A joke of a book,
This review is from: Living & Working in Spain: How to Prepare for a Successful Stay, Be It Short, Long-Term or Forever (Paperback)I came across this book yesterday in a library and spent some time reading its most relevant chapters. I was very amused by the fantasies made up all along these chapters by its imaginative author.
Here are some (non 100% literal) excerpts from the book: "Robbery is widespread in Spain", "Spaniards usually live in blocks of apartments but if you decide to occupy a loft in one of them you should always check the roof, as you're likely to get soaked with the leaks", "If you want to build a house, you'll have to hire a foreign builder in order to get the house built to basic European standards", "The postal system is so inefficient that you'll have to rent a P.O. Box or have your mail sent to Gibraltar", "If you go to a Post Office you'll have to spend a very long time queuing, first to buy the stamps and then to send the letter", "Finding a telephone booth is almost impossible, let alone a working one, so your best bet is to find a good hotel, where you'll have to tip the receptionist", "Lying is part of the Spanish way of life", "It will take some time until the Spanish public services are brought up to what's common in 'the rest of Europe'",...
I found these last two statements particularly hilarious, coming as they do from a Briton. After reading this book, anyone who has never been to Spain or knows little about the country, say an average American, should expect to find a land raided by sombrero-wearing bandits on the back of their donkeys.
As it happens, I was born in Spain and, in all, have spent over 30 years there, so I might be quite partial, myself. But nothing depicted in this book seems to have any resemblance with real facts. Most of all, I fail to understand why the publisher has decided to have such a misinformed/biased individual write this "How To" book.
The one aspect where Spain does lag behind its Western European counterparts is the labour market. But, in spite of the title of the book, no information whatsoever is given on this important matter. And, if you're serious about living in Spain, your source of income should definitely be your first concern, as you'll find a high level of unemployment and low nominal salaries, especially compared to what's usual in Anglo-Saxon countries. Nevertheless, if you are a native English-speaker and are willing to work as a language teacher, few countries offer as many possibilities as Spain. I personally met a 19 year old Irish girl who, with no secondary education or previous working experience, was making 1800 Euro a month, just teaching to the executive staff of a few local companies. Agriculture and the catering industry are also a constant source of lower-paid jobs.
Other than that, you should take the precautions you would normally take in your own country, under the assurance that things such as general public services, the health system, children's education, criminality, the banking system, transport, telephone, or the performance of helpdesks and consumer-facing staff are very well above the current British standards. In fact, at 19,100 USD, the Spanish per-capita GDP is now 85% that of Britain, with some regions in the north surpassing the British average and standing on top of the poorest British regions. Looking at the Italian and Irish examples, and considering the growth differential of the last decade, one could assume that this gap will close in the coming years.
That said, of course, one should still expect the problems and inconveniences any foreigner faces when moving to a different country, especially if their command of Spanish is not good.
As a summary, I would advice to stay away from this book and spend your money somewhere else. In the preceding paragraphs you have already found more factual information than you will in its 185 pages. While xenophobic nationalists are always a species to be avoided, they're probably at their worst when they try to sell you "information" about one of the countries they despise.
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