Glittering fairy lights, oversized Christmas trees and the smoky scent of chestnuts and honey almonds roasting on an open fire. Dulce Navidad is playing in the shopping centers and long lines loop through El Corte Inglés. It’s the end of November and beginning to look a lot like Christmas all over Spain.
My standard packing style usually starts the night before I leave, typically after my despedida (farewell) dinner, and almost always after one-too-many glasses of wine. It’s one thing to rock that laissez faire lifestyle when packing for a month or two, but a year of living abroad is definitely higher stakes, as I learned moving to Spain as an Auxiliar de Conversación.
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably received your regional placement as a Language Assistant in Spain… congrats! If you’re like most first-time auxiliares, this will be your first time living overseas for more than a just study abroad stint, and let’s just say… it’s different. Different in lots of good ways, and a few stressful ways, but absolutely different.
The truth is, there’s quite a bit that you won’t be able to do until you arrive – finding a piso (apartment) you love, setting up a bank account, securing a Spanish SIM card, etc. There are, however, a few things you can do now to make the transition a whole helluvalot easier when you arrive, and here are my top 3: consulates, cash & communication.