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Moving country is not a long holiday

Tourism vs. emigration

In the long run we can't survive on love and fresh air alone! To complete your positive gut feeling, there are two important things you need to do:

Development of a new social network, and finding meaningful work or fun leisure activities. Expats often leave behind a highly technological society that offers lots of options to skilled individuals.

Another thing we expats leave behind, is our familiarity with the official application channels, and the advantage of communicating with everyone in our mother tongue.

Social network

In Andalucía, once you know the right people, suddenly a lot of doors open for you; whereas applications by mail or email often stay without result, not seldomly because they are perceived as too impersonal.

The informal network of acquaintances, friends and family is a substitute for our rather impersonal employment agencies or local employment offices. The fact is that this informal network does yield long-term results if you know the right people.

Regarding the type of jobs offered however, the job market of Andalucía is of course incomparable to that of your own country. But you have the choice! Parallel to the Spanish job market, there is a kind of sub-job market run by and -generally- meant for expats or well-to-do Spanish people. Here your commercial, computer and language skills can get you quite far. Employment in real estate, commercial or tourism industry is a very obvious choice. On the Spanish market the choice is much more limited, the wages are generally quite low and the vacancies for better paid jobs are filled in by local talent.

Networking is the message

As well in the Spanish environment as in the expat environment. Knowledge of Spanish is therefore a key requirement. When a Spanish local notices you're doing your best to express yourself in his own language, this is usually greatly appreciated. Your efforts will generally not be in vain!

Not to be underestimated is the leaving behind of family and friends. In the beginning, emigrating couples often only have each other to depend on.

Andalusians are very family oriented and focused on their own Spanish culture. Franco's dictatorial regime (1939-1975), the Pyrenees isolating Spain geographically from the rest of Europe and the proximity of Africa (Moorish domination: 711-1492) have certainly made Andalusian culture into what it is.

Many Andalusians still only speak Spanish. Even among people with a higher education (lawyers, engineers, ...) the majority doesn't speak English. Another thing is that "Andaluz" (Andalusian Spanish) is a dialect in which many vowels and consonants are not pronounced. Practicing 'con una patata caliente en tu boca' can help your pronunciation. :-)

Unlike many Northern Europeans, Andalusians are very spontaneous, open and hospitable. It is quite a pleasant experience when people spontaneously address you while queuing at the bank or simply in the street or at the bar.

In social terms, speaking the language is therefore a must so as not to remain a tourist at your new destination. On the other hand you should be realistic: even speaking fluent Spanish, one retains one's individuality. Each assimilation has its limits: a Belgian remains a Belgian and a Dutchman, Dutchman. Opening up for the good of the two worlds (Spanish and Expat) is in my opinion a guarantee for successfully emigrating and EMO-grating! (the gut feeling, remember?!)


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