Ten Mistakes New Language Assistants Make (and how to avoid them + eBook giveaway)

My Spanish now-fiancé couldn’t help but laugh when I looked, puzzled, at our new coffee maker. I was jetlagged, yes, but also coming off six weeks of straight drip machine American coffee. The cafetera had me reconsidering a caffeine boost and swapping it for a siesta.

‘Venga ya,’ he said, exasperated, ‘every time you come back into town, you act like you’re a complete newbie to Spain!’ He twisted off the bottom of the pot, filled it with steaming water and ordered me to unpack.

Even after seven years of calling Spain home, I can so clearly remember the days when everything in Seville was new, terrifying and overwhelming. That time when the prospect of having a conversation with my landlord over the phone meant nervously jotting down exactly what I’d say to him before dialing.

You know my Spain story – graduate, freak out about getting a teaching job in Spain, hassles with my visa, taking a leap by moving to a foreign country where I knew not a soul. How I settled into a profession I swore I never would, found a partner and fought bureaucracy. I’ve come a long way since locking myself in my bedroom watching Arrested Development to avoid Spanish conversation, though each year I get more and more emails from aspiring expats and TEFL teachers who ask themselves the same questions:

Is it all worth it? Is it possible at all? How can I do it?

Like anyone moving to a foreign country, there’s a load of apprehension, endless questions, and a creeping sense of self-doubt as your flight date looms nearer and nearer. I tried and learned the hard way how to do practically everything, from looking for a place to live to paying bills to finding a way to make extra income. Call it dumb luck or call it nagging anyone who would lend a friendly ear, but I somehow managed to survive on meager Spanish and a few nice civil servants (and tapas. Lots of tapas.).

As a settled expat, I am quick to warn people that Spain is not all sunshine and siestas, and that it’s easy to fall into the same traps that got me during that long first year. Year after year, I see language assistants do the same, so let these serve as a warning:

Packing too much

Back in 2007, I packed my suitcase to the brim and even toppled over when I stepped off the train in Granada. Lesson learned – really think about what you’re packing, the practicality of every item and whether or not you could save space by purchasing abroad. If you’re smart about packing, you’ll have loads of room for trendy European fashions to wow your friends back home (and you won’t have to lug luggage up three flights of stairs).

Deciding on an apartment without seeing it

I was so nervous about the prospect of renting an apartment that I found one online, wired money and hoped for the best. Despite my gut telling me it was maybe not the smartest idea, I decided to grin and bear it. I ended staying in that same flat for three years. In hindsight, choosing a flat before seeing it was a stupid move that could have turned out poorly. What if I didn’t like my roommates, or the neighborhood? How could I tell if it was noisy or not? Would my landlords be giant jerks? Save yourself the trouble and worry about finding a place to live when you get here.

Choosing not to stay in touch with loved ones

My first weeks in Spain were dark ones – I struggled to see what my friends and family were up to on Facebook or messenger, and I did a terrible job of staying in touch with them. I was bursting to share my experience, but worried no one would relate, or worse – they simply wouldn’t care. Get over it and Facetime like crazy. That’s what siesta hour was invented for, right? Or at least Skype.

Not bringing enough money

Money is a sticky issue, and having to deal with what my father calls “funny money” makes it more difficult. Remember – even coins can buy you quite a bit! Consider bringing more money than you might think, because things happen. Some regions won’t pay assistants until December, or you may not be able to find tutoring side jobs. Perhaps you will fall in love with an apartment that is more expensive than you bargained for. Having a cushion will ensure you begin enjoying yourself and your new situation right away, without having to turn down day trips or a night out with new friends. 

Not taking time to learn Spanish

Moving is scary. Moving abroad is scarier. Moving abroad without being able to hold your own in the local language is the scariest. Take some time to learn Spanish and practice conversation at whatever cost. Spanish will help you accomplish things as mundane as asking for produce at the market to important situations like making formal complaints. Ah, and that brings me to my next point…

Not interacting with locals

I studied abroad in Valladolid and met not one Spanish person during my six weeks there. While I have great memories with my classmates and adored my host family, I feel that I missed out on what young people did in Spain (and I had trouble keeping up when they did talk to me). In most parts of the country, Spaniards are extremely friendly and open to meeting strangers. Even if it’s the old man having coffee next to you – lose your self-doubt and strike up a conversation. I scored cheaper car insurance just by talking to a lonely man at my neighborhood watering hole.

Adhering to timetables and traditions from your home country

As if adapting to language and a new job weren’t enough, Spain’s weird timetables can throw anyone into a funk. I tried getting a sensible night’s sleep for about two weeks when I started to realize that being in bed before midnight was nearly impossible. If you can’t beat them, siesta with them, I guess.

And that’s not to say you can’t bring your traditions to Spain, either. Making Thanksgiving for your Spanish friends is always memorable, as is dressing up on Halloween and carving watermelons for lack of pumpkins. Embrace both cultures.

Not exercising (and eating too many tapas)

My first weeks in Spain were some of my loneliest, to be honest. I hadn’t connected with others and therefore had yet to made friends. I skipped the gym and ate frozen pizzas daily. My weight quickly bloomed ten pounds. The second I began accepting social invitations and making it a point to walk, I dropped everything and more. Amazing what endorphins and Vitamin D can do!

Not getting a carnet joven earlier

Even someone who works to save money flubs – the carnet joven is a discount card for European residents with discounts on travel, entrance fees and even services around Europe. I waited until I was 26 to get one, therefore disqualifying myself from the hefty discounts on trains. This continent loves young people, so get out there and save!

Working too much

Remember that you’re moving to Spain for something, whether it’s to learn the language, to travel or to invest more time in a hobby. Maybe Spain is a temporary thing, or maybe you’ll find it’s a step towards a long-term goal. No matter what your move means to you, don’t spend all of your waking hours working or commuting – you’ll miss out on all of the wonderful things to do, see and experience in Spain. When I list my favorite things about Spain, the way of life is high on my list!

So how do you avoid these mistakes?

It’s easy: research. I spent hours pouring over blogs, reference books and even travel guides to maximize my year and euros in Spain. While there were bumps in the road, and I had to put my foot in my mouth more times than I’d like to recall, I survived a year in Spain and came back for six more (and counting).

That’s why COMO Consulting has brought out a new eBook to help those of you who are moving to Spain for the first time. In our nine chapter, 110-page book, you’ll find all of the necessary information to get you settled into Spain as seamlessly as possible. In it, we cover all of the documents you’ll need to get a NIE, how to open a bank account, how to seek out the perfect apartment, setting up your internet and selecting a mobile phone and much (much!) more.

Each chapter details all of the pertinent vocabulary you’ll need and we share our own stories of where we went wrong (so hopefully you won’t!). Being an expat means double the challenge but twice the reward, so we’re thrilled to share this book that Hayley and I would have loved to have seven years ago – we might have saved ourselves a lot of embarrassing mishaps! The book is easy to read and downloadable in PDF form, so you can take it on an e-reader, computer or tablet, and there’s the right amount of punch to keep you laughing about the crazy that is Spain.

Downloading Moving to Spain is easy – the button above is linked to COMO’s online shop. Click, purchase thru PayPal, and you’re set! You will receive email notification of a successful purchase and a link to download the eBook. You can also click here.

If you act quickly, you can score Moving to Spain for a discount this week:

         Timetable            Discount          Final Price
Monday, September 1 thru Wednesday, September 3                50%                 5€
Thursday, September 4 thru Friday, September 5                 25%               7,50€
From Saturday September 6                  0%                                            10€ 

 

(note that days are defined as GMT+1)

And get this – I’m giving away TWO of our eBooks, free of charge, to aspiring auxiliares. All you have to do is post a question in the comments, which I will gladly answer, and follow COMO Consulting on social media to win more entries. This contest is a quick one – just 48 hours – so if you don’t win, you can still get the eBook for a discounted price.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As someone who has been there, I know it’s tough to leave a life behind for a new one you know nothing about. But trust me, it’s worth it. You only have one life, why not make la vida española part of it? 

Please remember that intellectual property is just that – this eBook belongs to COMO Consulting Spain, is copyright and should not be duplicated, reproduced or resold. Remember that science project you worked crazy hard on in elementary school, and you beamed when it was over and you were proud? That’s how we feel about Moving to Spain: A Comprehensive Guide to Your First Weeks on the Iberian Peninsula. Gracias!

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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living among pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she wrangles babies at an English Language Academy and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.

Comments

  1. Great tips! The COMO Consulting e-book looks fantastic. I hope loads of Spain newbies download it!
    Kirstie recently posted..How to Save Substantial Money While Rocking the Expat LifeMy Profile

  2. “carving watermelons for lack of pumpkins” LOL great idea.

    Everyone loves Thanksgiving. When I lived in Seville, my friend and I were the only Americans at our Thanksgiving celebration. Holiday traditions are definitely something that many of us tend to miss while overseas, but don’t be afraid to make new holiday memories here. Make your own Christmas tree, join a Thanksgiving potluck. If a local invites you to their house for a holiday dinner, take them up on it. And fyi, while this may seemingly contradict what I just said, if you plan on being here for at least a few years, you’ll probably have at least one…Charlie Brown Christmas-esque holiday. Try not to be too sad, it just happens sometimes.

    Working too much is the main mistake I’m still making, I just *really* started trying to change that last week. As Cat said, you’re here for a reason (or quite a few reasons). Just yesterday, I was reflecting on what happened and didn’t happen during this year in Madrid so I can figure out how to make next year better.
    Revé recently posted..HiatusMy Profile

  3. Great blog post as always, Cat! Your blog is one of the main ones I consistently read before I can apply to work in Spain.
    This summer I looked up apartments in Sevilla, just to see what is out there, but I think your advice would be smarter to wait until I’m actually there to worry about any living situations.
    Keep enjoying Spain! Abrazos
    Hilary recently posted..No es adios, es hasta luegoMy Profile

  4. Great post, and I will get the eBook regardless of if I win or not. I can’t believe I leave for Spain in two weeks from today!!! Do you recommend living with Spanish, American, or roommates of other nationalities? Also, as far as exercise goes do most people do it in gyms or out in public? I run a lot, and when I studied in Granada 4 years ago, I don’t remember many people running outside.
    Mike of Mapless Mike recently posted..A Weekend Tour of MilwaukeeMy Profile

  5. This books looks great! Hope I win, but if not I’ll have to purchase it:) Thanks for sharing all your lessons learned with us! I am wondering about purchasing a smartphone..I am slow to catch up on technology so I’ve only recently started using one here in the US, but it’s a cheap one that I don’t like at all & is starting to not work so am not bringing it with me. Is it okay if I wait until I go and purchase one there? I’m not concerned about it being the latest iPhone or anything, just want something functional!

    • Hi Helen! Thanks for the compliment. We ourselves are really proud of the book!

      Smartphones are extremely popular in Spain – I think my boyfriend is the only Spaniard who doesn’t have one! You can use whatsapp to save money on calls and texts. Certaiinly bring your smartphone with you for emergencies, but when you arrive and get settled, I’d suggest heading to Phone House to check out what they have. Even without a contract, you can pay a monthly fee towards the cost of a phone (usually between 5 and 20 euros). I had my phone stolen a few years back and got an HTC smartphone for about 150 euros. Stung at the time, but I needed it!

      If you end up not winning, I’d venture to guess the book would be worthwhile because the phone and internet chapter is LOOOONG! Good luck, and enjoy!

    • If there’s a fnac store near you, they have their own range of smartphones. I bought one a couple weeks ago for 129e.

  6. Hi Cat! Thanks for posting about the book, it looks great! I have about three weeks until I leave for my first year. It seems like the first few weeks in Spain are going to be pretty busy between finding an apartment, setting up a phone plan, setting up a bank account, and applying for an NIE. What would you say is the first and most important thing to set up upon arriving? Thanks again!

    • Hi Kristy, thanks for reading! I’m sure you must be nervous but excited to start your life in Spain.

      The most important thing when you step off the plane is getting something to get used to the timetables, but after that, concentrate on finding a place to leave so you can store your things, have a place to relax when you’re overwhelmed, and so you can start meeting a few people to show you the ropes. You’ll also need a padrón, which is like a civil registry certificate, to get your NIE, which you’ll then need to get your bank account! Just relax and you’ll find a way to get it all done. Enjoy the process – and great question!

  7. This looks like an amazing resource, Cat! I love how you’ve combined all the big questions and even the never-asked things, like culture, into an attractive, clean PDF. Did y’all get the color scheme from the azulejos in the Reales Alcázares? Just wondering since y’all used it in the post header on your COMO blog—looks nice.
    Trevor Huxham recently posted..Finding Harry Potter in Porto, PortugalMy Profile

    • Hey Trevor, thanks so much, and thanks for picking up your own copy. You may not be a newbie, but I think you can appreciate the work that went into it. Hayley is the design master, and we chose the orange as our logo color (a mix or red and yellow, bold enough without being over the top), and the blue was Hayley’s idea. The azulejos are actually the color scheme for my wedding, believe it or not!

