Everybody who has spent time in a different country knows that expat life is not quite like anything else in the world. The confusion of the first few days and weeks, the slow, but steady process of acclimation, the little peculiarities and quirks that might strike you about your new surroundings: almost any situation you encounter can make for a great story. If you are so inclined and want to blog about it, of course!
Our InterNations recommended blog section features talented expat bloggers from around the world. Their offerings to the blogosphere have been selected for their great entries and high quality, whether they may be funny, informative, interesting, deeply personal or a combination of all of the above.
Let’s hear from our featured bloggers in Barcelona:
I love the expat community in Barcelona. My closest friends are all expats and we share experiences and stories all the time. I moved here for University so it was very easy to make friends.
Barcelona has a big expat community. It is almost as if the city is divided into three parts: expats, Catalans, and tourists. Many expats are from Spanish speaking countries and once an expat I think that it is easy to meet others. I have found a great network of expats here and I think that is because so many people choose to come here because they love the city rather than move here because they have to.
Barcelona is a breath of fresh air. You can walk absolutely everywhere, you simply cannot do that in London. What I also love; You´ll be walking down a street you may have visited a week earlier and suddenly go “oh! I´ve not seen this place before, this is new?!” New places pop up all the time and it´s so refreshing.
I came with what should have lasted me about a year without working, but I continued my NY spending habits after arriving here and the saving ran dry nearly twice as fast as I had expected. Working without documentation is also not the steadiest source of income, so I was living much rougher than I had been used to in NYC. Even today, my monthly teachers’ salary is about what I would have made in an average week behind the bar.
I think my favorite was when I was trying to describe Project Runway to a friend. It’s an American fashion design reality competition, and sometimes they have really, really weird challenges. One particular week they had to go to the pet shop to buy materials to make clothes out of. My friend was absolutely appalled. He asked how they could show people making clothes of out dogs on television!
My life isn’t so very different. The Spanish times for everything seems to be made for me: I’ve always had lunch around 2 or 3pm, and eaten dinner late. I am pretty flexible with plans as well, so it doesn’t bother me so much that “plans” here are always tentative.
I prepared myself for Barcelona by reading about the civil war and Catalan culture, but it was still not enough. Catalan people are peculiar and interesting at the same time. They are a bit standoffish at first. They are not sure if to judge a person by all the anti-American propaganda and stereotypes they hear perpetrated in the media or if to decide for themselves what an American is like by measure of their own interactions with an American.
When I arrived in Barcelona I had already experienced the life in Spain before and also in other countries such as Germany, Switzerland and Australia. I was already used to new circumstances and different cultures. Nevertheless, I didn’t expect the Catalan culture to be so different than the Spanish culture I had experienced in Zaragoza.