New life at Barcelona
First time I came to Barcelona, it was for vacation and I liked the city for its architecture , the time concept of the people and for its good weather.
So in october 2000, I started to live in this city.
In the beginning, my plan was to stay for 2 years only, just to get some experiences abroad and go home but the future is full of hidden secrets and I am still living at Barcelona enjoying of its temperate climate but very humid.
Of course life in the past is not life in the present. I still remember how cheap it was living here at the time of the pesetas before to be converted in euros.
The cost of the life has increasing a lot and Barcelona is considered like one of the most expensive city in Spain and even in Europe but life is still cheaper compared to other european countries like France, UK, Germany... When I came here I didn’t speak spanish (neither catalan) and I stayed during 2 weeks in a hotel before to find a cheaper room in an apartment sharing it with 2 other catalans in Gracia neighborhood. Luckily for me, the flat was very clean and very big so spaces were not a problem.
If you decide to come to live at Barcelona like me, the advice I will give you it is to visit the flat because you can get a very very big surprise not about the people you are going to live with but the condition of the room or the apartment !!! If you need to find a flat for you alone or to share, check out those 4 websites.
- Loquo, classified ads to find anything at Catalonia
- Lloguer Jove, classfied ads to find a flat/apartment in Spain
- Habitatge Jove, only for students to share a flat at Barcelona
- Colegio de Administradores (no english version), to find an apartment at Barcelona
The other alternative is to use a paid service of some agencies but be careful about spanish people who tell you that they can help you to find one and the only thing they do it is to sell you a list of probably free flats and this list you can get it free by going to “Colegio de Administradores” office at the following address : calle mallorca 214, entlo 5a.
After 2 weeks looking for a flat, I started to look for a job and since I am part of european citizens, I didn’t need a visa but the problem was the language. My candidature was rejected by majority of companies after an interview because I didn’t speak the national language. So I started to learn spanish and not catalan because catalan you can use only in Catalonia and spanish you can use it not only in the other spanish towns but also in Mexico, Argentina...
I chose private classes instead to go to a school because of the flexible time schedule since I can choose myself when and how many times and hours a week I would like to learn. After 6 months, I started to work for a company.
If you need to learn spanish, just walk around and you will find a lot of private or not spanish school for foreigners. Unfortunately I can’t counsel you about this but if you want private classes like me, just check out the loquo website.
Meanwhile, I opened a bank account and bought a mobile phone and this part was also a fight. For everything I wanted to do, I needed a NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjero) or a DNI (Documento Nacional de Identidad). Since I am not married with a spanish woman, I can’t pretend for a DNI and doing my NIE was very easy (at least for european citizens like me).
I had to go to Foreigner Administration Department, avinguda marques de l’argentera nº2 (since the building is in renovation, the new place to go was Police Department, paseo joan borbó nº 32. Actually, people have to go to calle balmes 192) and fill out the request form and bring the following documents:
- Request form can be downloaded online
- 2 recent color photos with white background and size like the driving license one
After validation of all those papers, they told me to pay around 1 euro by bank transaction and it can be done in any kind of banks (they get used so you don’t need to worry. Actually the fee has increased so you will pay much more) and to come back with the receipt. All done, I had to wait almost 2 months meanwhile I paid a foreigner fee for my bank account and for example, I couldn’t buy any things with contract like cell phone or something by credits to pay in 3 months or more.
More information about NIE can be found in the Department of the Interior website (no english version). To tell you the truth, this document is very important in Spain since it will allow you to work legally, to rent a flat by your own or to buy one for example. Even if the european law says that the NIE isn’t required anymore inside the community but only your passport, all spanish companies don’t care about that and they will always ask you this official document !!!
For non european citizens, you have to check with the spanish embassy of your country to know the required documents to get your visa because your passport will allow you only to stay 3 months like tourist. In case if you decide to come and to find a job here before to be an illegal tourist, check out those 2 websites (no english version):
- Labor and Foreigner Department, list of offices in different autonomous regions and towns in Spain
- Public Administration Department, to know what to do to be legal in Spain
After getting my NIE, it left me one last thing to do, go to the city hall of my district to be registered. To do it, I just had to bring my NIE and my renting flat contract. After, all went smoothly and my adventurer life can start. About the social security number, if you have a job, the company will do it for you but if you prefer to do it by yourself, go to the office of treasurer situated at the calle sant fructuos 80.
Living since 2000, if you are going to ask me if I am planning to go back to my country or to go to live in other one, well really I don’t know for the moment because I still like this city and I have no plan. After living in a big city where all are speed and fast life, I was looking for a country where relax life is a must and I found it here in Spain.
If you are going to ask me if I would like to live in another city than Barcelona. I will answer you yes. I like travel and I have visited a lot of spanish towns and one I like the most it is Granada in south of Spain. Life over there is more relax, people are very friendly and they know to live by taking their time to do things. The town is very nice, pleasant and beautiful and one of the most important point, the cost life is more cheaper than Barcelona. The beach is at 1h by car or by bus and almost the same time to sky at Sierra Nevada mountain. The only problem is there is no job for me !!!
But don’t think that Spain is very nice and like any countries, it has its bad side. For example in the current life, if you have a plumbing problem and you need to repair it quickly... well plumbers have not the same time concept like you and quick for them can mean 1 week and not 1h !!!