Interview with Anouk Grootjans
Introducing anouk grootjans, A Dutch expat in Barcelona.
Why did you choose to relocate to Barcelona?
In 2014 I came to Barcelona for an internship and never left. At first it was a temporary situation, but then I ended up staying here to start my own graphic design company: www.designbyanouk.com.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced after your relocation?
Saying goodbye to my friends back home and adjusting to the language barrier.
What do you love the most about Barcelona?
The free lifestyle, the nice weather, and my close group of friends make Barcelona my home. I love that you don't have to plan anything here,it is always a fun full week full of spontaneous activities.
What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time I like to go out of town with my boyfriend or friends to go biking, hiking, or camping. I prefer to discover beautiful new places in Catalonia than to travel far. That's what's so great about living in Barcelona, the beautiful nature that can be found in the vicinity, nothing can match that for me!
If you could give one piece of advice to future expats in Barcelona, what would it be?
Learn the language before you arrive. Knowing the language will make things go a lot easier, and save you from a lot of awkward moments.
What do you miss the most about home?
My family and friends from home! Also, some things are more organised in the Netherlands.
How did you meet your main community of friends?
Through my old internship and a bar we always went to - we met another group of friends there. It is likely you will meet a lot of your friends through work. Having flatmates is another great way to meet friends, I rented out a room in a shared apartment for a few years and met lots of people.
Do you use your native language at work?
Yes. Now, I run my own business, but before that I worked at an office with only Dutch speaking colleagues.
How did you find a place to live?
I found my current apartment via friends of friends.
Did you find the paperwork difficult to manage?
About design by Anouk
For several years I have been an independent entrepreneur and owner of my own graphic design studio, Design by Anouk. I work for both Dutch and Spanish clients.I do graphic work for branding, printing digital use, and more.A while ago, I started my own postcard line. My goal is to improve the range of standard (boring) postcards. My cards are cheerful and colorful illustrations of places, buildings, or objects that inspire me in Barcelona. Now, my cards are in different shops for sale in the city and I'm proud of that!