Barcelona / expat life / Spain

FAQs About My Life in Spain

When I was home, everybody asked me the same couple of questions! So here’s what people wanted to know about living in Barcelona. 

(Also, apologies for being a bit of a lazy blogger lately! I’ve been sick and not really feeling like writing much. But I’m going traveling soon, so I’ll have lots more stuff to post about! )


Oh, so you’re like studying out there? 

Nope, I work. Currently, I’m a translator for a teen celebrity gossip website and I write for a travel and tourism magazine.

Wait, you moved to Spain to work?? You do realize there’s a crisis there, right? 

Yep! But I haven’t had any problems finding work. Actually, I think it’s easier for me because as a foreigner I have a different skill set than a Spanish worker.

In fact, I just got my contrato indefinido (open-ended contract) so I have a really stable job.

How long have you been there? 

Since June 2011.

Why did you move out there?

I was studying here and loved the city, and just knew I had to come back.


Did you have visa issues?

No. I was born in England so I have dual nationality, which was really lucky.

Do you like living in Barcelona? 

Of course! It’s my favorite city I’ve been to so far.

How long do you think you’ll stay? 

Good question! I don’t know. Right now I have no plans to leave, but I don’t have plans to stay either. Basically, we’ll see how things go and then I’ll decide things as they come.

Do you speak Spanish? 

Yes. And a bit of Catalan. (This one drives me crazy though, because I wouldn’t live in another country without at least knowing some of the language! It would be both insanely hard and pretty rude.)

What’s the food like? 

Ham, seafood, ham, and ham. Sometimes potatoes and peppers. Delicious.

A variation on this question: “Is is like Mexican food?” Not at all! I sometimes feel like I could kill for some good tacos.

Who do you live with? 

Five other people, which I love. It’s basically like L’Auberge Espagnole. There’s always something to do and someone to talk to.

Did you go through major culture shock? 

I wouldn’t call it culture shock exactly. In most important ways, Spain and California are very similar. The standard of living is similar and people mostly believe similar things. Of course, some things are different and even uncomfortable at times, but I wouldn’t call it a shock because they’re really not so different.

I bet you have a cute Spanish boyfriend, huh? 

Ha. No. I’ll save that particular horror story for later as I’m not quite ready to share it publicly and it deserves its own post. All you have to know is that it always makes people look absolutely horrified and like they want to hug me but don’t want me to burst into tears if they do.


Did I mention Barcelona has a beach? Another reason I love it here.

Aside from questions, people usually have a few comments to make. My dad says that the city’s name in English is actually pronounced “Barcelone-aahhh” because of the sigh people make when they find out where I live.

A few other things people usually want to let me know are how brave they think I am and how they wish they had done this in their 20s. Other people want vacation suggestions (I’m more than happy to give them!) or to talk about how much they liked Barcelona when they went.

I think the best comment I ever got was from a guy who had also lived in Barcelona in his 20s: “You live in the Raval? That’s where all the cross-dressing prostitutes live! I wasn’t that hardcore – I lived in the Gótico, where the normal prostitutes are.”

Keep in mind, this was explained to my mother at a Christmas party. She practically exploded. But I’ve moved since then!

That pretty much covers everything I get asked on a regular basis. Anything else I might have missed that you want to know about life in Barcelona? 



19 thoughts on “FAQs About My Life in Spain

  1. Hey, great post! I love Barcelona, had some great holidays there! I have actually moved to Madrid; been here 9 months, and am loving it! I write a bit about my life here, its been a great experience so far. Can’t wait to read more of your posts!

      • Hi Jessica,
        I love it here thanks! Settled in really well. Learning the language too, but it seems to be taking time to become as fluent as I want to be (frustratingly)! I’ve got to know the city really well though, and to be honest it feels like home now. There are some great vintage stores here (great), and the night-life is great!

  2. Ah, gotta love all those questions relatives and friends ask!

    I had to laugh at the part about the Raval prostitutes vs. the Gótico ones–my parents would have had a heart attack, too!

  3. Which magazine do you translate for out of interest? I’m looking for some kind of graduate translator job at the mo!

    • I translate a gossip site for younger teens called Wambie, but I’m afraid they aren’t looking for anyone at the moment. I also know people who are freelance translators, and one girl who subtitles films. Getting translating jobs just seem to be a bit of luck, so I hope some comes your way! 🙂

  4. Nice FAQ. How’d you land the writing jobs? Sounds great and must be nice not to only have “teaching English” as a possibility. It’s also great you have the opportunity to live in a city you love. I can’t say the same for the two places I’ve lived/living but still enjoy my time in Spain- luck of the draw of where the Spanish Ministry placed me!

    • Hmm well, I have an advantage because of the dual citizen thing. Otherwise, I’d be Auxiliar-ing too!

      I got the website job looking for English teaching job postings. It was mixed in there on a page called LingoBongo, which I believe only exists in Madrid and Barcelona in Spain. Loquo had a few things, but it’s a little more sketchy.

      The magazine job I actually got through my blog; they just e-mailed me out of the blue! It was a stroke of luck. I’m looking more into freelancing stuff because it’s fun. For those, I don’t think paperwork stuff matters.

  5. Pingback: 4 Things I Like Better About Spain Than the U.S. | ¡Hola Yessica!

  6. Pingback: Why I Didn’t Do the Auxiliares Program | ¡Hola Yessica!

  7. What has it been like integrating with Catalans? Have you ever felt excluded with the language barrier? Also how diverse is the population there? Recently, A LOT of people have been talking to me about Barca, I feel the city is calling me and contemplating making this city my new home…

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