Relocation story

Spanish Story of George & Elena – Move for the Better!

Last updated on 27 Dec 2023

Relocation to Spain of George & Elena turned out to be one of their top five best life decision they ever made! They moved two years ago and never looked back. Read on how their lives have changed to the better! 

Where are you from and why did you decide to move to Spain?

We are from Bucharest, Romania and we decided to move to Spain so we could get away from the Romanian winters where you couldn’t see the sun for few weeks in a row. But also as we’ve always been in love with Spain in general and we’ve been planning a relocation for quite some time.

When did you move & where in Spain did you settle? Did you move on your own or as a family? 

We moved here on 1st of August 2021 and we chose Málaga, more specifically Rincón de la Victoria where we are still living today. We moved here the two of us, plus our dog. We didn’t know anyone and didn’t have any friends or family here. We just decided to take the leap and that was it.

Did you use professional help for the immigration procedures (visas, permits, any admin paperwork) and/or any relocation services (property search, schools, etc)? 

Yes, we did. We worked with Irina Saltmarsh to get our NIE and also property search while we were still living in Romania. Later on, Irina also helped us with the empadronamiento procedure.

The NIE process was super smooth, Irina was on top of everything, she was able to get appointments pretty fast and she prepared every necessary document for our appointment. Honestly, we were stress free the entire time. The only thing we needed to do is just to show up to the appointment. Irina was also available at any time to speak with the agents in Spanish, since our Spanish knowledge was limited at that time.

With the property search, Irina was of tremendous help! We were still in Romania during this process, so Irina was doing the property viewing on our side. We began by searching properties on Idealista that met our criteria. We previously forwarded these criteria to Irina as well, so we were searching for properties on both ends. We had three main challenges that could have made this process a complete failure: we didn’t have Spanish working contracts, we had a big dog and we were not in Spain at that time.  On top of this, we didn’t speak the language and we were not aware of Spanish renting laws and we couldn’t analyze contracts by ourselves. Despite of all these challenges, Irina managed to find us the perfect apartment that met ALL of our criteria, from the second viewing. She went to the place on our behalf to inspect the place, to meet the owner and to check the area. We were constantly communicating through video and she always shared her personal opinions about the place, how did the owner seem etc. She always had our own interest in mind, and it was like we were there in person. She was in charge of all the paperwork, contracts, analyzing clauses and everything, just to make sure we weren’t being scammed. She was our own eyes and mind. If it wasn’t for Irina, we couldn’t have managed to find an apartment by ourselves with all the minuses we had.

Then, the empadronamiento process we did later on with Irina, was again smooth and stress free. She prepared every document required, she did the appointments and she came with us during the appointment to assist with everything.

Overall, Irina made our move to Spain much easier than we would have thought and she took care of all these painful processes you have to do when you move to Spain.

How difficult was it to find your first home and do you still live in the same place? If you moved – tell us why

As I previously mentioned, we had all the ingredients to make this process a super difficult and frustrating one: we didn’t have Spanish working contracts, we had a big dog and we were not in Spain at that time.  On top of this, we didn’t speak the language and we were not aware of Spanish renting laws and we couldn’t analyze contracts by ourselves.
It only took two viewings to find our apartment, first there was an apartment in Mijas Golf which we didn’t rent and the second one was this apartment in Rincón de la Victoria, where we still live today, 2 years later.

What is your occupation in Spain – tell us a few words. Has it changed compared to what you did in your home country?

Elena is an Art Director and George is a Product Design Lead. Since we moved to Spain our positions evolved. Elena jumped from being an illustrator to being an Art Director and George jumped from being a Product Designer to being a Head of Product Design. On top of this, we got remote full time jobs in two Spanish Tech start-ups, one in Málaga and the other in Barcelona. 

How integrated do you feel into the local community and lifestyle?

When we moved here, we wanted a more authentic Spanish area, where we could be surrounded by mostly Spaniards. We’ve received exactly that. We live in an Urbanization where the grand majority of our neighbours are Spanish. The moment we moved here, we were received with a lot of kindness and everyone wanted to help us integrate as quickly as possible. Moreover, our work colleagues and friends we made in the past 2 years contribute greatly for We feel deeply immersed in the community around here and it feels so natural that we even forget sometimes how our life in Romania was before our move. We score really high now on the social scale and we often have a lot of social gatherings or events. From being introverts, we became highly social people now.

Do you have any regrets about the move to Spain and/or miss anything from your home country? If yes – tell us what

No regrets at all. It was top five one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. We obviously miss our families but they get to visit us and experience the Spanish sun as well.

What was the main advantage and the main challenge you experienced with moving to Spain?

We love pretty much everything when it comes to Spain. People are super friendly, the food is great and the weather is amazing. Also the public healthcare system is quite good, and the transportation infrastructure is great as well. As you can see there a lot of benefits, but in order to be objective we have to mention a few drawbacks as well. What we find hard to accommodate in our daily routine is the late dinner hour that the Spanish people have and this is translated into most restaurants being closed from 2 until 8 in the evening. Also outside of the summer schedule, most supermarkets are closed on Sunday. To be honest we ended up couple of times going for groceries on a Sunday, and the store was closed :).

Any advice you would like to give to those considering or in the process of moving to Spain

Spain, overall, as an experience is great. We strongly recommend it as we don’t have any regrets on the decision we made. There are also small things that you may not like, so we suggest doing a bit of research before, like try joining a group on Facebook and ask for advice, or try to find the area that suits your lifestyle best. For example, if you don’t like hot summers, maybe don’t go searching for a place in the south of Spain, or if you are more into the party scene, maybe don’t search for a place in a small pueblo. It’s all about finding a place that suits your lifestyle, culture and way of living. We know it may sound like a difficult task, but we highly recommend it as this experience basically changed our lives for the better. 

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