  8. Great advice, I’d especially like to read more about packing as I’m about to tackle that next. As for me, I’m in a dilemma about housing. I’m yearning to live in Málaga city but my school is located in a town 35km away with the only method of commuting being to carpool with the teachers. While I know this can be done, I know that I’m going to waste a lot of my time waiting for rides from the teachers. My other option is to live in an apartment by myself near the school, which one of the teachers is offering me for €200/mth. I’m conflicted because each has drawbacks and benefits. Which is more important, time or location?

    • Hi Jolene, thanks for stopping by!

      Ooh, definietly a tough question, and one that’s highly personal. Obviously there are pluses to each side of your dilemma, but I’d probably go for living in Málaga, as it’s a fun city with plenty to do, and you may feel as if you miss out if you’re in the pueblo. You’ll find out that teachers in the public school system are assigned to schools from the government, far different from what teachers in the States do, so I’d venture to guess that many will be coming and going from Málaga. Your bilingual coordinator can help you out with arranging rides, and if you have to wait, you may be able to sneak in a private class or two in the village!

      Out of curiosity, which city will you be in?

      I’d encourage you to find a lease that’s easy to get out of, so that if the commute gets to be too much, you could move to the pueblo in January, or vice versa. What it really comes down to is your personal preference! Good luck and keep me posted!

  9. Elaina (Lacey) Eaton says:

    Hola Cat! I’ve been following your blog for the past year, thanks to the recommendation of Andrea (who’s wedding you beautifully photographed). Your blog posts have been very beneficial in helping me prepare and transition to my new life living in Spain working as an auxiliar. I moved to Madrid last week, and I can definitely relate to many things you mentioned in this post, especially the Spanish timetables (I miss my eight hours of sleep a night dearly!). While, I’m sure many others will have questions about working as an auxiliar and life in Spain, I have an out there question…I know that you have posted about the novio bringing items back from the states from time to time per your request, and I’m wondering if there are one or two items from the states that you simply can’t live without here in Spain? Gracias!
    t

    • Hi Lacey! Great to hear from you. Now that I’m getting married myself, I’ve been able to talk to the photographer and recall Andi’s wedding! What a fun experience.

      I hope you’re settling into Madrid nicely and enjoying the ups and downs of those first few weeks. As far as things I can’t live without from the US, their aren’t too many things after all this time, but my boyfriend does bring me Claritin allergy medicine (the stuff here knocks me out) and Cheez Its without me even putting in a request. Most of the other things I used to miss – cake mixes, maple syrup and the like – are now available! And now that we have a CostCo in Seville, I may finally get my huge grill…!

  10. Andrew Templeton says:

    When living over in Spain in those first years as an auxiliar were you able to save money or did your budget use up most of your salary?

    • Hey Andrew, thanks for reading. When I came as an auxiliar, the salary was actually lower – 631,06 a month! I didn’t save very much my first year because I was traveling and not giving many private classes, and worked my tail off the summer before to be able to do so. I could save 250 or so after that, as I picked up far more classes and calmed down the travels. I also started working at a camp in July. If you’re smart, you can definitely save without working too much!

  11. Great post, thanks! I’m so looking forward to my first time in Spain (and Europe) in just a few days! I’d really like to visit Seville this year. Do you recommend coming a certain time of the year?
    Andrea recently posted..The 2 week countdown!My Profile

    • Hi Andrea, thanks for reading! You must be a ball of emotions to be coming over for the first time, but excited above all else. Seville is scorching right now, and is for half the year, so the late fall (from late October to early December) is great before the rain starts, and from mid March until mid May. If you come the week of March 17th, the azahar is usually beginning to bloom!

      Let me know if you make it down here – I’d love to meet and hear how your adventure is going!

  12. What a great idea! Having all of this handy info in one place–and in English!–will be oh-so helpful to future auxiliares navigating those Spanish waters.

    When I arrived in Spain, I was especially daunted about finding an apartment in an unknown city. Oh, and banking :/

    Good luck with your newest venture!
    Cassandra recently posted..Barranquilla, Colombia In Living ColorMy Profile

    • Hey Cassandra, welcome back! Hope your trip was great.

      Really appreciate your sharing our new eBook! Like you, we were pretty overwhelmed, so that’s why we decided to write. Seems to be helping calm people and their nerves, which is exactly what we were going for!

  13. Is it possible to see the table of contents for the ebook?

  14. Chris Hill says:

    Hey! Looks like a great book. I’m a first time auxiliar and I’m wondering about our health insurance. Is there a document we can be sent/look up that details what are coverage is? I just want to know specifically what I’m covered for and if I should buy any additional travel insurance. Thanks!

