Have you ever wondered what it’s like living in Spain? With its vibrant culture, stunning architecture, delicious cuisine, and lively nightlife, this country is the perfect environment for people looking to experience a unique adventure.
But have you ever asked yourself what’s it like living in Spain as an ENGLISH teacher? Not only can you experience Spanish culture, but you’ll do it while breaking down language barriers for many students. We’ll explore the intricacies of Spanish culture, from their famous “siesta” culture to their love of festivals and unique approach to each workday. Spain has something to offer everyone, and we’ll show you exactly what to expect!
Language and Communication
The first thing to be aware of when considering moving to Spain is the language barrier. Although Spain is a popular tourist destination, life generally happens in Spanish. In the larger cities and tourist destinations, it is not difficult to find English-speaking Spaniards, but generally, the level of English is lower than in many European countries. You’ll find that almost all movies and TV shows are dubbed into Spanish. This doesn’t have to stop you from moving to Spain, of course. There are plenty of ways to learn Spanish and language schools all over Spain for foreigners who want to learn the language. It’s a good idea to learn some basics before settling in Spain, like how to ask for directions or order a meal. Finding other expats and fellow English teachers is easy; all over the country, there are Facebook groups for similar-minded people looking to get to know each other.
Imagine all those hours you spent learning Spanish, only to hear terms and phrases used in ways you never thought possible. Believe it or not, Spain is home to many different dialects and accents that can vary significantly from region to region. For instance, if you teach English in Andalucia, you might notice that locals use a distinct accent with unique phrases and idioms. Similarly, if you’re teaching in the Basque Country, you may encounter Basque, a language that is MUCH different from the Spanish you might learn. But don’t worry! There you’ll have plenty of time to adjust to the new terminology. And before long, you’ll be utilizing different Spanish dialects in each region, just one more thing that makes life in Spain worth living!
A Simple, Easy Lifestyle
The reason many people decide to move to Spain is because they want to get out of their busy lifestyle. For many, the Spanish lifestyle is more appealing. It is the land of siestas, after all. This means that in the middle of the day, most businesses will close for a few hours, allowing the workers to go home and rest. In North America and Northern Europe, this might sound absurd, as people are used to working long shifts without resting. Therefore, it might take getting some used to before you can fully embrace the Spanish lifestyle. Here, when you grab a coffee, it is rarely to-go; people usually sit down for a couple of hours and enjoy a coffee and something sweet. The slow-paste lifestyle is not always so relaxing, however. When it comes to bureaucracy, things could move a lot faster. Either if you’re trying to obtain a resident number or registering in the town hall, you’ll find the process a lot more time-consuming than anticipated. Just making the appointment itself will usually take many tries. Most public systems are not digitalized, and you must show up in person. The good thing is that once you have the bureaucratic procedures completed, things will fall into place.
Life as a teacher can be great when summer comes around — mostly because you’ll be out of work! And if you’re wondering what’s it like living in Spain as an English teacher, you can expect holiday experiences like this, but turned up a notch! Aside from the obvious perks of sunny weather, delicious cuisine, and beautiful culture, Spanish workers also enjoy numerous holidays throughout the year.
First, there’s the national holiday of Día de la Hispanidad, which falls on October 12th and commemorates the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the Americas. Next comes All Saints’ Day on November 1st, when Spaniards honor their deceased loved ones with visits to cemeteries and special meals. In December, there are two major holiday celebrations – Constitution Day on the 6th and the Day of the Immaculate Conception on the 8th. The grand finale of the holiday season is undoubtedly Christmas, which stretches from December 25th to January 6th (known as Three Kings’ Day). During this period, businesses shut down, families gather for elaborate meals and gift exchanges, and cities put on dazzling lights and decorations.
But there’s more — the calendar also includes regional holidays that vary depending on the area of Spain. For example, people in Valencia celebrate Fallas in March with parades, fireworks, and the burning of giant paper-mâché sculptures. Basque Country has its own unique festivities, such as San Fermín in Pamplona, where the running of the bulls takes place every July.
If you’ve been looking up videos, articles, and experiences about what’s it like living in Spain, you’ve probably heard that you’ll need to be prepared for a slightly different attitude regarding time. Spanish people use time in a more relaxed way and tend to be less precise about exact ETA’s. Therefore, it’s essential to know that meetings or classes might sometimes start late, and that’s okay!
In Spain, meetings sometimes start half an hour later than they were scheduled. Sometimes, people might even arrive an hour or two later than planned and still be all right! This approach is not solely a Spanish thing but is also present in other Mediterranean countries. In Italy and Greece, for instance, this kind of lateness is entirely normal. So as an English teacher in Spain, you should be ready for some spontaneity in your day. Once you embrace this more relaxed view of time as part of Spanish culture, you’ll find that it brings added flexibility to your daily schedule. Spanish people generally live to enjoy life, and punctuality might sometimes jeopardize that.
One thing that surprises many foreigners about Spain is its affordability. Things like eating out, catching a bus, or renting an apartment will often cost a lot less than in your home country. This makes Spain attractive to foreigners who are looking to move abroad. The demand for English teachers is also high, making it an excellent country for anyone who wants to teach. Spain’s two biggest cities, Madrid and Barcelona, have experienced an increase in the cost of living. This is especially true for rent prices. It might therefore be a good idea to research other places to live more affordably in Spain.
Want to experience living in Spain and working as an English language assistant without going through the complicated bureaucracy yourself? We’ll support you all the way from getting you the school placement throughout your time in Spain. Contact us today and set up a free meeting to learn more about our program and get started teaching English in Madrid, the Basque Country, and other cities across Spain!
One thing that will surprise many foreigners about Spain is how affordable it is. Things like eating out, catching a bus or renting an apartment will often cost a lot less than in your home country. This makes Spain attractive for foreigners who are looking to move abroad. The demand for English teachers is also high, making it a great country for anyone who wants to teach. Spain’s two biggest cities, Madrid and Barcelona, have experienced an increase in the cost of living. This is especially true for rent-prices. It might therefore be a good idea to research other places to live more affordably in Spain.
Want to experience living in Spain and working as an English language assistant without going through the complicated bureaucracy yourself? We’ll support you all the way from getting you the school placement and throughout your time in Spain. Contact us today and set up a free meeting to learn more about our program.