Thursday, January 12, 2012

Moving to Madrid: Useful Links

Starting up a new life in a foreign city can be intimidating and a true challenge, so having some useful resources at your finger tips never hurts.  Here are a few helpful links that made my adjustment much more manageable.

-For starters, every English speaking expat in Madrid should be familiar with Lingo Bongo, especially if teaching English is your desired occupation.  It's a perfect start to get involved in the expatriate community. Find everything from private classes, free language exchanges, free rooms, and even guitar lessons!

-Two useful sites for finding lodging are and  Both of them include an English option, filled with a wide variety of places to live, and it's free!

-To set up a bank account, you will want to choose the option of cuenta para no residentes.  They will ask you for a passport, proof of lease (show your rental agreement), and possibly a small fee (this varies).  Be patient because this process tends to differ depending on who you talk to. There are banks on every corner, the main ones being BBVA, Caja Madrid, and Santandar. 

-You can only use a pay-as-you-go mobile as a new resident in Spain due to contractual obligations.  Head to a Movistar, Vodafone, or T-Mobile and they will provide you with a simple phone that you can recharge at most ATMs, supermarkets, or phone shops.  

-If you are lost and need to get on the Internet fast, hit up a locutorio, that has a bay of computers and phones to use per minute.

-It always helps to have a little bit of cash on you upon arrival.  Many of the Spanish ATMs will charge a considerable surcharge to convert to Euros and having money on hand makes things a lot easier.  Also, most landlords require you to pay rent and a deposit in cash, so having enough bills on hand will save you a big potential head ache. 

Above all, remember to relax and don't be afraid to ask for help.  There are plenty of spots in the city that are expat friendly.  If you get really desperate, pop into a hotel or hostel in the tourist zones and someone who speaks good English will not be hard to find. Good luck and enjoy! It is an amazing experience to move to a new, fabulous city and get absorbed in the lifestyle.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this great information. I hope to put to use when I move to Madrid this fall.