Live, Work, Study & Travel in Spain
We have seen an increased interest in living, working, studying and traveling in Spain over the 12 years we have organized food and wine trips through Epicurean Ways. Spain is attractive to Americans, Canadians, Australians and other nationalities for one-week vacations, short sojourns, Spanish language study, university terms abroad, and increasingly living and working. Post-university experience abroad, work sabbaticals and working freelance from another country are increasingly seen as desirable options. Spain is attractive for living short or long term because it is less expensive, the food and wine are amazingly good, and the country, the people and the lifestyle are seductive.
Spain is an extremely welcoming country. The lifestyle, history, traditions, food, regional identities, sense of community, and opportunities to explore fascinating parts of the country draw people there, and continue to intrigue them once they spend extended time there. The majority of travelers who spend one to two weeks there say they want to return to Spain as soon as they can.
Adaptation to Spain
Our experience over the years with leisure and business travelers, students, and expats has been that Spain and the Spanish lifestyle are fairly easy for foreigners to adapt to. Of course some adjustments may be uncomfortable at first (dinner at 10 PM) but Spain usually manages to compensate for differences with, say, the amazing array of inexpensive tapas available nearly everywhere at 10 PM.
What makes adapting to Spain, whether for short trips or longer stays, doable for many people is that the culture encourages participation and buy in. If you "do as the Spaniards do" cultural doors suddenly open up and Spaniards' respect for you is instantly elevated. This is turn leads to increased accessibility to Spain, Spanish culture and Spaniards. Once you've got a door opened even a little, you start to glimpse how the culture works and how people live. You can fairly quickly feel a little bit like an insider who gets the inner workings of the place instead of a stranger. This can happen during a one-week trip as well as an extended stay.
Working in Spain
Spain's unemployment rate remains high so it is best to have a job contract in hand or a means of support such as freelance work before planning an extended stay there. The easiest route to a job in Spain is to teach English, as there is always demand for native speakers to teach English. There are private language schools everywhere. Additionally the Spanish Ministry of Education offers paid positions as language teaching assistants to Americans and Canadians (apply in January).
Studying in Spain
Studying in Spain is one of the easiest ways to stay in Spain longer than a vacation allows. Language study is one of the easiest, least expensive and arguably most beneficial undertakings. There are hundreds of language schools throughout the country offering courses lasting from one week to a full year. University students can study at a Spanish university through their home school or directly through the university in Spain.
Start Learning Spanish Now
In order to benefit most from living in Spain, even if for a short time, you will want to know at least some Spanish before you arrive. Start now! Language learning can be swift or slow, depending on each person and the level of motivation and degree of language exposure. Take a class, study online, watch Spanish-language tv, do a language exchange where you teach someone English and they teach you Spanish (free and good for cross-cultural bonding). Remember this: You will learn at a faster rate once in country if you have a solid base in Spanish.
Look for upcoming posts on extended travel, study and work in Spain and Portugal.