Interview with Evie Berland
Introducing Evie Berland, a French expat in Barcelona.
Why did you choose to relocate to Barcelona?
I came to Barcelona to gain more work experience in a Spanish environment. I also did a Master's degree in International Business at EAE Business School and the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, specialising in Big Data and Business Analytics.
How did you find a place to live?
It is very important for me to live with roommates I get along well with in terms of lifestyle, so I first searched on the app 'Badi', for a person to live with. Turns out I started to chat with someone who had an amazing flat in Barceloneta, close to the beach and she was searching for a roommate. Now, we have been friends for years and we still live together as roommates. I also checked blogs and YouTube video experiences to know which quarters to live in according to my needs.
Did you find the paperwork difficult to manage?
The paperwork and administrative steps are in essence easy to understand, but the hard part is getting your papers quickly. Even though I am European and speak perfect Spanish, I had to get help from my managers at work and also from a lawyer to be able to get my papers fast (work permit, social security number, and civil registration). I would say that it is important to seek support (from your work colleagues, fellow expats, or lawyers), in advance if you have just arrived in Barcelona and are starting work right away, in order to avoid administrative or tax issues.
How does the cost of living in Barcelona compare to back home?
The cost of living is, overall way lower than Paris where I am from. Your food shopping in Barcelona, costs half as much as it does in Paris. However, the cost of rent is a little bit more expensive. In general, I prefer going out and doing leisure activities here in Barcelona as the price is also much lower.
How does the work culture in Spain differ from your home country?
As I mainly work with startups, I would say the work culture, team bonding activities and processes are the same in the majority of startups in France, because startups have their own “culture” worldwide. However, in France we tend to spend hours and hours in meetings and it’s not really 'approved' to take multiple breaks during the day. Whereas in Spain, from my own experience, meetings are much shorter and we usually have more breaks throughout the day and this is perfectly normal.
How did you find the job seeking process?
The job-seeking process was very smooth for me. I decided to apply to internships and freelance jobs part-time (20/25h per week) to combine it with my studies. I applied mainly via LinkedIn Premium or the website 'Welcome to the Jungle', which has a special focus on startups, as the tech startup sphere is very dynamic in Barcelona and generally they search for interns who can speak several languages.
Did you experience any particular elements of culture shock?
The main culture shock I experienced as a French person is how close Spanish people are to each other, how friendly people speak in restaurants, cafes, shops, supermarkets and in day-to-day life. The first time I was called "guapa" or "cariña" in a bakery, that was a shock for me! But this is perfectly normal for the Spanish culture, which is more friendly than the French one.