    • Hi Chris, get ready for the crazy train! Nah, you’ll have a wonderful time. To be clear, each province makes the decision on which health care to use, and which private company to go with. Where were you placed?

      You shouldn’t have any need for extra travel insurance for the whole year (save you don’t have a pre-existing condition that would require it), though it’s useful if you’re abroad traveling. I used World Nomads for India, and it was a great deal! If you want to be on the safe side, the rates for 8-10 months are probably better than buying by week.

  15. Rachel S.T. says:

    Thanks for the great blog posts! I was wondering if you have any recommendations for ESL teaching materials to bring to Spain? And/or books or other materials to review in order to learn how to teach English for new ESL teachers who do not want to pay $2,000 for training? Thanks!

    • Hi Rachel! Like you, I was psyched to get learning how to teach and how to review grammar. I did a TEFL course online before leaving with i-to-i that was not only useful, but helpful, and we got a lot of great materials. I can’t speak highly enough about English Grammar in Use. It’s an old, old book, but with great explanations for both you and students, and lots of practice activities (though I’d suggest getting it off of Amazon.es or Amazon UK to save space – it’s bulky!). I also reference A Concise Grammar for English Language Teachers by Tony Penston, and it’s complete for tenses, etc. Nowadays, I use the back of the books my students have – they’re awesome!

      As for training – obviously experience teaches you plenty, but I’d read up on some ESL blogs like Around the World L, Dave’s ESL Corner and anything on About.com. They’re concise and easy to read, and that will give you some ideas. Of course, plenty depends on if you’re asking for you auxiliar job, an academy job or private classes! My best advice: good preparation! Having a back up plan and lots of activities (and variety) is a really great classroom management tool. Hope this helps some – you’ll do great!

  16. Cat!! Thank you so much! Of all the advice I’ve gotten so far, yours brought clarity to me where others just confused me more! My school is in Coín. I never even thought of trying to sneak in lessons while I wait in the pueblo. Gracias!!
    Jolene recently posted..I’m not excitedMy Profile

  17. So glad I saw this before I leave in two weeks!!!

  18. Lindsey Davis says:

    Looks like a great resource! Can’t wait to read it. I’m a first year auxiliar and am most nervous about finding an apartment once I get to Spain. Do you have any tips on finding a cheap place to stay while searching for an apartment? And how did you find your roommates? Did you wait until you got there or did you contact other auxiliars from the program to live with? Thanks for your advice!

    • Hi Lindsey – I hope you find it useful!

      The apartment thing throws everyone for a loop! I actually got an apartment before coming, which in hindsight was a risky move. The listing was on easypiso, and even though it all worked out fine, there were definitely tense moments. I would wait to actually commit to something, whether with other auxiliares or otherwise – Without having seen the apartment, you won’t know if you like the neighborhood or the roommates or if it’s not as great as it looks online! My advice is to have a few areas picked out, as well as a few viewings lined up (do it literally two days before you live – flats go fast!). Once you arrive, get you bearings and walk around for a few hours, then dive in.

      I’d suggest Couchsurfing or staying in a hostel, unless you know someone in your town who is willing to let you crash. The days will be long and it will still be warm, so a lot will be taken out of you with just the apartment searching, not to mention jet lag! Start with three nights at a hostel and go from there! Good luck – it will all work out!

  19. Hi Cat!

    I was so thrilled to see your post about this new eBook that you and Haley have created! Even if I don’t win, I’ll still buy it by tomorrow before the good discount goes away. (It’s like getting a summer rebaja btw! haha) I have been to Spain twice now but I am preparing to head back this month to do the Language and Culture Assistant program in La Couña! I am an adopted sevillana at heart because I studied in Sevilla in Spring 2010, made a lot of local friends (including getting paired up with a conversation partner who flies planes! :P) and visited most of them again last summer. I became fluent in Spanish after that year and have kept up my skills ever since thanks to going to school and living in Florida before moving back to Ohio (home) this year so I could go over and teach.
    I adore Sevilla (and I love that you love it so much too :) ) but it has become a comfort zone for me so that’s why I requested a placement up North. I want to see and enjoy a new part of Spain and Galicia has been calling. I also wanted to be closer to Portugal as I’m learning Portuguese right now and want to practice it. I have really lucked out in terms of my school placement (right in the city center!), quick visa processing and a very supportive family every step of the way. However, I’m nervous about doing all of the grown up things there by myself. When I was a student, all of the housing, classes and technical issues were taken care of by someone else so not having answers or plans finalized this time has been a bit nerve wracking!
    With renting an apartment, though, is it recommended to find a place that requires a deposit or does that not matter so much? I’ve always paid a deposit for the apartments I’ve lived in here in the US but that’s because I expect to. Is that the same in most parts of Spain?
    (I’m also won’t be bringing as much money as I’d planned to initially so that’s another reason why I’m asking…)
    Sarah Willats recently posted..Monthly Update: August 2014My Profile

