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 Madrid:
Everything about my life has changed since I left the US, but most of it is simply because I am no longer a student. I left the states directly after graduating from university, so I became completely independent for the first time here in Spain. I remember that it was confusing at first to adjust my eating schedule, but now I have it down—coffee at 8:00, breakfast at 10:30, lunch at 2:30, a snack at 6:00 and dinner at 10:30—true Spanish style!
Well, I really enjoyed my first year in Madrid. Although many things were different than what I was used to back home, it wasn’t like a massive culture shock or anything. I came to Madrid with open expectations, not knowing whether I would stay for six months or a year so there was no pressure for me to “make it” here. I learned early on that being flexible to new circumstances is the best way to enjoy being an expat. Just rolling with whatever life throws your way makes your life so much easier.
I am now in Madrid. It's a common cliché that the Spanish bureaucracy is worse than most. While I have a cache of anecdotes illustrating this, there is one current situation that best underscores this. While I have yet to receive my permanent residency approval (over 1 ½ years in “tramite”), I already qualify for citizenship.
Most of my friends that are expats I met either through my teaching school or at my work. For the most part it’s been very easy to find fellow expats. We all came here for the same reason, to explore the world and enjoy Madrid!
I was not prepared for anything, to be honest! If I'd had the opportunity, I would have taken basic Spanish lessons before coming, of course. But apart from that, I don't think I could have prepared for anything – it was all a matter of exploring, discovering and learning things as I went along. And I'm glad for that experience, that journey.
I am from Grenoble (France), but I have always thought that Madrid was the perfect city to live in. The expat community is very friendly and life here is much easier than in Paris or Grenoble. Beautiful weather, perfect mix between urban lifestyle and nature, nice people…
I didn’t prepare anything!! I didn’t think about anything!! All I knew was that I wanted to leave the UK. I met a Spanish bloke and came here. I was too young and dizzy to think of the consequences. If I could go back and change things maybe I would, but I can’t regret my past, it’s made me the person I am now.
The expat community in Madrid is vivacious, welcoming and open-minded. Most people are almost always willing to share recommendations or give advice, whether it be about their favorite restaurants or the best English-speaking doctors. Although it’s rather difficult to make friends with Spaniards, it’s been fairly easy to meet fellow expats who are also enthusiastic about traveling, eating and adventuring!
Expats are always organizing events to practice Spanish, go hiking, running, volunteer and there are countless ways to get involved and meet other people who are new and looking for friends. My Spanish friends have also been so welcoming and amazing and I can’t wait for them to come visit me in the US next year.
I’ve found Madrid’s expat community to be fantastic. There are tons of foreigners living in Madrid, many of which are extremely active on social media and more than willing to lend a hand.