If you’re hoping to enjoy expat life in Valencia, there’s nothing quite like diving straight in! Sure, it helps to prepare as much as you can before relocating, but real-life experiences for expats in Valencia can be quite different…
After moving, many people love the buzz of their new surroundings, while others take a while to adjust. We’re here to help you enjoy Valencia long after the novelty has worn off.
Here are 5 habits for expats in Valencia to make life a little easier...
1. Step out of your comfort zone
Moving to a new country or city is already out of the comfort zone of most people. But it doesn’t have to end there. To make the most of your experience, you should check out different types of foods, places to visit, and activities. The key is to keep an open mind. Even if something doesn’t appeal to you at first, maybe try it anyway, at least once! If you have a curious attitude, you’re more likely to find excitement in the things around you.
You’ll find many fun things to try in Valencia for yourself. But to get you started, here are just a few top picks for expats in Valencia…
Popular activities for expats in Valencia
Learning Spanish: This is top of the list for many people to make the most of living in a Spanish-speaking country. Here are some ways to get started…
Dance classes in Valencia: You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to classes in Valencia. Options include bachata, salsa and reggaeton, to name a few.
Football at Mestalla Stadium: Even if you’re not a football fan, it’s worth going to experience the electric atmosphere of a local game.
Valencian food and drink
Paella de Valencia: This famous rice dish includes chicken, with the addition of rabbit and snails… Not for everyone, but it’s a popular choice!
Horchata: A cool drink made from blended tiger nuts, water, sugar, and cinnamon. Plus you can even get horchata ice cream!
Agua de Valencia: If you’re feeling a little more adventurous you can try this delicious cocktail. It’s a mix of cava, vodka, gin, and freshly-squeezed Valencian orange juice.
2. Set goals, but don't be afraid to fail!
This leads to our next point for expat life in Valencia. There are many new and exciting opportunities ahead, but it can also be overwhelming. Time goes by quickly, so it’s a good idea to decide what to prioritize…
Write down your goals and set some dates
To help with this, you can try making a list of everything you’re interested in trying and then narrowing it down to just a few things. Or maybe even just 1 thing each week or month if you find it more manageable. It’s also wise to set a date you’d like to achieve your goal by and put it on your calendar.
Find the fun in failing
For some people, goals can be a lot of pressure. So why not try setting a fun goal to “fail”? Now, that might sound counter-productive but hear us out.
For example, maybe you’ve always wanted to try salsa dancing but you have two left feet… This could be a perfect opportunity to try something just for fun, without the pressure to do it well. Your goal is to “fail” at salsa, after all. That means you simply need to show up and have fun!
Or maybe you’re constantly getting lost around the city. You can turn this into a positive by putting away google maps and finding pleasure in walking a different route. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover a new favourite cafe or stumble on some cool street art.
3. Make time to connect with people
Connecting with people is one of the most important things in life, no matter where you live. Being in a new place where you don’t have any friends yet can get lonely pretty quickly. So, it’s helpful not to put too much pressure on yourself to make best friends. It’s enough to simply to find people to share experiences with.
There are many opportunities for expats in Valencia to meet new people. But it can be tricky knowing how to get started. Below are some tips to help you take the first steps…
Take opportunities to have conversations with locals and expats in Valencia
Even if you’re moving to Valencia with family, it’s still a good idea to put yourself out there and try to connect with new people. So why not introduce yourself to your neighbours and interact with other families at local playgrounds?
We talk about networking with locals and expats in last month’s blog if you’re keen to learn more. Language exchanges and local groups are a great way to make connections. However, these social situations may not be for everyone. Some people may find striking up conversations with lots of new people to be a little intimidating.
The good news is you can connect with people anywhere. To help you get more confident with having conversations, take the opportunity to practice speaking with people whenever you can. This could mean talking to taxi drivers or someone nearby as you wait for a bus. Even asking a simple question like `is this seat taken?´ at a cafe can spark a connection! Plus, it’s a great excuse to practice your Spanish.
4. Sit back and smell the coffee
Another tip for integrating into Valencian life is to stop and smell the coffee. Or in this case, perhaps the horchata!
Sometimes when we’re in a new place, we’re so busy trying to capture moments to share on social media, we miss the moments ourselves. Try to savour your surroundings whenever you can. Take in the sights, smells, and tastes that you’re experiencing. That might be sitting in Valencia’s main square, Plaza del Ayuntamiento, where the streets are lined with palm trees. Maybe you’re watching people go by and overhearing snippets of conversations in Spanish and English. Or maybe you’re enjoying a bocadillo and taking in the scent of fresh pastries from a bakery nearby. Below are just a few more simple pleasures you can enjoy in the city…
More inspiration for expats in Valencia
Turia Park: Here you can take a stroll or sit on a bench while listening to your favourite music or podcast with the sun on your face.
Valencia’s Old Town: Exploring here never gets old and the square by the fountain and cathedral is perfect for people-watching.
The City of Arts and Sciences: One of the most iconic buildings but also a lovely spot to sit and relax in the nearby gardens.
Sunsets in the city: There are many great places to catch a sunset in Valencia. If you’re feeling reflective, the marina is a great choice so you can watch the boats by the water.
Riding around the city: It may not be glamorous, but the bus can be a great place to sit back and take in an overview of the city.
Of course, you don’t need to go to any of these places to appreciate your time in Valencia. You can enjoy the moment right from your balcony or living room.
5. Don't sweat the small stuff
Despite your best efforts, expat life in Valencia won’t always go to plan. Or perhaps things are just very different from what you’re used to… Maybe the supermarket layout is confusing, or the stores don’t have the items or brands you usually buy. These are just small adjustments, but it’s normal to feel frustrated at times when simple things turn out to be not-so-simple. Especially if there’s a language barrier. It helps to remember why you moved to Valencia and recognize that there are bound to be some differences in day-to-day life.
Don't be too hard on yourself
It’s a big step moving to a new city or country. So allow yourself time to adjust and try not to be too disappointed if it takes you longer to settle in than you planned. Obviously, this can be easier said than done… But if you keep reminding yourself of the things you love about being in Valencia and focus less on the things you don’t like, hopefully, this will give some perspective.
Track the highs and lows of being an expat in Valencia
One tip could be writing 5 things you’re grateful for that happened that day or the highlights of your week. If you take some time to reflect or journal, this can help with processing the good and not-so-good things that have happened. That means you can either feel grateful or learn from any mistakes. Not only this, but it’s great to keep a record of your experiences. That way, you can look back at when your first moved to Valencia and hopefully smile!
Find more information for expats in Valencia
If you’re new to Valencia, you probably have lots of questions about the area and how to settle in. Or maybe you’re thinking about moving to Valencia. If so, you’ll want to prepare as much as you can before relocating. We can help you every step of the way.
Our services include orientation trips, finding accommodation and schools, legal services, plus more. If you’re also looking to buy a property, our colleagues at Dream Properties Valencia have a wide range available here. In case you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with us.