Spain’s wild northwest has one of the biggest number of language assistants and is becoming a haven for expats looking to disconnect from the larger hubs. While it’s known for being rainy, the cost of living is cheap and the quality of life high – where else could you spend less by eating out?
Jessie spent a year in Pontevedra, one of the regional capitals that boasts a small university and proximity to Santiago’s international airport. Read on to find out how she stretched her budget:
Name: Jessie Fifer
City and Comunidad: Pontevedra, Galicia
School: A pueblo 20 mins outside of Pontevedra, Galicia
Your living situation? I lived with other auxiliares. We originally met on Facebook and once we all arrived met in person. We have a four-bedroom recently remodeled piso with an amazing balcony/view in Pontevedra.
How did you find your flat? We signed up for the Erasmus Vigo/Pontevedra Buddy program (free for erasmus and auxiliares) before we came here. Our buddy met us at the train station, took us to a hostel, and spent the whole next day viewing apartments from a list he had prepared for us.
Rent: 450 for the whole flat, split by room size. I took the small room for 80 euros a month.
What did you spend on utilities? About 40 euros.
You cell phone company and plan? When I arrived I got a Movistar phone, but it was way more than they told me. My suggestion – buy a Spanish mobile for 75 to 100€ and get a Happy Movil sim card from PhoneHouse for 12 euros a month.
What do you pay for internet? Our wifi is 40 euros a month, but it took them 8 weeks to install it. Be prepared to spend a lot of time in cafes on wifi at first.
What did you spend on groceries? I rarely grocery shop because I don’t cook. It’s SO cheap to eat out at restaurants!
Did you have any other sources of income? Private lessons. I charge 15 to 20 euros an hour.
Were you able to save any money? No, but I have never been able to. I don’t try. The other language assistants are usually broke here by the 22nd. However, we manage and help each other out until payday rolls around again. I’ve never gone hungry.
Your favorite tapas bar? Tapas are tapas, but I like Cinco Calles.
Nightlife in Pontevedra: 50 and Lego.
How did you get around? You only need to walk in this city – you can get anywhere in 20 minutes on foot.
What you loved about living in Pontevedra? All the walking, and the nightlife in Pontevedra is amazing. We stay out until 8 or 9am. It’s a small town and easy to make lots of friends. There is also an arts school here so lots of young, open-minded people.
And your dislikes? Nothing.
How easy was it to travel around Spain and Europe from Pontevedra? We fly out of Santiago usually because they have Ryanair flights. It’s not that hard – sometimes a few euros more than flying from Madrid. But once you are in Galicia, you don’t want to leave.
Your guilty pleasure purchases: Kraft mac and cheese from the American store in Vigo. Also, gravy packets.
What are the top attractions in Pontevedra? The Peregrino and Santa María churches, as we are on the Camino de Santiago’s Portuguese route. There are not as many tourists here as there are in nearby Santiago. It’s a quiet family type city in the day that parties hard at night.
Something you wish someone had told you before moving to Spain: Stop worrying – you will love it. NO PASA NADA. Malo Será.
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