Patricia Alva, Co-Founder, 080 Relocation Services
Patricia, can you tell us a bit about your background before joining 080 Relocation?
Before we began 080 Relocation Services, I worked in a bank as an account manager. My business partner Paola Soria is an architect and worked as a project manager in a company. 080 Relocation Services was founded by Patricia R. Alva and Paola Soria.
We are both foreigners and well aware of the difficulties that an expatriate has to face when they move to a new country. I’m from Peru; I came to study an MBA in Barcelona and then the bank relocated me to Madrid. Paola moved from Argentina to Barcelona, first she was studying a Master’s degree and then was relocated to Madrid for work.One day talking about the future we concluded that our dream was to become independent workers, so we decided to launch 080 Relocation Services, which is a project born due to the increase in migratory movements that occur in a city like Barcelona.
What is a typical working day like for you?
Usually my business partner and I meet early to coordinate our schedules, organize our day and point out the priority tasks. We answer our email messages and make phone calls to our customers and our suppliers.
Some days, we have to pick up the guests and give them a tour of the city, explain the Catalan customs and Spain’s eating habits, and indicate where to find some important stores. We accompany them to perform administrative procedures, helping as an interpreter.
Tell us about the services 080 Relocation offers.
Our services are designed for individuals and companies. We offer a full range of services, from accommodation, venues and catering, to special programs, transportation and events management. We have a team of multilingual specialists. Our goal is to offer the best available rates and provide customized solutions.
The process of relocation could be divided into three stages:
Before the arrival We start with an exchange of information about your short and long term needs for your relocation through a Welcome FAQ.
Welcome and Administrative Assistance We provide a tour of the city upon your arrival, searching for provisional accommodation until we find the appropriate dwelling where you wish to settle.
We also select day nurseries, provide information about schools, colleges and universities, residence permits and administrative procedures in general, etc.
We organize a tour of the city, preparing the agenda of visits, helping to visit the pre-selected houses, giving advice and lease contract negotiation, coordination of down payments, home inspection, checking inventory and handover.
We also provide information about public, charter, private and international schools, general procedures, etc.
Departure Support We take care of all the steps required to ensure a comfortable and relaxed departure. Closing of bank account, refunding of bond, closing of amenities, forwarding the postal mail, etc.
In your experience, what are the main challenges expats face when moving to Barcelona, and how does 080 Relocation help to address these?
It is easy to think that a change of scenery is not complicated. Of course, but it is not the same as visiting a country for a few days, either for leisure or work, it’s settling for a long period of time. The needs that arise in the latter are higher in number and importance. Relocating to a new city or country involves much more than finding a home. At 080 Relocation Services we believe it is a transcendental event.
Think about finding an apartment, including the management of rent, choosing a school for children and having a car or knowing where to turn in case of a medical emergency; these are issues that must be dealt with before landing safely in the new city.
At this point, it is important to have an agency like Relocation that helps you through this difficult transition period, which is responsible for providing management services and addressing needs that may arise in a change of residence.
What are the most popular neighbourhoods in Barcelona for expats?
It depends on the age of the expatriate and his family situation.
If the expat is a young student, he prefers neighborhoods like Gracia, Borne, Gothic and Eixample.
If the expat is relocating with his family, the neighborhoods that better suit his needs are Eixample, Sarria-Sant Gervasi, Pedralbes and Sant Cugat. Most of the International schools are located in the neighborhood of Sarria-Sant Gervasi.
In your opinion, what are the most common misconceptions people have about moving to Spain?
The most common mistake is when they have not previously had a cultural preparation, and they have not organized everything that involves moving to another country.
Much of the time, not only the expat, but also the family doesn’t know important factors (like language barriers, cultural traditions and social behaviors) which are required in order to achieve a successful relocation.
In Barcelona, depending on the time of year, searching for an apartment can be very complicated, because of the large volume of people arriving from July to October.
If you were to give one piece of advice to expats who are looking at moving to Barcelona, what would it be?
Our advice is that planning the relocation means taking into account the costs of the move, of the new flat where you wish to live and the money needed for the moving, etc.
The different aspects of daily life in the country: the insurances, the means of transportation, the school system for your kids and of course the language. Barcelona is cosmopolitan and offers places and sites for every taste, that’s why it’s important to be well informed to choose the best of it and make sure you enjoy the stay.
080 Relocation Services is an agency which helps expats with all their relocation requirements when moving to Barcelona.