, if you go to regions like Catalunya, País Vasco or Galicia you will notice there are even other languages spoken, such as Catalan, Basque and Galician. Except for Basque, the other languages are easy to learn if you know Spanish. However, it is true that, even in these regions, most people speak Spanish.

It is not Hispanic America

Spain is the gateway to Hispanic American culture, the crossroads between Europe and America. Although there is a lot of historical influence and they share a common language, there are big differences. You will have to be careful about using certain expressions that Spaniards may not understand. In addition, the speed at which Spaniards speak is much faster than that of people from the Americas, who speak at a more leisurely pace. That is why many people who learn Spanish say that they understand people from Hispanic America much easier.

Great weather

In Spain, you will get used to seeing the sun very often, although again, obviously, it will depend on the area you move to. Therefore, there will always be parties. You don't have to wait for some famous events like the Seville Fair or San Fermines in Pamplona to find a good celebration.
The good weather favors that there are always people on the street. In fact, Spaniards enjoy spending all day on the street. 
Throughout the year, but especially during the summer, if you are lucky enough to be on the coast, close to a beach, you can take a good dip in the seawater or simply take a walk. Undoubtedly, Spain is one of the best destinations in Europe and the world in this sense.

Affordable and good

If low costs are important to you, Spain is a great choice. It is one of the cheapest countries in the European Union. There, you can eat without spending a lot of money and  you can enjoy a great taste. Even in many places, just for having ordered a drink, they give you the famous tapa, which consists of a small portion of food for free.
Spanish gastronomy is very varied and therefore you can enjoy great fish andmeat as well as vegetarian dishes. The people of Spain do not confine themselves to a single dish and they really like to eat well.
Despite the fact that Spanish people like to drink a lot, it is forbidden to consume alcoholic beverages in the streets. However, if you are in a bar or restaurant you can drink without any problem.
If you want to adapt to the Spanish lifestyle, you also have to consider that you do not have lunch or dinner as early as in most countries. They usually eat lunch after 2:00 p.m. and normally  they don't have dinner before 9:00 p.m which is something unthinkable for people from other countries. You will be able to see how the Spaniards are having a snack while the tourists are having dinner.

Soccer is the king of sports 

Soccer is the undisputed king of sports in Spain. If you are a fan of this sport, you could try to attend a Real Madrid or FC Barcelona match, two of the best football clubs in the world. In addition, the other teams are also world-famous. The Spanish league is one of the most followed competitions in the world. Other sports also have a good fan base, but soccer rules and mobilizes everything.

Many places to visit

Spain is one of the countries with the most monuments declared World Heritage Sites. Furthermore, not everything is concentrated in main cities like Madrid and Barcelona, in this sense. Spain has a vast and interesting history in which numerous cities and towns have played a leading role. Thirteen of its cities are considered World Heritage Cities, including Toledo, Ávila, Tarragona, Córdoba, Alcalá de Henares, etc. Every corner of Spain surely holds a piece of history and you should plan to discover it.
We hope that you feel better prepared to enjoy your experience as an Au Pair in Spain now. ¡Pásalo bien!
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