Starting A New Life In Barcelona

It happens so often: You spend a week or two in Spain’s most cosmopolitan city, and begin dreaming of renting an apartment and staying for ever. Is it all a pipe dream? Is it still possible to start a new life in sunny Barcelona?

Let’s take off the rose-tinted glasses for just a second: The economic crisis of 2008 has had a huge impact on the Spanish economy. Finding work in Spain is definitely going to be tougher than before the financial crisis, but Barcelona’s international atmosphere means it might be a little easier for an expat to find work.

Barcelona from above Spain photo
Photo by Randy Peralta

Learning Spanish Will Open Doors

Anyone born in Barcelona will almost certainly consider themselves Catalan first, and Spanish second, but don’t let that put you off. Learning a few polite words of Catalan will definitely put locals on the right foot, but Spanish is going to be a much more useful language to master in the long run.

With that being said, don’t be put off if your Spanish is still at beginner level. There are plenty of work options for proactive English speakers. Telephone jobs, English tutoring and tourist industry jobs such as bar tending are all viable ways to make money.

If you’re a little more driven, and you’re happy to cram in some intensive Spanish lessons, it’s possible to enroll on a language course. You could do this at home, but it makes far more sense to work in Barcelona and learn Spanish on your off days.

The Employment Market Changes Fast

Barcelona really does have an international vibe about it. This means that immigrants, students, and travellers all come and go in short spaces of time. Don’t let the fast paced employment market put you off. It’s just a case of being persistent. There are many recruitment agencies to find you a job in Spain.

Save Some Money Before You Leave

It’s best to spend a few weeks to a month simply getting a feel for Barcelona’s different neighbourhoods. Having a little cash saved up before you leave home will take away the initial pressure of trying to find a job. Barcelona is a city where networking is everything. You’ll be rewarded for checking out notice boards, asking in shops and cafes, and making new friends.

Get The Paperwork Sorted

UK residents don’t have a problem when it comes to working in another EU country. Just make sure you’ve registered at a government office, and do some research on taxation. The UK has a dual taxation treaty with Spain, so you shouldn’t be taxed twice. Don’t leave this until the last minute. Make some phone calls at home and get clued up before you arrive.

Be Positive!

A Barcelona job hunt is going to be a challenging and often frustrating undertaking. It’s going to be whole lot easier if you put in some serious planning before you leave. When you arrive in the city, get out there and make some new friends. Networking will pay off massively: Perhaps the hotel where you’re staying needs a new receptionist? Have you asked that friendly waiter where he’d recommend starting a job hunt?

Barcelona is one of Europe’s most exciting a cosmopolitan cities, and you could end up living the lifestyle of your dreams!

Leave a Reply