    • Hi Sarah! Like you, I wanted a switch – only I went from North to South! It’s different, but it’s the good different! I’m sure you’ll appreciate the nuances between the two comunidades, and there’s a Vueling flight between the cities for when you’re craving a montadito de pringà!

      The apartment thing throws everyone for a loop! I actually got an apartment before coming, which in hindsight was a risky move. Without having seen the apartment, you won’t know if you like the neighborhood or the roommates or if it’s not as great as it looks online! My advice is to have a few areas picked out, as well as a few viewings lined up (do it literally two days before you live – flats go fast!). Once you arrive, get you bearings (have a tapa at O Renucho de Maite on San Andres, the greatest and so cheap!) and walk around for a few hours, then dive in.

      I don’t recall many hostels in Coruña, though I did stay at a hotel along the Riazor for relatively cheap! Good luck – it will all work out!

      • Haha I wrote to the wrong one, my bad. Blame it on summer vacation being over. YES, totally normal to pay a month’s rent as leverage, so keep that in mind while looking! You can also start teaching private classes right away to tide you over on the money front thru your school or websites. Good luck!

  20. So great and helpful! Thanks!

  21. Greetings! This is an absolutely brilliant idea to make a book for all the fresh meat coming in to Spain. I definitely feel overwhelmed and just as excited. I can’t wait to read through this as a first year auxiliar and thought to hop in this contest of yours.
    Currently, I’m worried about the order of operations. I’ll be arriving at my school in Cuéllar on a Friday after they have closed and would have to wait until Monday to meet up with them, assist with any questions I have etc. I have thought I’d live in Valladolid which is about 40 min away from my placement and wanted to ask if I should immediately start looking for a place to live in Valladolid or first hang around Cuéllar until Monday to go over things with them. I’ve gone back and forth regarding commuting or not (benefits/drawbacks) and welcome an experienced opinion.
    Thanks in advance for the advice and helping all of us out!

    • Hi Taylor, thanks for visiting! One important thing to consider – you’ll be working in the Segovia province and perhaps living in the Valladolid province. This means all of your paperwork MUST be done in Segovia, and it can sometimes take a bit longer to process.

      I am all for your living in Valladolid. Not only did I study there, but it’s a large city, connected to Madrid by a high-speed train, and also has an airport (and I may be able to set you up with a private lesson…!). Nothing wrong with living in a pueblo, but you may find it grows old or boring after a while. My friends who have lived in pueblos have loved the experience and improved their Spanish (and they’e saved money), but often admit they missed the big parties and events, as well as having contact with other English speakers.

      Note that most teachers are assigned to schools, rather than applying where there’s an opening, so I’m positive that many will commute from Valladolid or even Segovia. Why not email your school’s bilingual director now, and see if s/he responds? Your director could help you find carpools and maybe even arrange your schedule to help ease the commute time. Good luck, and enjoy CyL!

  22. I do have a question about blending in and work clothes… What’s the best style or theme for living and working in Spain?

    • Hi Christina, no matter what, you’ll stick out somehow! Spanish fashion varies from region to region, but some no-no’s are: pajamas or work out clothes in public, no flip flops unless you’re at the beach and short shorts (I added that one!). Click through Zara and Mango’s online catalogues in Spain to get an idea, or check out an online mag, like Hola! You can get plenty of cute, cheap Spanish fashion at Leftie’s or H&M, and definitely save up for rebajas after Christmas! But really, if you like something, be a guiri and stay true to your style! I honestly look like a walking Gap ad here!

  23. I enjoy reading your blog.. Gives me some sort of relief knowing that I’m not the only one who has felt anxious about starting a new chapter in their lives. Thank you for sharing such valuable information.. Good luck with the wedding!!

  24. What a great resource, I’m sure this will relieve many fears as well as help many people adjust to what will surely be a great time in Spain. Reading this post makes me want to do it all over again…sigh! :)

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