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An Expat Talks about Living in San Sebastian, Spain

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

San Sebastian

How long have you lived there?

20 years

What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?

Getting out and about is a good way. Most socializing is done outside the home (in bars, restaurants, clubs). Take part in activities such as sailing courses, cineclubs, sports clubs, language classes. learn a bit of Basque at a Basque language school - the local people will appreciate you making the effort and it's a good way of meeting people.

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In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.

San Sebastian has always been one of the least diverse cities in the world. Visitors are often surprised by the lack of different racial groups. This is not to say that the people are adverse to diversity, it's just that there were always very few people from the rest of the world. This has started to change over the last ten years, and the city is of course even better because of it.

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

Bad jobs are easy to find, there is a huge need for people in the service sector (bars, restaurants, cleaning etc). Good jobs are much harder to find. Contacts help, as does fluency in Spanish, Basque and English.

In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?

Quality of life tends to be the key word. the Basques work hard, but don't let work come before family and friends, socializing . And there is no obvious difference between social life and family life - people socialize WITH their family rather than doing things separately.

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If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.

I would encourage them to do so as San Sebastian is a great place and quite possibly the most beautiful small city in Europe. It's important however to either have a good job set up before you get here or barrels of money as San sebastian vies with Barcelona and Madrid as being Spain's most expensive city, especially as regards housing.

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Comments about this Report

brewersbeach
Sep 7, 2015 22:49

Hi guys, we are an Australian family of 3, with a 9 year old. We have been living in Bali, Indonesia for the past 6 years with our son at an international school in Bali. We have great friends, French, that have lived in Australian and our now back in Biarritz. We were greatly impressed with San Sebastian as it ticked the all the boxes, for food, fun, beaches, surf nearby and our friends! We are looking at a 6 month stay from middle of the year, 2017, before we go back to the Gold Coast, Australia at the end of 2017. Any hints on 6 month rental, area with a 10 year old boy at the time of moving . school etc! Not looking to work, although my wife is a junior school teacher and I am a swim coach now, former paramedic! Regards, brewers, new guy on the site!

StevieDon
Sep 6, 2016 19:17

Hi, I've been in San Sebastián for 2 years now running an English academy. I've loved every minute and welcome with open arms any expats especially native English speakers! We run a club where members can join us, in what is effectively our home from home, so it also provides a nice starting point for any expats landing in San Sebastián for advice or just a cup of tea! It's called 'little teapot', so look us up www.littleteapot.es !

pmerritt
Sep 30, 2016 14:20

We have just returned from San Sebastian after vacationing there for 2 months. We are seriously considering living there for 6 months a year. We would like to rent an apt. first then look for a place to purchase. Can you advise us as to where to find an apt for rent? And any further information regarding living in San Sebastian would be appreciated. Thank you, P Merritt

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