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Victor Horcasitas

Interview with Victor Horcasitas



landed in:



English, Spanish, Catalan

age range:

45-54 years old


Sant Gervasi


Editor, Publisher & Growth Marketing Ninja. - Inform expats about key issues and stories. - Help companies sell to Barcelona's international community - Professional eater of Mexican tacos and Spanish tapas

Introducing Victor horcasitas, a mexican expat in Barcelona.

Why did you choose to relocate to Barcelona?

Combination of weather, food, lifestyle and proximity to EU capitals.

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced after your relocation?

Professional development, immigration / visa hassles, unreliable legal frameworks, terrible customer service and difficult access to capital markets.

What do you love the most about Barcelona?

Excellent friendships with intl community, easy access to mountains, beaches, rivers, urban comforts and weather is awesome.

If you could give one piece of advice to future expats in Barcelona, what would it be?

Join events hosted by both - Barcelona Metropolitan and The American Society of Barcelona.

What are the top 3 things on your bucket list whilst living in Barcelona?

1. Purchase a home. 2. Get a Spanish Drivers License. 3. Visit every EU capital from Barcelona.

What do you miss the most about home?

Great customer service, much better professional opportunities and family.

What was your greatest fear before moving to Barcelona?

Having to earn a Spanish salary, never being accepted by locals as a true Barcelonian and something bad happening to family members across Atlantic.

What were the biggest adjustments you had to make when settling into life in Barcelona?

Getting divorced, losing custody of my children and loss of my former in-laws, with whom I had a great relationship. Having to recreate a network of friends and professional contacts was very difficult. Expats who are married to a local are at an enormous disadvantage with respect to divorces. Get professional advice if this is a risk!!!

Did you experience any particular elements of culture shock?

Absolutely. Everything from: rampant and accepted cheating in schools; late morning start times for work; eating styles; constantly being surprised about local/national holidays; a culture that is highly suspicious of foreigners; coffee with liquor in the mornings; a shocking inculcation of distrust of Madrid (independence movement) at children's schools.

How did you meet your main community of friends?

American Society of Barcelona is packed with kind, smart and helpful members.

How did you find the job seeking process?

Horrible. Between terrible salaries and constant immigration issues seeking a job was a futile effort. It is much better to start your own company and create your own opportunities.

Do you use your native language at work?


How does the work culture in Spain differ from your home country?

In my experience, back home there is a much more open culture, much higher dedication to both professional and academic excellence, less bureaucracy, better technology, easier access to financial sponsors and significantly better fiscal treatment. Trying to run your own company in Spain is much more complicated, given the lack of transparency, interference from fiscal authorities, onerous statutory filings and very poor levels of English.

How does the cost of living in Barcelona compare to back home?

In Barcelona the cost of living is much cheaper and more reasonable, except for housing and rental prices. It is important to note that if you earn a Spanish salary, quite often the lower cost of living is hard to appreciate since your share of living expenses is very similar to back home.

How did you find a place to live?

Scouring all the online agency opportunities that offered a flat with the right sizes, location and acceptable conditions. It was a very frustrating process: many agents failed to show up to appointments; descriptions that significantly varied from reality; unreasonable requirements to rent to an expat.

Did you find the paperwork difficult to manage?

Yes. Spanish bureaucracy is a nightmare. Rules are constantly changing. Ask the same question to 5 different attorneys and you will often get very different answers. Document authentication, sworn translations and mis-information from official websites is difficult to navigate. Also, civil servants have a well earned reputation to AVOID doing their job and making it difficult to accomplish simple tasks if it is your first time doing so. Much better (and ultimately cheaper) to get an expert.

How did you prepare your children to move abroad?

They were so young, they didn't care. For them it was adventure and although we lived in Washington DC, they were very close to family members in Barcelona, making the transition easy for my kids.

Do you have any tips for other expat parents with children in Barcelona?

Far too many anecdotes and insightful tips to mention here. After 25 years of experience helping people integrate into Barcelona, multiple personal relocations across the Atlantic and the English Channel, I now run a magazine to help expats transition successfully to Barcelona. Join me for some wine and tapas... and register for our magazine... and I'd be delighted to share insights and heard-earned lessons for FREE! Register here

Thank you to Victor horcasitas for sharing your expat story with us!

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