Want to know what it is like to live and work in Barcelona? Whether it is because you are planning to move there or just because you are interested, this article will be fun to read!
Hi! I am Seyamaila, a 24 years old girl from the Netherlands
I originally am half Dutch, half Sri Lankan and have been living in the Netherlands almost my whole life.
For the last 3 years, I have lived on and off in Spain. I first studied in beautiful Sevilla for 4 months, then worked for 6 months and later I moved to amazing Barcelona and worked there for 8 months. Best experiences of my life!
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What to expect in this article
Hi! I have been writing...
about Sevilla and Barcelona as it is part of my blog. But for the new readers: Hi! I am Seyamaila, as you may have read on the right part of this page. I lived in Sevilla and Barcelona. First I studied at University Loyola as an Erasmus student in Sevilla. A very small, private university.
A few months later I came back to Sevilla to work as an au pair and tour guide. Being an au pair wasn’t really something for me, so I already quit after a month, but I absolutely loved to be a tour guide. I cycled with Dutch tourists around beautiful Sevilla, told them about the fascinating history, and gave them the best tips.
I loved it!
Work in Barcelona
After working in the Netherlands for a couple of months, I decided to start working in Barcelona in September 2020.
I worked in customer care for TheFork, which was so much fun. We helped customers with making reservations or their questions about Yums (a point system) and helped restaurants who had difficulties maintaining the system.
Unfortunately, most restaurants in the Netherlands were closed due to Corona in the period I was working here, but I did work for other markets, like the Italian and Australian, which was quite interesting. The way people approach you for questions (by chat, email, or call) is very different in these two countries.
I was working from home for almost 8 months with TheFork within the Dutch team, therefore I have not learned much about the work culture in Spain. Nevertheless, it was an unforgettable experience, and can recommend working for TheFork to everyone! They are looking for people all over the world.
I worked 39 hours per week and got paid around 1300 euros per month. It’s less as in the Netherlands, but this is a normal salary for Spain.
I lived with my boyfriend (Nai) in a small apartment with the landlady and her son. We had our own bedroom and bathroom and paid around 570 euros per month for this, which was fine for us. I have heard stories that small studios might cost around 700 euros in Barcelona and we were thinking about moving to one, but we could not break our contract.
Check out these websites for houses or apartments:
In Sevilla, we paid around 400 euros for a room. I have heard stories from a friend living in Murcia that they pay 500 euro for a big house with a patio. So it really depends on the place you live in Spain how much you have to pay.
In total my boyfriend and I spend in total 1000 euros per month.
For food in Barcelona, you pay more than in other parts of Spain, but less as in other countries. You pay around 11 euros for all-you-can-eat sushi, in the afternoon. Lastly, for groceries, we paid around 30 euros per week for 2 people.
In Barcelona, you of course have to try all the different kinds of tapas, the paella and pinchos.
100 Montaditos is a good restaurant to try tapas, as it is pretty cheap but tasty! Many tapas cost around 1 euro there.
See these articles for awesome food places in BCN:
Advantages of living in Barcelona
Barcelona is amazing! Do you know any other city that is surrounded by mountains to do hikes, by sea, has beautiful architecture and is very international? There are some cities, but not many, and this makes Barcelona so special.
You can do so many things in this city and there are so many types of cuisines to try. We went out almost every weekend (not every, due to Corona), and still, I have not visited many spots and restaurants. The old bullfight ring and Casa Vicens are examples of that.
We have tried many types of cuisines; Spanish, Indian, South African, Ethiopian, Persian, Lebanese, Nepalese, Thai and I can continue. 🙂
Many internationals/ expats live and work here, which is another reason why living in Barcelona is so fun! You won’t get bored here.
Disadvantages of living in Barcelona
Every city has its own disadvantages, which is normal. One of the downfalls is that BCN can be pretty crowded, which is normal for a huge, but gorgeous city. Due to Corona, there were not any tourists. I feel like we were unfortunately lucky with this because we could visit spots without queues.
Another disadvantage, not only for Barcelona but for all of Spain is the bureaucracy. Getting your shit done in Spain is a pain. Rules change by the day and even lawyers make big mistakes. This is the reason Nai (he’s Indian) lost his residency after he went back to study and had to go back to India. Even I (European) did not complete my documents, because of the messy rules. So make sure you fix your documents as soon as you land in Spain (or before that).
Catalan, Spanish or English? To be living in Spain, you really need to be able to speak Spanish. Many, many people don’t speak English, even in Barcelona.
It might sound contradictory, but BCN is an international city, so more people, as usual, do speak English, which can be a disadvantage if you are learning Spanish. I often tried to speak in Spanish, still, whenever they hear I am struggling or hear I have an accent, they talk back in English. Thanks, but I want to practice! 😉
Lastly, because the metropolitan is located in the province of Catalunya (the province that most people want to be independent of Spain), many people speak Catalan. Most street signs are in Catalan, which can be quite confusing if you are trying to learn Spanish because it’s so different from Spanish.
Favourite spots in and around Barcelona
I love so many spots in Barcelona! I am fond of Montjuïc because of the nature and views. The area around the cathedral is lovely, since there are many shops and good restaurants.
I love the beach, because… the beach guys!
Every neighborhood in BCN is a bit different and that is what I love most. El Raval might not be the safest area, but I loved it, due to all the cheap Indian stores.
El Poblenou is super cool as it’s a business district and very international. The area around Camp Nou (where I used to live) is very lively.
I can go on, but all of Barcelona is amazing and you are very lucky if you get the chance to live here.
Before you leave: Please visit Sagrada Família, go in both Teleferics (cable cars) and visit a rooftop bar 🙂
Around Barcelona, there are many amazing places. Sitges, Montserrat, Tarragona, Girona are just a few of them. Take a look at these articles for all the gorgeous places in Catalunya:
See these articles for awesome places close to BCN:
I have many tips if you want to work and live in Barcelona.
- First of all: learn Spanish.
- Secondly, there are many customer care jobs in many languages so take a look at that.
- My third tip is to enjoy! Barcelona is a wonderful and buzzling city that does not sleep.
- My last tip is to take a look at more articles on this blog, as I have written a lot about Barcelona already 🙂
I hope you found this article useful. Just for reading or if you are really thinking about moving to Barcelona. If you have any questions or just want to talk about it and be excited, comment below or message me on my social media!
- XOXO -
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