So, your employer is planning a corporate relocation to Spain, and you have decided to take a new position overseas. This decision may bring about any number of emotions – excitement, anticipation, stress, happiness and sadness. But just as importantly, this decision will require a lot of work on your end. Even if your company is handling the international moving and helping with arrangements for employees such as accommodations, transportation, work visas and other paperwork, you will still have quite a few tasks to handle on your own. Here are five of the most important things to consider when relocating to Spain or any other European country:
1. Soak in the Spanish Culture
Even if your employer is paying for Spanish language classes, there is much more to learn. Relocating to Spain will be easier if you take extra classes, read books about the local culture, subscribe to magazines and even visit before you move, if possible. Once you’re there, consider joining local clubs and engaging in activities where you might meet people who live in the area. This will help to lessen the emotional burden that often comes with relocating.
2. Examine Your Health Coverage Options
If your employer is providing health insurance and they have only given you one or two options, then this aspect of your move will be simple. If you are left to procure your own medical coverage, you will need to study up on all the options. Either way, it’s a good idea to learn more about their typical healthcare processes so you know what to do and where to go if you need medical assistance.
3. Open a Spanish Bank Account
As soon as you have proof of address and a visa, you can open a bank account, which will more than likely be required to arrange for new services in Spain, such as a mobile phone (if your employer isn’t providing one). Try to find the bank with the best currency exchange; a little research here will go a long way.
3. Research the Roads and Requirements for Drivers
If you plan on driving in Spain, you will need to learn more about the requirements and regulations to ensure compliance. You may have to go to a driving school and get a new license on your own, or your employer may be assisting with this as part of the international office moving. Either way, the laws are different and you need to know what you’re facing as a new driver in this country.
5. Get to Know the Trains, Trams and Buses
Chances are you will end up using public transportation after moving to Spain. Most European countries are set up with excellent public transportation systems, and in many cases it is simply more convenient to take a metro train, tram or bus in the city you’ll soon call home. You may even decide to sell your car. If you’re skeptical because public transportation isn’t popular where you live, just give it a try. Your life may be a whole lot easier as a result.
Alba, a native of Spain who now lives and works in the U.S., is an expert on international office moving. She loves her home nation and is happy to share tips on how to acclimate to the culture, as well as how to successfully undertake an office-wide relocation overseas.