Tips about moving to Madrid and teach English - TEFL journey

  • Moving to Madrid: packing list

    So you’ve got your acceptance letter, your visa on the way and a ticket booked to Madrid. Now it’s time to pack! We may be on the other side of the ocean (for some), but you will still be living in a diverse metropolitan city! You'll be able to shop at the top fashion brands like H&M and Zara; there is an IKEA, Nike, and department stores. The bottom line is that you don't need to bring suitcases filled to the brim when you can find anything you might need here. And as the luggage allowances become more and more strict, it’s important to pack wisely.

    Although you are coming over for an extended period of time, it's important to realize that what you bring over with you, will most likely have to be brought back home. And unless you don't plan on shopping for the next year, you will have much more stuff to pack for your return trip.

    When packing you have to think about what style and what kind of life you will be living in Madrid. As an English teacher in Spain, the dress code can vary. Some schools consider jeans to be dressing up, while others tend to me a bit more formal. Whatever area you intend to work in, bring a few formal options that you can wear to your interviews, including a comfortable set of shoes that are NOT runners, trainers or flip-flops. You want to look presentable for first impressions and first couple of classes. Afterwards most schools encourage their teachers to dress to match the students. If your students wear t-shirts and jeans to class, in most cases you can expect to do the same. If you have business classes and having to dress more formal, there is an abundance of stores here with clothing that is more appropriate.

    It is better to come with as little as possible and to pick things up as you need them, instead save that room for more important things like maple syrup and vanilla extract (Yes I’m serious)!

    Below I have listed a number of things you should consider bringing with you. I tried to keep this list to basic items that you will need during the course and your job search. Afterwards, most things like clothing, shoes, and toiletries are readily available in Spain.

    • -  One or two formal outfit (dress pants, skirt, dress, etc)

    • -  Comfortable shoes (NOT runners/trainers or flip-flops)

    • -  Other shoes for day-to-day life

    • -  A week or two worth of outfits for day-to-day life

    • -  Travel size toiletries (for the first week that you’re here)

    • -  Converters/Adaptors

    • -  Laptop

    • -  Camera

    • -  Birth Certificate (Important if your passport is lost/stolen)

    • -  Pens and notebook

    • -  Fall weather Jacket (Winter coat NOT necessary)

    • -  Bathing suit

    • -  Travel documents

    • -  Euros

    You should also think about the time of year you are arriving in Madrid. Although you can find jackets and bathing suits easily, no one wants to show up mid season and spend time running around looking for one.

    As I said before, Spain is a modern city with many stores to pick up things you want or need. Although, there are a few items that albeit available, can either be harder to find, or very expensive to buy here. If you don’t think you would want to live a year without one of these items, make some room to bring them along. These items include:

    • -  Coconut oil ($$)

    • -  Electronics such as Kindle, Camera, Smart phone, etc ($$)

    • -  Vanilla extract ($$)

    • -  Brown sugar

    • -  Kraft dinner

    • -  Certain medications (do some research on this as some are substantially cheaper here)

    • -  American Makeup brands ($$)

    • -  Contact lenses (Depends on brand)

    • -  Deodorant (multiples if needed, this is one thing a lot of people wish they had brought)

    • -  Dental floss and toothpicks ($$)

    • -  Sunscreen ($$$)

    • -  Peanut butter (Jiff and Kraft are not available)

    • -  Maple Syrup

    • -  Favourite body, face wash, etc. (Unavailable/$$)

    Now that we have covered what should be on your packing list, but what about things that shouldn’t? There are some things that are better left behind. These items will either weigh you down, are easier to pick up here or are just plain unnecessary. Things like:

    • -  Books (Invest in an e-reader!)

    • -  Multiple pairs of jeans, sweaters, or too much of any clothing!

    • -  Blow Dryer/Curling Iron/Straightener (these often burn out because of the different

      voltages and are readily available at affordable prices)

    • -  High Heels (think cobble stones and walking around big cities.... Not worth it)

    • -  Winter Coat ( Canada Goose type winter coats which are NOT necessary)

    • -  Medication (see point above, DO SOME RESEARCH) 

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