Interview with George
35-44 years old
Russian, English and Spanish
I am working in IT education
Introducing George, a russian expat in Barcelona.
Why did you choose to relocate to Barcelona?
I like the city's scale which is much smaller than Moscow, where I am originally from. The climate, which has seasons, changes but is usually very mild. I enjoy the sea and mountains around the city and the fact that it's still not a typical tiny town by the sea which only comes alive during the summer season. Come to think of it, there's not many cities by the sea in Europe with this combination and a warm sea.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced after your relocation?
Finding my way on what to do next in terms of work activity (e.g. which direction to go).
What do you love the most about Barcelona?
Calamity, slow pace of life, the weather, amazing scenery if you go on a road trip.
If you could give one piece of advice to future expats in Barcelona, what would it be?
Understand the difference between being a tourist and living here, explore Barcelona a bit more before deciding where to settle. There are several neighbourhoods in the city and they are very different from each other in terms of atmosphere, quality of life and the people living there.
Did you experience any particular elements of culture shock?
Not really, I've travelled a lot before moving and spend a lot of time in Spain as well. I enjoy immersion into different cultures and lifestyles so this part wasn't an issue at all. Although I know a lot of people who had a bit of a rough time adjusting and dealing with cultural shock.
How did you meet your main community of friends?
With people moving around and some coming to Barcelona for a limited period of time because of a job or some other reason, there is a constant feeling of them coming and going. Honestly, it's pretty hard to meet new people for me since I'm either at work or spending time with my kids, so socialising is not working as well as it could for me.
Do you use your native language at work?
Nope, we speak English all the time and it's actually an issue. My Spanish is deteriorating fast without practicing.
How did you prepare your children to move abroad?
My son was born here and my daughter was only 3 at the time of the move, so for her the biggest challenge was starting school immediately for the first time. The language though was a minor issue, since I was already talking in English with her at home.
Do you have any tips for other expat parents with children in Barcelona?
Find a school and medical insurance in advance so it's all prepared before the move.