Interview with Manfred Bortenschlager
Poblenou, but I spend a lot of time in my camper van travelling
Entrepreneur with various side hustles, including 'Live better, not perfect' for expats.
German, English, Spanish
35-44 years old
Introducing Manfred Bortenschlager, an austrian expat in Barcelona.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced after your relocation?
I did not really have big challenges. If I could name one, then I would say finding my rhythm, like creating a life that is mindful, healthy, and that I love. This was also my inspiration to create the “Live better, not perfect” membership to improve the well-being of expats with 5 other coaches (who are all expats too).
Why did you choose to relocate to Barcelona?
I joined a tech startup with headquarters in Barcelona
What do you love the most about Barcelona?
I have lived in many places and honestly, I think Barcelona is one of the best. You have the sea as well as the mountains. The weather is almost always good. The food is amazing. The vibe is great. People are fantastic. There is a huge international community and many opportunities for work and/or self-realization.
If you could give one piece of advice to future expats in Barcelona, what would it be?
Enjoy life here. Barcelona has so much to offer. Go out, meet people, exercise, and try as many things as possible. There is so much richness in activities that you can do in and around Barcelona.
What do you miss the most about home?
Snow, Glühwein, Apfelstrudel, which I am now making myself, and I take orders 😉 and of course my family.
Did you experience any particular elements of culture shock?
The Spanish bureaucracy can be quite challenging. Government services are often very complicated – even stupid at times.
How did you meet your main community of friends?
Initially through work. But then more and more through sports groups and activities. There are so many. And you can literally do whatever you can think of. A good platform is meetup.com to find your interest groups.
How did you find the job seeking process?
Thankfully I came here because of my new job. They also helped me with a lot of the paperwork which was incredibly helpful and saved a ton of time and energy.
Do you use your native language at work?
I do not speak German/Austrian a lot – just when I call family or friends at home. But I do speak a lot of English, which was a problem initially as it took me a while to improve my Spanish.
How does the work culture in Spain differ from your home country?
Everything seems to be a lot more “easy-going.” This can be good or bad, depending on the context. Generally, though it’s positive to take work things not too seriously to a degree where it starts to impact the quality of life negatively.
How does the cost of living in Barcelona compare to back home?
I am from a very small village in Austria. So, yes, the cost of living is significantly higher here. But also the quality of life is very different. Not necessarily better – that depends on what you are looking for – but for sure Barcelona has a lot to offer.