Expat Coffee Talk – these are the days of our L.I.V.E.S.

Expat Coffee Talk – these are the days of our L.I.V.E.S.

This post has been brought to you by the Chronicles of LIVES – Living in Very Entertaining Situations.

I’m a Canadian who lives in Spain. Forget about the “Canadian” part for a moment. I’m an expat who has chosen to live in a land far, far away that isn’t my home country. Are you American, Australian or from another part of the world and have always wondered why people like me leave their country of origin to go live somewhere else?

Maybe you’re that person that only travels to other countries to spend time on the beaches, a.k.a. all inclusive resorts. If you are then perhaps you’ve asked your expat friends when they’re planning on returning to their country of origin, because surely, they don’t plan on being away from “home” forever….right? “What about being close to your family?” “Raising your kids?” No? Ok, ok, well, I hope I’m wrong. One thing is someone growing up with the same friends all their life, getting married in the same town, having kids in the same town, and having the same job in the same town, but another thing is being presumptuous and expecting everyone else to do all that. There are friends who grow up in the same city and travel to places like Punta Cana and Riviera Maya, and believe that they’ve seen the country, or *cough* *cough* the world.

I digress.

It could be that our expat friends who live away from their country of their upbringing call their new residence “home”. Thank goodness for the existence of diversity of thoughts because I’m an expat and do not call my country of residence “home”. I’m fortunate to be able to call both Canada AND Spain my home. What, you think that just because I’ve left my native land I don’t think of it as “home” anymore? Or just because I’m a foreigner in Spain means that I can’t call it “home”? I actually feel comfortable calling two completely different countries “home” because I’ve been lead to feel that way. Plus, it’s a complicated way of life and I like it 🙂

Maybe you have expat friends who believe that there are no such thing as borders along countries, that if they feel like living elsewhere then they will go do it.

I always wondered how expats do it. Do they just wake up one day and say that they feel like picking up their stuff and moving to a foreign country? What if they don’t even speak the language? What then?

Do expats move to be adventurous? Or because they are adventurous? If by adventurous they mean that they’ve been treated differently because they’re not from that country, or misunderstood because it’s not their native language, then I’ve been there! Like I said, my way of living is complicated but I always feel like it was worth the move.

So, what’s it like living in Spain? I’ll have to leave that topic for another time now, so feel free to stay tuned.

Signing off,

Shamim Sobhani

 

Photo courtesy of Utomo Hendra Saputra

 

How I found a job in Spain in 5 steps

How I found a job in Spain in 5 steps

As an expat, I´ve been asked how I managed to find a permanent job as a teacher in Madrid. It´s tough landing a job if you´re not from any of the countries that belong to the European Union.

Many people come over from North America through an exchange program. Here´s how I did it:

  1. I wanted to move to Spain to receive more education, so I applied to a Master´s program at a University in Spain.
  2. After I was accepted I applied for a student visa (this was mandatory).
  3. I realized I didn´t want to move out of Spain after I would finish my Master´s, so halfway through the program I applied to an exchange program to teach English at a private bilingual school. As I already possessed a student visa, I didn´t need to return to Canada and apply again.
  4. My exchange program was a maximum commitment of two years. Halfway through the year, the school I worked at expressed interest and asked me to work for the them full-time after my two years would be concluded.
  5. My residency status changed from ¨student¨ to ¨married to a Spaniard¨ because I got married at this point, so I was granted a residency permit. If I had not gotten married my school would have sponsored me to get a work visa.

A timeline of the steps goes like this:

Master´s program was 1 year long.

Teaching exchange program was 2 years long.

I was hired by the same school right after that. I´ve been teaching there for a total of 5 years so far.

While it´s usually not difficult to get accepted into an exchange program to teach, you should like teaching or have the desire to teach, otherwise, you´ll be doing something you don´t like doing.

Signing off –

Shamim Sobhani

Photo courtesy of photo-nic.co.uk nic