Meet our expats: Giorgina Hodson

10 November 2017 0 Comments Category: Expats Interviews, Living in Spain, TNS Amigos

Meet our expats

I can still remember thinking I’d made a terrible mistake as I sat in Madrid Barajas airport waiting for my Au Pair family to come and collect me. My 9-month long adventure in Spain was about to begin and I had no idea what to expect. Would I come home next summer fluent in Spanish? Would I make any friends? Maybe I’d meet the love of my life (preferably one of the Real Madrid players).

5 years later, I can easily say it was the best decision I’ve ever made in my entire life

That’s not to say it hasn’t been tough at times; my lack of knowledge of the language provided me with a series of disastrous (yet, rather hilarious) experiences usually related to transportation or ordering food for the first two years. I’m also rather embarrassed by the utter lack of knowledge I had regarding Spain and its rich history and culture. I moved here with quite a Guiri outlook on Spain; in other words, I was much more informed about the gastronomical side of things (vino and paella were the only two words I knew how to say upon my arrival) and I was expecting to see women frolicking around in sevillana dresses and bulls running along the street. I’m pleased to say I’m no longer as naive as I once was.

For me, the best thing about being an expat in Spain is the people you meet. I’ve met so many people from all corners of the globe and formed friendships for life, including with compatriots, who I may never have met if I’d have stayed in the UK.

Another thing I thoroughly enjoy about Spanish culture is their outlook on work and life, in particular, socialising. For the Spanish, socialising is arguably the most important thing to them. Whether it be a quick beer after a long day at work, a get together with friends over dinner, or a wild night out, they always find time to meet up with friends or family and let their hair down. Coming from a rather closed culture (we can’t deny that us Brits are a bit cold and grumpy – 100% due to the weather), I at first found it difficult to squeeze in a cheeky beer after work, but now welcome the chance to unwind and relax with friends.

I’ve also been lucky enough to find myself working in several different environments during my time in Madrid, which has certainly broadened my professional horizons and taught me a lot about the way business is conducted on the Iberian peninsula. After starting out as an Au Pair working for a small Spanish family, I went on to teach English in private schools, translating and subtitling in an international translation agency and I’m now currently working as an executive assistant and marketing manager in a Spanish company builder that launches tech startups.

Overall, my time in Spain have been very enriching, on both a personal and professional level. I’ve embraced the culture as my own, met some incredible people and thrown myself into my career. Will I ever move back to the UK? It’s highly unlikely at the moment, but you never know!

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