A lot of people dream of moving south, to sun, beach and great food. But what challenges do we face when moving to a country like Spain, and especially an island with its very own culture?
The famous holiday destination of Mallorca, has never stopped growing in popularity, ever since tourism was started here back in the early 1920’s.
Alice Taylor, a British girl working in marketing, has taken up the challenge and followed her dream of moving to Palma. In this interview, Alice explains some of the challenges and pitfalls of moving to Palma, and how to adopt to the culture of the city.
How did you decide to move to Palma?
I was working in marketing for a language school in Valencia, but wanted to try something different. I didn’t want to leave Spain yet, as I was still trying to learn the language and I’ve fallen in love with the country. I found a job in an exciting startup in Palma de Mallorca – ezebee.com, and therefore moved to the island to work for them. I’ve been here for a year and a half now and never looked back!
What have been the biggest challenges, moving to Palma?
In all of Spain in general I have had quite a few issues with administration for housing, jobs, banks etc. Without a good knowledge of the language it’s really difficult to get by with all of the things you need to prepare. For example, a NIE (mandatory tax number) took me a long time to organize and I felt like everyone I spoke to asked for something different. When opening a bank account, I went to several who all told me I could not open one without paying life insurance, which I later realized was not true and I was being misled. And other general administration here, takes a lot longer than it does in the UK.
How have you found a social network?
Most of the friends I’ve made here, were either from a shared flat or from work. Well, I guess that’s where you usually spend most of your time isn’t it? I also made some friends from the many international meetings and intercambios, available in the city. If you want to make friends here in Mallorca, you have to go out and meet people at events when possible. Mallorcan people in general are fairly closed, but once you get to know them, they are really lovely.
How does the local culture differ from other places you have lived? Examples?
I have only really lived in different parts of Spain and the UK, so I don’t have so much to judge by. But I can definitely notice the difference between Spanish culture and British. And most of the time I prefer the culture here in Spain. I really love the way that people are very open, friendly and especially generous. Especially regarding food. Food and Meal times are very important here, and something I’ve learned that we take for granted in the UK. We should learn to appreciate food and enjoy that time with the people we love.
The Spanish are also very laid back, not too stressed and calmer, however sometimes of course, this is a negative thing. I prefer the punctuality we have in the UK and the fact that if we say we will do something, we will.
What challenges do you meet, in your professional life?
The language is something which can definitely be improved. If I were to speak fluent Spanish rather than the basic conversational Spanglish which I do speak, I think I could do much better in my work. Not to mention Mallorquin (a dialect from Catalan), I think my life and my work could become 100% easier if I also spoke the language which the locals love.
If you could take a step backwards, what would that be in regards of moving to Palma?
I think that Palma was certainly not the place I expected to move to, if you asked me just after I finished university in 2014. In terms of a place you would expect to find a marketing job in English, I would have thought it could be London rather than a small island in Spain. But I am certainly happy with my decision and without sounding cheesy, I love the island, I have a great flat here and I met a lovely Mallorquin guy too. I think it’s important to spend time abroad and explore new cultures and languages, so I’m doing just that. As long as I am developing myself and my professional experience then what more could I want, especially with the beaches and clear blue sea water all around me! I’m pretty lucky 🙂