When you tell people you are going to be living in Pamplona, you can expect to hear a barrage of bull-running jokes in response. Yes, the “running of the bulls” is a big deal in the city, and takes place every year at the San Fermín Festival, but expats living in Pamplona will quickly come to realize that this is just one small part of life in Pamplona. The city is known as "The Gateway of Spain", due to its location close to the border with France, and it is in an enviable location, just a few miles from the coast and a few hours’ drive away from the world class skiing resorts of the Pyrenees. The city is famous for its intricate gothic architecture, including a number of 14th and 15th century churches and cathedrals, all set within the walls and bulwarks of the grand fortified citadel. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the full history of the city, which is has so much more to offer than the chance to run away from bulls.
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Pamplona is situated right on the edge of the troubled Basque Country (Pais Vasco), which has been at the center of a battle for Spanish secession for many decades. Basque residents speak their own language, Euskara, which is frequently heard on the streets of Pamplona and in other Basque-adjacent areas. Campaigners for Basque independence will often choose to eschew the Spanish language so before moving to Pamplona, learn a few key phrases in Euskara to help you get by. And of course any expatriate about to move to Pamplona can also use InterNations to seek out and speak to Spanish expats in order to learn more about the history of the Basque Country, so that they don’t accidentally offend their new neighbors! Those expatriates who are courteous, respectful and open minded about their new home will then quickly come to settle in to life as an expat in Pamplona. And if you are still having troubles getting in touch with locals and expats alike, then you can use the InterNations platform to socialize and network with global minds and expats living in Pamplona, Spain, or across the world.
As with any move abroad, make sure you have your visas and permits in order before taking off to start working in Pamplona. Spain is a member of the European Union, so European expatriates should not have any trouble making the move to Pamplona. However, if you intend on working in Pamplona for a significant period of time, you absolutely must be able to speak Spanish. While the city sees an influx of tourists each July for the San Fermín Festival, for the rest of the year it is very much a typical Spanish city and in order to move ahead in the workplace you will need to be able to communicate with your colleagues. Pick up some tips on improving your language skills in our Expat Magazine, use the forums, discussion groups or private communications system on InterNations to practice your Spanish with other others, or simply speak to other expats in the InterNations community about what to expect from your new life in Spain.