If you’re so excited to go that you can hardly stand it, here are some resources and ideas to get you even more excited – while helping to pass the time.
Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes
Fiction. Genre: Parody/Comedy/Romance Location: LaMancha
One of the most read fiction books in the world. As well asa bookthat helped pioneer fiction as a genre. This 400 year old book is about a down on his luck land-owner who takes it upon himself to become a knight. He goes around misinterpreting his surroundings as quests or challenges, and people as squires and princesses.
The Alchemist/The Pilgrimage – Paulo Coelho
Fiction. Genre: Adventure/Fantasy. Location: Camino de Santiago, Andalusia, Africa
I put both books here because some people swear you really have to read them together to get the whole message – which seems to be losing yourself and finding your own path. The Pilgrimage takes place along the Camino de Santiago and takes place more in Spain than The Alchemist does but many people swear The Alchemist is stronger. The Pilgrimage is about a man who must walk the Camino in search of a mystical sword. The Alchemist is about an Andalusian boy who goes to Africa in search of buried treasure.
Many Hemingway Books
Hemingway traveled around Spain a lot while working as a newspaper writer in Europe. He became very interested in the country, culture and especially bullfighting. If you like his style then you’re in luck for quite a few books that take place in Spain.
The Sun Also Rises
Fiction. Genre: Adventure/Fantasy. Location: Pampalona, Northern Spain
English-speaking tourists travel to Pampalona to watch the running of the bulls
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Fiction. Genre: War/Romance Location: Madrid
An American works with a guerrilla group during the Spanish Civil War
Death in the Afternoon
Non-Fiction. Topic: Bullfighting Location: Madrid
An obsessive look at bullfighting tradition, culture and ideals, structure, traditions, people, etc. You can’t deny Hemingway is passionate about the topic, the passion may be engaging to some and horrifying to others.
Driving Over Lemons – Chris Stewart
Non-Fiction. Topic: Autobiography Location: Andalusia
An ex-drummer from Genesis buys a farm in Andalusia with no running water or electricity. He relocates his family to the farm and they adapt to the new life.
Winter in Madrid -C. J. Sansom (historical Civil War) The Shadow of the Wind– Carlos Ruiz https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1321053644l/12796941.jpgZafón (mystery), The Queen’s Vow –C.W. Gortner (historical Isabella warrior queen), The Blind Man of Seville – Robert Wilson (mystery, thriller)
Other Non Fictions
Ghosts of Spain –Giles Tremlett (Civil war and beyond), The Battle for Spain – Antony Beevor (Spanish Civil War), Iberia – James A Michener (travel and history)
Probably one of the best things do with the energy of excitement is to pour yourself into research. Read other people’s blogs and see what day to day life is like, answer questions you might be getting from family members like “what’s a gallon of gas cost?” Resarch the school system, the city you’re going to, anything.
Spain – Culture Smart! -Belén Aguado Viguer
Takes just an hour to read. It’s just a crash course on everything but provides a useful intro to everything you need to know.
Alternatively: Speak the Culture: Spain -Andrew Whittaker
Young Adventuress A fantastically real look at life in Spain. She also has an insanely detailed guide to the regions of Spain.
Spain Kate (Kate Peregrina in Spain) Fantastic resources on getting an apartment and understanding the Spanish language and culture. She also has some well done surveys of Aux participants to gauge how boring places are or how happy they are in the program.
Wayfaring Wanders Currently with the Aux. Program in Madrid. Has a guide to the program and regions. She also has ideas for other ways to teach in Spain.
A Texan in Spain Tips for speaking Spanish. Includes day by day write ups so you can get an idea of what life is like as an Aux.
Oh No She Madridn’t Tips for studying abroad in Spain, living, working, teaching private lessons, etc. Also has guides to traveling around, particularly in Madrid.
A very educational website of how-tos. They have an e-book for sale that was basically written for Auxiliares participants. It covers all the basics of things you need/want to know about packing, school life, private lessons, and getting a cell phone/apartment/visa/etc.
Here is a whole pdf about Spain and moving to Spain. It’s mostly written for British expats who want to get away but there can be helpful bits.
If you’ve ever lived abroad then you know there are usually great websites that just about everyone uses once or twice. For Germany there was Toytown and Korea had Waygook.org. It’s usually a terrible thread-like submission-based website full of bitter people telling newbies how screwed they are. But there can be really helpful things if you look. Enough good things that it’s worth wading through the bad things.
Use google’s site search, not the website’s own searchbar to find more. To do a Google Site Search type what you want (apartments) then site, a colon, and the homepage
apartments site: spainexpat.com/
Reddit /r/ Spain – if you don’t use reddit the format can be confusing initially. Basically the best things are at the top, people up and down vote comments and links so it’s always thebest of the best. /r/Spain is where everyone goes to ask questions and talk about Spanish life.
If you want to practice your Spanish here is a subreddit like Spain – /r/ es
And if you want or need a specific city they have /r/valencia, /r/granada, /r/Andalucia, /r/barcelona, and /r/madrid