Moving to another country is a wonderful thing to do, but it can also be pretty nerve wracking. And for Spanish nationals, not only do you have to get used to a whole different country and city, but you’re going to be speaking another language as well!
Never fear, because hundreds of thousands of people from Spain have successfully made the move to London – and you can too.
So, with that in mind, here are 9 important things to know regarding your big move.
1. Speak English as much as possible
Forcing yourself to speak English can, at least at first, be a little daunting, especially if you’re new to the language.
Will people understand you? Will you understand their replies? Will they laugh at you? Or worse still, ignore you?
These are all natural thoughts and emotions that everyone goes through when becoming confident speaking in a language other than their own.
But believe us – the more you speak it, the happier you’ll be doing so. At first you might get the odd person asking you to repeat yourself, but that really doesn’t matter.
No one’s going to laugh at you (and if they do, then they’re not the sort of person you want to be having a conversation with anyway).
After all, the Brits are the worst people when it comes to speaking another language – in fact, they’ll be so busy being impressed at your skills that they won’t even notice if you mispronounce the odd word here and there…
2. Come to grips with the transport system
This is pre-payment card that means you don’t have to purchase tickets for individual journeys. You swipe your card at the beginning and end of every journey, and the system automatically adds up the day’s journeys and gives you the cheapest price.
3. Find the best places to shop for food
Buying food in London is easy – there’s a store on every corner…
But whilst finding food is simple, finding the best, freshest, and value for money products is something else. The small Londis, 7-11, and other stores you see all around the city sure are convenient, but they’re expensive and probably don’t offer the best quality of produce.
For ease, price, and quality combined, the large supermarkets can be a good place to shop. Morrisons, Tesco, Asda, and Sainsbury’s are the major ones in London. Each sells surprisingly good value and good quality fresh foods.
In addition to finding great products, this is a really fun way to shop as well.
4. Keep an eye out for cheap travel home
There’s going to be times when you want to visit home – be it for a family event or simply to catch up with friends and loved ones.
London is a great place to be to take advantage of cheap flights to Spain. However, these sell out fast. So, to ensure that you don’t miss out, sign up for email updates from various airlines – such as Easyjet and Ryanair.
And when booking a flight, use a price comparison website such as Skyscanner to ensure that you’re getting the best deal possible.
5. Discover the best Spanish restaurants
6. Join some Spanish expat Facebook groups
It’s great to get some support from others from home, and social media is a great way to do this.
There are a few Spanish groups on Facebook. These include Espanoles en Londres, Quedadas de Espanoles en Londres, and Espanoles en Londres-El Original.
Twitter is also good, with some popular Spanish accounts including @El_Iberico and @trabajolondon.
7. Know the best ways to find accommodation
Nice places to live are snapped up fast in London, so you need to move quickly if you see a place you like.
You can check out up to the minute sales and rentals available on websites Right Move and Zoopla. If you’re looking to share a flat or rent a room, then Easy Room Mate and Spare Room are great places to start your search.
Another popular website on which people advertise is Gum Tree.
8. Meet others from home
Of course, you’re going to make friends with many Brits and people from other countries, but it’s also nice to know a few folks from back home.
After all, you need the odd time when you can converse in your native tongue!
Internations is a great website that puts people from all countries in touch with each other. They arrange get togethers and help you find valuable information about your new city.
Meet Up is also a great place to connect with others from home. This website puts likeminded people in contact with each other, and they then arrange various meetings and activities.
Currently (as of January 2016), there are 8 specifically Spanish groups on the website, with members in each ranging from 23 to over 2,000 people.
9. And most importantly – immerse and enjoy
It has to be said that the people who get the most out of moving to another country are those who simply “go with the flow.”
Living in another country brings many positives, compared to a relatively small amount of negatives, but it’s your personal attitude that is key to your enjoyment and success in your new home.
Sure, there are going to be things that irritate you – and some that downright drive you crazy! But the whole reason for moving to a city like London is to experience a different way of life.
OK – London isn’t that far from Spain, but in some ways it can feel like you’re on the other side of the planet! The best way to deal with any situations that seem a little stressful is to try and find the funny side.
Do your utmost to get out and meet as many people as possible; soak up and enjoy the way things are done in London, and before you know it, the city will really become your new home away from home.
Good luck, and have fun…