Whether you’re moving to Spain or have already arrived, getting settled can be quite a hassle. From language barriers and immigration issues, to setting up a bank account and finding a home, job and friends, sometimes you just want a local or friend to show you the ropes and steer you in the right direction. That’s exactly why we’ve compiled this list of the best Spanish blogs and websites to make your life a whole lot easier. Enjoy!
Working & Living in Spain
If you are planning on staying here for good and can’t quite figure out how to go about it yourself, you may want to visit the following website: Spain Guru, a portal created by three professional women from the US who are working together to help non-EU/EEA citizens by providing general information on work visas, residency, etc.
Spain Guru is definitely our go-to place when it comes to immigration and paperwork in general. If you have questions regarding how to be legalized (regularizado) in Spain, switch from student residency to work residency, marry your Spanish partner, or get the return permit (autorización de regreso) while your papers are being renewed, etc., you’re sure to find your answers here. They also hold many informative talks and events, so do check their site and Facebook page as often as you can!
You’ll most likely need officially sworn translations into Spanish if you’re planning on getting residency and permission to work here. Contact our friends at Rodmell House Language Consulting if you do!
Dealing with Spanish red tape can be very difficult and time-consuming. After all these years, it’s not even easy for us; however, it’s not as difficult as you might think and a lot of the processes can now be done online (¡por fin!). You will need the following websites to get appointments or download official forms:
Seguridad Social (Social Security)
Hacienda (Spanish Tax Office)
Once you’re in the country, there is one simple step that you absolutely must take: empadronamiento. It is a municipal housing register (for everyone, Spaniards and non-Spaniards alike, whether legal or illegal), similar to an electoral roll. Here are the main City Hall websites in which you will find the information on how to getempadronado:
You’ll also need a bank account and NIE (national identity card), so check out previous posts here:
How to get your NIE number
Great online bank account options for expats in Spain
Now that we’ve figured out the residency ordeal, how do you find work? From our experience, the best option is, like anywhere else, through networking. Go to as many entrepreneur gatherings and business-inspired parties as possible to meet people and get your name out there (refer to SpainGuru mentioned above).
In the meantime, you can also try the following sites:
Native English speakers (but not limited to English speakers, really, you can also be native in French, German, Chinese or whatever language in demand) have an advantage when it comes to earning some extra cash in Spain. There are plenty of people looking for private classes (for both themselves and their children) and/or conversations in English and other languages. The following two websites will help you find clients and intercambio de idiomas(or language exchange) partners:
Also see Facebook & Networking groups below to find out about other job opportunities.
The best way to learn Spanish is to sign up for group activities in which Spaniards are involved, i.e. dance classes, football clubs, hiking groups, etc., and live with a Spanish roommate. One of Madrid’s most popular English language blogs, Naked Madrid, did a nice write-up on the city’s best public pools, gyms and group fitness activities. Check it out here: “Best Places to Break a Sweat in Madrid". Another great site to find out about group activities is meetup.com.
If you want to sign up for Spanish courses, get in touch with our friends at Rodmell House Language Consulting, a language school where classes are taught by young instructors (in person or via Skype), who focus on helping students gain confidence in speaking, learn everyday expressions and above all, have fun in class. As mentioned above, they also offer sworn translations, which come in handy.
Another popular way to brush up on your Spanish conversation skills is through intercambios (language exchanges). As many Spaniards want to learn English, the common practice is to meet up once or twice a week at a bar. You both speak for 30 min-1 hour in English and then switch into Spanish. It’s a win-win situation and also a great way to get to meet new people (not to mention, lots of people find their significant others this way!) As mentioned above, the best site to find a language exchange partner is lingobongo.com.
International Nights, Parties & Pub Quizzes in Madrid:
Internations (weekly parties around the city at rather upscale places)
Lola 09 (international language exchanges on Tuesdays in Chueca)
J&J’s (pub quizzes on Friday nights in an international bookstore/café)
Beerlingual (bilingual pub quiz on Thursday nights in La Latina)
CouchSurfing (lots of international events around the city)
Best English-language Blogs in Spain
Your fellow expats are oftentimes your best guides since they have first-hand experiences that will most likely happen to you, too. Many of them are active bloggers, who offer practical info and advice, ranging from cultural tips to the best restaurants, etc.
Devour Food Tour in Madrid, Barcelona and Seville
Facebook & Networking Groups
Another way to connect with your fellow expats is through social media. The most popular Facebook groups are the following:
Spain Immigration and Residency Questions
Auxiliares de conversación Madrid
You’ll also find an active community on meetup.com in Madrid, from hiking and photography groups to entrepreneurial networking groups like Guiripreneurs.
Make sure you join these and interact with others!
Looking for a cosy home in your new city? We at Spotahome can help you locate your perfect home in Spain. You can have a look at all the rooms, studios and flats available on our interactive map at www.spotahome.com, and book your home online before you even arrive in the city. Our ‘runners’ have handpicked and seen each property in person, so rest assured that there will be no surprises once you unpack your bags. Get in touch with us if you have any questions; we’d be happy to hear from you!
Find your new home in: Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville or Granada!
This could be yours:
Looking for more practical info on moving to Spain? Here are some other useful posts:
Great online bank account options for expats in Spain
BiciMAD Madrid: One Expat's Road to Public Bike Rental in Madrid