Life in Barcelona

Living & Teaching English in Barcelona:

Living in Barcelona 1

Barcelona, the capital of Catalunya (or Catalonia to English speakers), is the economic and cultural powerhouse of northern Spain and home to over 3 million residents.

Nicely situated between the Pyrenees mountain range and the Mediterranean, just 150 km from southern France, Barcelona has a lot going for it. You can lose yourself in the vibrant city centre, get away from it all in the stunning mountain scenery or soak up the sun on over 4km of city beach – or one of the many quieter beaches along the coast close to the city.

Barcelona is especially famous for its beaches, Catalan culture, Gaudi buildings, gastronomic scene – and its limitless festivals and nightlife.

Teaching English in Barcelona:

Barcelona’s fun but it also has unparalleled opportunities for English teachers. The Catalan population are ‘English conscientious’ and English-speaking abilities are highly regarded and sought-after. Many companies have English as a standard requirement for job entry.

This means English schools and teachers are in constant demand. So Barcelona is home to over one hundred language academies and schools, which all employ several teachers throughout the year, doing a mixture of courses for people of all ages – including specialist English courses for business and commerce.

The TEFL Jobs Market:

Spain has had a hard time of it recently but the Spanish economy’s now the fastest growing large economy in Europe and the teaching job market in Spain is still exceptionally buoyant because English is a highly sought after skill, which many Spanish people require in their jobs.

Being able to speak English opens up lots of opportunities and as such Spanish people invest heavily in English learning.

The cost of living:

Barcelona’s a big international city, and one of the biggest city brands on the planet, but the cost of living is much cheaper than other big European cities like Paris or London – or even most other UK cities like Manchester and Glasgow.

In fact, Barcelona is far, far more affordable place than you might think. Here’s a cost of living comparison against a couple of cities that our students regularly come from.

Barcelona cost of living vs London, Paris, Glasgow 2015

Source: http://www.numbeo.com/

See, it’s nowhere near as expensive as you might think is it? And this is another factor that makes the city a great place to live.

Making the most of living in Barcelona:

Life in Barcelona 3

We can’t rate Barcelona highly enough. After all, we have decided to settle here permanently and make the city our home!

We love the city’s quirky bars, late night hangouts, colourful characters, massive festivals, beach parties, crazy culture, street art, outdoor pools, concerts, quiet parks, stunning architecture, amazing coffee, exotic cuisine … you name it, Barcelona has it. This city charmed us and trapped us a long time ago.

Delivering quality TEFL courses is our business but we are also here to guide your entire experience in Barcelona; the right restaurants, the right bars, the right things to do to make the most of your time here. Our TEFL trainers have a long history in Barcelona and a range of interests, so if there is anything you want to do we can help you. On that…

Top five things to do in Barcelona – from our team:

Piscina Municipal Montjuic

The view from the Piscina Municipal in Montjuic – recommended by Maria.

We’ve made Barcelona our home but the number of temporary residents in the city is enormous too and over 7 million tourists now arrive each year – including a huge proportion of English speakers who come to see what this city has to offer.

Barcelona is such a popular destination for the fun, beaches, sangria, relaxation and nightlife, etcetera (we’ve covered most of this already) but making the most of life in the city needs a bit of inside knowledge to get beyond the tourist trappings. So:

  1. Piscina Municipal Montjuic– This is a hilltop, open-air pool with spectacular views of the city. It was built for the 1992 Olympics and remains surprisingly under-used. If you like to sunbathe but you don’t like sand everywhere then this place is perfect. It comes with an Olympic-sized swimming pool, ample space for sunbathing and a small cafe-bar. To get there take the funicular from Parallel (free with the metro ticket), turn right as you leave the funicular station and it’s across the road. Easy! The entrance fee is ~5€. Be careful though, it’s only open in the summer! To visit the web page, click here. (Submitted by Maria)
  1. Evening drinks on the Barceló Raval Hotel terrace – This is one of the many hidden gems in Barcelona. I walked past this every day for two years before I bothered to venture inside. This is a 4-star designer hotel with a stunning rooftop terrace, 360-degree views and fully stocked bar. The bar prices are very reasonable so you can enjoy a sunset and drinks in the city centre without breaking the bank. To see the hotel website, click here. (Submitted by Claire)
  1. Sunday beach parties – Every Sunday throughout the summer there are various beach parties dotted along the coast. Some are bigger than others; there are small chilled out bars with a few people enjoying mojitos, to full-scale parties with big name DJs. Most parties are free with the exception of the largest but they normally take place during the Sonar festival week. They are all accessible by the metro (Yellow line) or via a stroll along the beach where you can stop at whichever one appeals to you most. Be warned, if you buy food or drinks at the beach bars it is normally very expensive but the parties are not enclosed so you are free to carry in all the food and drink you wish. Our favourite time to go is around 7pm, when the sun starts to go down and casts a nice glow over the chilled-out sunbathers on the beach. A couple of hours later you can watch an impressive moonrise while sipping a fresh mojito – perfect! (Everyone!)
  1. The nightlife in Raval – Raval is known as the barriochino (Chinatown) for its high number of immigrants. It’s not for everybody; the dark narrow alleys, colourful characters and less-than-clean streets are enough to scare away any timid tourist. But for those brave enough to dive in there are hidden treats galore; underground bars, cheap drinks, intimate restaurants, friendly service, quirky hangouts and much more. A good place to start is Calle Joaquin Costa; it is easy to access from the city centre and is lined with interesting places to have a drink or hangout with friends. You’ll find that there are many more locals in these bars, the service is a little better and the difference in price is notable. When the bars close at 3am there are a couple of illegal bars (you’ll have to ask me in person where to find those!) or alternatively you can sit outside the MACBA (Contemporary Art Museum) until the wee hours of the morning, enjoying the service of the beer vendors in the street. (Submitted by Richard)
  1. Enjoying the views from Park Guinardó – This park to the northeast of the city centre boasts some of the most spectacular views of Barcelona. Most people will head to Park Guell or Tibidabo but for those in the know this is the place to go, to disconnect and get away from the crowds and enjoy the stunning views. To get there take the yellow metro line to Guinardó then follow the road up. You’ll go up through some nice gardens, some windy hilltop roads then you’ll arrive at a plateau where you can sit and enjoy the views. The beauty is the stillness (a novelty for Barcelona), the ease of accessibility and the handful of people there at any given time. It is very exposed so don’t forget to carry suntan lotion! (Submitted by James)

For more about living and teaching English in Barcelona, take a look at one of our recent blog posts: