Adapting,  Expat Life in Spain,  Living Abroad,  Thriving

6 ways to sharpen your soft skills by living in Spain

Today we are pleased to welcome Corinne to the blog. Corinne is an English professional with over 10 years of experience in teaching, writing, editing and linguistics, who recently qualified as an accredited copywriter. With a focus on soft skills, we really enjoyed reflecting on how abroad experiences can benefit us in multiple ways and we hope you enjoy this post as much as we did. Without further ado, we present Corinne…


Moving to Spain can be a life-changing, enriching experience. And one of the best things about emigrating is the valuable, transferable skills you pick up, which can be applied in both your personal and professional life. There’s much more to it than just trying new tapas and enjoying international travel. Once you’ve lived abroad, you see the world with new eyes. And developing your people skills can be pivotal in you landing your dream job. 

Here are six soft skills you can strengthen in Spain:


1. Adaptability

When you arrive to Spain, it’s natural for you to crave the familiarity of your old life. But the turning point is realising that the essence of being an expat is to start working towards a new reality for yourself.

Moving to Spain will push you to be more versatile as you adjust to your new environment, customs and way of life. Simple things like adapting to the Spanish schedule and daily structure will help you to make the most of your Spanish experience.

For example, if like a lot of expats you teach English in an academy, you may not start your shift ’til four in the afternoon. Whereas back home you’d probably be close to finishing your work day by then. 

Learning to utilise your time by running errands before many businesses close for their two-hour lunch break, as well as adapting to much later meal times will help you fit in well.  

Living like the locals and embracing these cultural differences will ensure you thrive in your new surroundings as well as show employers your ability to hit the ground running in any new environment.

What’s more, change is a major part of the modern-day workplace so having a flexible attitude towards new methods, technologies and ways of thinking has never been more sought-after.


2. Communication

Chatting with the locals can be challenging, especially if you don’t speak Spanish. But when it’s essential to your survival, you’ll always find a way of making yourself understood.

Living in Spain will develop your verbal and non-verbal communication skills as you’re faced with an array of tricky situations, often with limited language abilities. 

Having said that, as your level of Spanish gets better, your quality of life will improve tenfold as you begin to feel understood, are able to flourish in social settings, as well as enjoy the long-term benefits that language learning has on the brain. 

Effective communication is an impressive tool that shows employers you can both articulate yourself, and build rapports with people from diverse backgrounds. 

What’s more, bilingualism will open up opportunities in the international business market like speaking Spanish has done for me.

My passion for languages has allowed me to participate in various notable projects over the years. 

One of which involved collaborating remotely with a team of translators across the globe writing subtitles for the pre and post-match interviews for the media coverage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. An incredible opportunity I wouldn’t’ve been offered if it wasn’t for my strong communication and linguistic abilities.


3. Empathy

Mixing with people from different generations, cultures and social classes makes us more respectful and empathetic of others.

Intercambio de idiomas or language exchanges are an amazing way of meeting people from other countries. And this inspired me to start my own intercambio: Connect Now Granada. A hugely popular weekly event where language enthusiasts met up and spoke foreign languages together in a relaxed setting.

Actually talking with people from diverse cultures teaches us more about compassion than what we get from just reading about it in books. What’s more, sharing stories with others from outside of your norm can be one of the most enlightening parts of living in Spain, as you realise all humans are very similar after all.

Over the seven years I organised the exchanges, we connected people from all walks of life. And I had the privilege of becoming friends with people from places such as USA, Morocco, Australia, Mexico and Iraq to name but a few. 

Plus, during the pandemic, when staying connected was more vital than ever, we organised weekly online exchanges connecting 200+ people who were isolating in their homes. Through this I gained a first-hand insight on how other nations were coping, which only enhanced my own empathy for others even more. 

Creating this successful event in the community is one of my most fulfilling and gratifying achievements in Spain. I’m so thankful to all the incredible people who took part, and who taught me firsthand the true meaning of empathy.

Suffice to say, empathetic people make more compassionate, kind and selfless work colleagues and all round human beings. An asset to any team!


4. Self-awareness

There’s nothing like being extracted from your hometown and being dropped in a faraway, foreign land to really figure out who you truly are.

Living in Spain will give you a clearer sense of self because it prompts you to question whether parts of your identity truly define who you are or if they merely reflect your cultural upbringing. 

It is thought that when removed from your home town your behaviour is more likely to reflect your actual core values rather than those of the culture in which you are embedded. 

Moving to Spain as a slightly naïve twenty-something almost a decade ago I never would’ve dreamed that one of the biggest changes I’d experience was me

Today I’m able to recognise that I’m not the same person I was when I arrived. Every triumph and every failure has helped me to evolve and look inwards, thus aiding me in living my best, authentic life.

The ability to understand others is in relation to your level of understanding yourself. 

And being conscious of how your own mind works, gives you the tools to work out the problems, needs and desires of your clients in a corporate setting. 

Being able to objectively self-reflect and pinpoint your own strengths and weaknesses also gives you room to grow, progress and ultimately excel in your career. 


5. Resilience

Picking yourself back up after rejection is a key part of building the life you want in Spain. You’ll encounter knockbacks, chaos and uncertainty, especially in your work life.

A stable job with good working conditions is extremely rare, particularly if you work in the TEFL sector in the south of Spain, where salaries are low and classes often run from October to June, leaving you to find another job to cover the summer months. 

Add to that, the feeling of homesickness and the shock of realisation that you’re starting again from zero, both of which can lead you to question your life choices as you find your feet on Spanish soil.

But pushing through the hardships and not giving up is imperative to you finding success in Spain. You’ll learn how to hustle, work on your passion projects and create your own opportunities as you navigate setbacks in your quest for a lucky break. 

Being resilient will teach you how to react to problems constructively. And endurance and consistency is what will lead you to achieve worthwhile goals in your life. 

Employers want strong individuals who take initiative to overcome barriers with their dynamic approach. What’s more, the ability to persevere and persist with unwavering hope is perhaps the ultimate mark of an impactful leader…


6. Leadership

A key characteristic of a great leader is daring to brave the unknown. And moving abroad shows you already have the courage it takes to venture into uncharted territory.

In Spain you’ll learn how to depend on yourself as you face every obstacle without the safety net you have back home. 

And with every goal you accomplish your confidence and self-belief will flourish.

From understanding your first Spanish TV programme without the need for subtitles, to booking an appointment for a wisdom tooth extraction at the dentist, or successfully communicating the haircut you want to the hairdresser. It’s important to acknowledge every single win, no matter how small it feels. It’ll add to your self-esteem, autonomy and fearlessness as you become an all-round force to be reckoned with.

Life’s an amalgamation of the choices you make on a daily basis. And by not fearing change, but rather embracing the hurdles that come with moving to Spain, you’ll gain clarity on the values that guide your decisions.

This positive attitude, teamed with the soft skills listed above, will give you an unrivalled set of leadership qualities and an unstoppable global mindset needed to succeed in the modern job market. 

Put simply, going far from home will lead you closer to yourself. While living in Spain will bring its challenges, it’s not until we leave our comfort zones that we see what we are truly capable of achieving. 

And after living in Spain, you’ll not only be armed with a core set of interpersonal skills, but also the ability to both lead yourself with authenticity, as well as lead a team of others to great success.

El mundo es tuyo para conquistar…



About Corinne

Corinne is an English professional with over 10 years of experience in teaching, writing, editing and linguistics, who recently qualified as an accredited copywriter.

She moved to Spain nine years ago in order to improve her Spanish and teach English. And she continues to thrive in this sector, having worked on projects in translation, proofreading as well as content creation. With a passion for people, languages, and making authentic connections, she founded the hugely successful language exchange event Connect Now Granada.

Not one to turn down a challenge, she was also the first female international guest on the Spanish podcast Rumbo a tu Vida, where she shared her knowledge on the benefits of bilingualism. Her episode was the third most listened to, from season 1.

And with her love for writing, and outstanding communication skills she also belongs to an established book-writing group with published writers and best-selling authors. You can connect with her via Linkedin where she is always happy to expand her network and take on new writing opportunities.

One Comment

  • Paul Docktor M.D.

    Love your website. I’m a retired orthopedic surgeon from Colorado who often visits my daughter in Orgiva. I went to medical school in Belgium, and speak French and love international exchange.
    I’m a secular Jew, and saw a greeting card for Rosh Hashanah with pomegranates interlaced with the green vines.
    My curiosity about the health benefits of pomegranates, and their history led me to your website, which is very edifying. Thank you so much.

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