Moving to Madrid shouldn’t be nerve wrecking

… but let’s face it, a move is always a challenge, no matter how many times you’ve done it.

Where to live?
Where to send the kids to school?
Is it close to work?
Is it green?
Is it …?

These are questions we all had asked ourselves at some point.
They can be overwhelming.
I remember having anxiety attacks (literally) just thinking of all that.
So please allow me to make your journey to Madrid a bit less daunting.


I’m Jimena and I teach Spanish to expats like you…
… because I am one as well.

It happened to me a good few years ago.
After a year of looking for a job in sunny Spain, my husband got a job offer in Madrid.
He had been looking to change for a while and had to turn down some offers in other parts of the world, because, well…
… we didn’t want to live in a city with miserable weather (we had Frankfurt for that), and we wanted a place where our kids could improve their Spanish.
So Madrid it was.

And then it all started.

The search for…

A house with a garden for the puppy we had promised the children if we moved (bribery is a great thing)

good schools

A neighbourhood where we could raise young kids

and all within reasonable commuting time for my husband to go to work every day.
It was like a puzzle.
A difficult one.
A 10,000 piece one.

Let me make your search for all these things a little bit easier with this guide I have prepared for people like you.

Something I would have liked to have back in 2013, instead of having to research every Facebook group I found, ask friends, acquaintances, and the relocation agents.
Because, you see, they will only give you snap shots of their view of what is great, instead of just the facts.
And what is great for them, may not work for you.

It happened to me with the school for my children.
My friend gave me her opinion, I went with it…
… and it didn’t turn out very well.
(It’s based on that experience that now I know a great deal about schools in Madrid, which I share in this guide).

La vida en Madrid

To avoid that, this guide has enough information to help you make a good decision on where to live and where to find the best school for your kids based on your needs and values.


Please note that, after you give me your email (yes, the one you check, if not every day, most days) you will be subscribing to my newsletter as well. This is just a normal email that I send 2 to 4 times a week – sometimes more, sometimes less – where I talk about topics that may interest you as an expat in Madrid. Or future expat. In those emails I will also offer my Spanish courses, because well, I’m a Spanish teacher specialised in expats. Yet you are under no obligation to learn Spanish with me if you don’t want to. You would be missing out, though.
Don’t you worry, if you get bored of my emails or don’t like them and want to unsubscribe at any time, you can easily do it by clicking the link at the bottom of every email I send. Two clicks and goodbye. No hard feelings and no more emails from me.

It was difficult at first

By now you may well be thinking:

“The move must have been easy for you because you speak Spanish…”

Well, nope.
It wasn’t easy.
It was hell.
Because there was one tiny detail that I never considered:
Culture shock.
(And depression, but that’s a story for some other time).

“Wait, what?

Culture shock for a Spanish speaker moving to Spain?”

Yep, I was used to living in Germany.
And Ireland and England before that.
So, I had been outside of Mexico for more than 10 years when we came here.
And yes, Spanish culture is similar the Mexican one, but not the same.
I was used to the German way of life.
My kids were born there, and because I speak German fluently, we were very integrated into German society.

Yes, Spain was a shock to me.

Starting with going to the supermarket…

Oh… going to the supermarket in a new country is like emptying the dishwasher in a friend’s house and then trying to find the right place for everything: It is impossible to get it right the first couple of times.

Let me tell you a sad story about a trip to our local huge supermarket (hipermercado), after a week or so of having arrived at our new house. (You can easily do your daily 10,000 steps just going to that place, it’s that big).
“I’m going grocery shopping, honey! On my own, by the way, the kids are all yours!”, I announced to my husband.
“Please bring some biscuits!” – he asked and off I went happily feeling like I was going on a kids-free holiday.

I’m NOT kidding you when I say that I spent a good 30 minutes going up and down aisles looking for the f*!&! biscuits alone.
They were nowhere to be seen.

Bread aisle? – nope.
Sweets’ aisle? – no.
Snacks’ aisle? – of course not!

Lost in the supermarket

Having almost given up all hope in life I decided to go to the breakfast’s aisle, just for the fun of it.
Let that sink in:
I don’t know what your idea of breakfast is, but mine certainly isn’t eating biscuits.
Welcome to my First Cultural Shock:
Spanish people have biscuits for breakfast. And THAT’S where you find biscuits in many supermarkets.

Needless to say, I got home swearing I would never buy biscuits ever again.
If he wanted them, he could go buy them.
And I was never going to feed my kids biscuits for breakfast!!
(Famous last words, because when they spend the night at friends’ houses, guess what they have for brekkie?)

So, yep.

Where was I?

Right, the guide to Madrid.

Here I also share some cultural insights to help you avoid spending wasting precious time looking for things in the supermarket and otherwise.
Jimena office
In my office

“Wait a second, who are you anyway?”

Well, I am a Mexican girl who now lives in Spain and has been living outside of Mexico since 2000.
I teach Spanish as a foreign language, and I specialise in expats.

Simply because I am one and I understand what expats go through when they get here.

I have had many expat friends here and still have many who have shared their insights and thoughts with me.
One of the many things all of them have told me is:
(this is not only applicable for people coming to Spain, by the way, but going to any foreign country)

It is important to know at least a bit of the language.

So, I want to accompany you in this journey, which isn’t always a bed of roses.
Exciting maybe.
Challenging for sure.
But not easy.

That’s the reason I prepared this guide for you:

For you not to feel too alone and help you get answers.

Want to know more about who I am?