How to Land a Job in Spain: Advice From a Serbian Marketing Specialist

by Gonzalo June 09, 2016

People, sun and sea — three ingredients for a fulfilling life

How to land a job in Spain: Advice from a Serbian marketing specialist

People, sun and sea — three ingredients for a fulfilling life

Originally from Belgrade, Serbia, Ivana Veljovic works as an online marketing specialist for Microapps in Malaga, Spain. Read on to see how she managed to land that job!

Why did you want to work in Spain?

I had a job, and we went to a congress in Barcelona. That was my first time in Barcelona and I thought this city’s so awesome, I could live and work here. After that I visited Mallorca and Ibiza and I said, “OK, I love Spain.” After that some things changed in my personal life so I decided I needed some adventure — go abroad and live where you don’t know anyone. In order to do that I need a job so let’s first find a job. And the country I wanted to go was definitely Spain.

Before that I never lived abroad, so Spain is my first country [other than Serbia].

What was your first week like in Malaga?

I was thinking a little bit in advance. When I had to find accommodation, I was thinking, “Let’s first start with Airbnb to find a room and get a host, and maybe the host can help me to show me some things.”

I met the host and he’s going to get the best reviews on Airbnb from me because the first day he showed me where to buy bus tickets (the next day I had to come to the office), and the mobile card, he showed me everywhere. I’m a vegetarian so it’s not easy to adapt to Spain. He said, “Here is a vegetarian restaurant; it’s the only one, but you can eat here,” so my first day was very awesome. The first night I was hanging out with him drinking a beer with his friends.

The only thing is I don’t speak Spanish. That is a funny part because the people here don’t speak English that much. Even my host, he doesn’t speak English that well but he can understand a lot of things, and I understand Spanish very well.

What interesting thing did you learn about Spanish culture?

They are very, very welcoming. For example, I have a colleague who thought it was too much, like, “I don’t want to kiss you.” Everyone seems like your friend, and that was awesome for me. What is really funny is that when I ask them for help with anything, even if they don’t speak English, they try to help you. So like, “Don’t worry, everything’s going to be okay.”

Before coming I spoke with my boss and he said, “We are here to help you. We know you have to go through that process, and it’s not that easy. You decided to take a big step, but don’t worry. You’re not alone.” And to be honest, I wasn’t alone. All the time if I needed help they were here.

I had a chance to talk with my colleagues before I came here over Slack, and we had a chat so somehow I felt like I already knew them. So for me it was normal that they will help you. I mean if you speak Spanish it will be easier, but if you don’t speak Spanish, it’s good to have some kind of help.

It’s good if you can find someone local to help and hang out with you because it’s healthy to have friends to go out with after work. But for example I just went to the beach to enjoy the sun.

What have you gained personally from your experience in Spain?

I decided to move to another country to challenge myself. I wanted to meet different kinds of people. In Spain I had a chance to meet different kinds of people and different ways of thinking.

Here there are more foreign people than there are in Serbia. I work with a girl from Kazakhstan, and other nationalities. So I learn differences in people and to approach different kinds of people. I had a chance to meet a guy who decided to live on a beach and work from time to time and see how he lives. That difference is really huge.

What’s your favorite thing about Malaga?

People, sun and sea. I’m taking Spanish classes on Skype because I really want to learn. You don’t have to, but I want to, to hang out with Spanish people.

Did you face any difficulties adjusting to life in Spain?

I hope the language won’t be a barrier. But I always say it depends on the person. I never look at things from the difficult side. You can always say, for example, I have to go through the paperwork and it’s really really boring. You spend a week finding papers and you will always miss one paper, but I don’t want to look at it like that’s so difficult because it’s a normal part of the process if you move from one country to another. I can’t even say that I miss my parents and my friends because I talk to them everyday and I’m not that far away.

Maybe for me the difficult thing was working from 9 to 7 but we have an hour where we can go to the nearby lake, lie down, eat and have a picnic. That’s pretty cool. We are in a technological part of Malaga so they call it Malaga’s Silicon Valley. But that was the first thing to get used to, working at 9, because at my previous company I worked from 11.

After the first 8 hours in the first week, I was like, “I’m going to die — I can’t anymore. I’m so sleepy.” But I have longer weekends, and the first week was their Semana Santa, which is their Easter. It’s crazy here. You couldn’t even go through the street because there are so many people. That part of the Spanish culture, when it comes to the church, they are a bit more into it than Serbian people. For me, I find it funny. They have a military hour and in Serbia, we have a lot of military so I thought it was nice but I already saw that in Serbia.

Finally, do you have any advice for those who want to work abroad?

To be honest, I suggest to all my friends and coworkers to check your website. At my previous company everybody asked me, “How did you manage to find a job?” I was like, “Guys, it’s not hard to find a job in a foreign country. I couldn’t believe that it’s that easy.”

You really just need to apply and someone will fix your visa and everything because in my head I thought it was hard to do that, but now it’s not. So advice and really big suggestion is to go toJobbatical, make a profile, try to find some good jobs, go and try if you really want to work in IT. If you’re a tech person you will find a job.

They just tell me, “You’re living our dream.” And to be honest, I agree.

I don’t know how it is in other countries but in Serbia I had a regular job with a good salary. I had everything, but when you need adventure, I think this is a great opportunity. When you want to change something — you have one life so if you don’t do it now, when are you going to do it? In my head I was thinking, “If I don’t do it now, when am I going to do it? Now is the right time.” And if I don’t like it, I can always come back. I had a few more options on Jobbatical but somehow I thought I should be in Malaga and I’m pretty satisfied, with work, the people.

My suggestion is once you have a job, try to have a remote period maybe for 2 months, just to make sure you like what you’re doing, and then say yes.

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