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The best services to use when moving to Spain

Hello everyone,

What were the biggest hurdles you faced when moving to Spain? Were there any services available that helped?

Which services helped you most upon your arrival in Spain? Were there any that helped you adapt and integrate in your new home?

Are there any services that you wished were available when you moved to Spain?

Did you find the price of the different services available reasonable? Were there any that were overpriced, to your mind?

Thank you for sharing your experience.

Priscilla

Undoubtedly learning Spanish to a good level is the best thing you could do, however, I know that very few will ever be able to do more than order a beer or a coffee badly. Nevertheless you will probably get by pretty well with just English, especially if you choose to live in a tourist area

This is the 6th country I live in and I am sure that having a good network helps a lot when arriving in a new country. I recommend getting in touch with expat groups and ask as much people as possible about practical things before moving (supermarket addresses, network gatherings, tips related to transportation, shopping, medical services, etc).
Regarding living in Spain, I have been living in Barcelona since 2013 and luckily it is a very international city .  You may find expat groups and international meetings  on meet up and internations web pages. I definitely recomend! I have also the feeling that spanish people prefer personal contact so I found easier to go in person rather than sending emails or messages, specially regarding job search and making friends.

Hello there,

I think a language group on Facebook helps a lot,webpages
about Spain in English version,especially about important things
like NIE number and social security.

Some knowledge in Spanish will always be good. To be polite atleast.
Even if there is a huge different to speak Spanish. (Castellano and Catalan)
Andalusians seems to be the friendliest even if their accent makes it very
hard to understand what they are saying.. :)

Better to stay in Malaga city so you have to use the little Spanish you can
on a daily basis. Some Spanish is better than nothing :)

The biggest hurdle has been communication.  And I'm not talking about speaking Spanish, though obviously that is a hurdle of its own. I mean the differences in expectations and perception amongst expats from different countries and backgrounds.  The 'one man's meat is another man's poison' thing.  What works for one doesn't work for another. We have found that much of the very helpful and friendly advice and suggestions we have been given just doesn't work for us.  This is not about adapting either.  So now, whilst we still seek to glean information, we filter it through the knowledge that our requirements and expectations may be different. 

We are coming to the conclusion that you need to live in a city or in the middle of a major tourist area to get reliable internet of a level suitable for work. We are in a reasonably populated area, near big towns, and have gone through 2 providers and about to try a 3rd, as the service has been unreliable. Having said that it is probably fine for most people.

We are VERY glad that we got a house with central heating.  We certainly needed it for 5 months. It is expensive though. We have gas bottles, supposedly the cheapest form of heating, and it cost us around E300 a month.  It is not directly supplied, though I understand that, again, it might be in cities and higher population areas.  So you have to anticipate when the tanks will run out.

Water quality and reliability of electrical supply fluctuate. Turning a kettle on can blow the fuses! You get used to making sure you are not running several things at once. Electricity is expensive. Water is cheap. Which is entirely the wrong way round for a country that has water problems but could use more solar power!

Our biggest help has been a good relationship with our landlady who lives nearby. That and google translate!! :-)

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