> Joan is a 19 year old AIL Madrid student from San Diego, California, USA.

> She has been studying at AIL for nearly three months so far.

> Joan just earned a two year professional degree in dance, an art that is both her passion and her work.

> In San Diego, she teaches children´s ballet, as well as gymnastics and ice skating.

Joan on AIL Madrid:

“I love this environment because there aren´t formal tests, except the one at the very end. It´s not about the grade, it´s about actually knowing [Spanish] …. I just have to do what I need to actually learn the material, not to pass a test, so I feel like I’m learning way more in these three months than I did in school. I have a much more positive feeling about language learning now.”

Joan and her Host-Family:

“Family is so important here and that’s really nice. They always eat dinner together, and I spend Sundays with the family.”

“After class I´ll go over all my stuff with [Lucia, my host-sister] and we play the same games that we play in class… it usually clicks when I go back home and talk to the family and go ´oh ok, that’s what that was´. It compliments my class time.”

Joan on Being a Local:

“I feel more local than when I did my other [Europe] trip; we were going everywhere and it was very touristy. But because I’m kind of living here, I get to do local things and just live the daily life, which I really like…I go salsa dancing every Monday,  I was surprised that people were just so serious about it! They just took you and started dancing with you and speaking in Spanish!”

Joan´s Advice:

“I like that every day is a challenge because I don’t speak the language; going to the store I have to pump myself up and think ‘you can do this!’ … So that’s what I would suggest. Get out there and try it!

Joan on the Future:

“I am coming back. I already want to book my flight, I already miss here and I haven´t even left yet. I´m coming back!”

Guiri Guide is looking for a couple adventurous and enthusiastic expats in Madrid who also happen to have the propensity to write and share.

Our Guiri Guide writers have a thirst for experience and a positive attitude when it comes to their encounters. Moving to a foreign country is never without its dramas but with our Guiri community of support, it can be enjoyable. A true Guiri Guide writer lays out the “Welcome” mat for new expats and then continues as the neighborly host through and through. Do you have what it takes!?

Contact us to learn more or to ask questions at guiriguide@gmail.com

Moving2Madrid world quality

Hi, I’m Pierre, GuiriGuide contributor since 2011 & Moving2Madrid founder.

I’m looking for a Madrid Home Hunter, another Madrid fan like me to help international people find their perfect home here.

I’m looking for someone who is focused on helping foreigners move to Madrid zen. You are a guiri, you have been through the process, and know how difficult it can be to find a place and move here. And you love Madrid. You have been here a few years and plan to stay, and love discovering new neighborhoods, new places here.

Helping people move here includes trust more than anything else. You should be a people person, good at establishing trust, managing expectations and communicating your love for Madrid.

No, you do not need to have any specific experience or education. I have worked with a 20-something undergrad, a housewife or a former Accenture consultant.
I will teach how we ensure our clients move to Madrid zen and show our unique way of  working.
Therefore, rather than experience, you will need to show you are a continuous learner, always  looking to improve your skills.

You should be great at listening and understanding people, and not selling, but helping them take a decision.
You should be great at creating trust over email, Skype and in person. This is the key of our business.

You should be great at figuring out which words or phrases make people genuinely trust you instead of giving a corporate image. We believe the right words at the right time can make all the difference.

This is not just a job for a people person – you will be also expected to complete rigorous property searches to ensure we find the best home for our clients.
We take pride in always making sure we find the best for our clients, by understand their lifestyle, then translating into Madrid terms, and finally finding the best solution in the Madrid market.
As a small business, you will also have freedom on the mid-term to dedicate your time to whatever new project you want to launch, and will be involved in other new projects, such as a Moving2Madrid Guide, our manifesto, a new website to compare international schools in Spain …

I need someone proactive and independent to take over the house hunting by september and stay on the long term so I can focus on growing the business.
I don’t believe it’s possible. Change my mind. Convert me.
Can you do it?


What we offer

We believe in international people, especially the crazy ones who believe in Madrid, like you or me.
The way we help is by keeping it personal, challenging how things are done in Madrid real estate and by measuring results in terms of happiness.
We just happen to help international people move here via services and this website.
Interested ? Keep on reading.

You work from where you want.
You work when you want.
The only time limits  are the viewing days with clients, whole or half day, and the team meetings.
We know happy team members make happy clients and make me happy. We work to live, not the other way around.
We have an office in Madrid centre, but no one cares. Our clients want to see Madrid. I help them move then talking to them via video calls before they move, and then by showing them Madrid, the authentic way.

You will lead clients from zero to hero, understanding their lifestyle and translating this into Madrid terms making sure you find the best home for them.
Most of the times you will be exchanging emails with clients, thinking everytime how you can strengthen the trust you have from the client.
For viewing days with clients, you will need to be 100% focused on the client, and make sure everything goes without a glitch.

As for remuneration, our objective is for you to become a long-term team member with an indefinite contract.
To reach this point, as we do not trust resumes, we will train you, test you with one client, and then go from there. We will train you in all aspects of the business, teach you how to craft effective mail communication to establish trust, and teach you the method to lead discussions.
The first step will be to be paid a good share of revenues of each client you help move to Madrid, as an autonomo/freelancer.
Then from there, if there is enough business, we will switch to a guaranteed monthly invoice, then an indefinite contract.


To apply

I don’t believe in resumes. I focus much more on your writing skills and how you establish trust with me with an email, as we have to do with clients. Do send it, but focus on the cover letter.

Send me an email to pierre@moving2madrid.com telling me why you’re the one. How you tell us is up to you.
I love to see specific examples of your work on the web, writing you might have done, even your resume, if tailored to this offer.

This is a chance to do the best work of your career and live the lifestyle who have always wanted.
Work from home, define your own schedule, be yourself when talking to clients, learn communication & business skills directly from me.
I know you’re out there. Get in touch.
Pierre Waters, Moving2Madrid founder

5 Key Tips to Buy a Flat in Madrid

December 12th, 2012 | Posted by guiri in House Hunting | Pierre - (0 Comments)
How can I find this perfect apartment to buy in Madrid ?
How can I find this perfect apartment to buy in Madrid ?

How can I find this perfect apartment to buy in Madrid ?

Real estate market trends for 2012 reveal that average home prices in Madrid will fall another 20 percent, at least between 2012 and 2014, after having already dropped by an average of 20 percent since 2007.

The market being full of risk and opportunities, I recommend you follow these 5 tips – a short summary of what I would recommend to clients and friends:

1)   Beware of the market variations in Madrid, and buy now only if you plan to hold the property for more than a minimum of five years.

2)   On top of the purchase price, you will have to spend 10 to 15% in taxes, commissions and fees.

3)   Real estate agents in Madrid usually charge commission to the seller: 6 percent is the average. This is different to other parts of Spain. However, some agencies, such as Red Pisos, charge 3 percent to each party, the seller and the buyer. Just be aware that, in most cases, you will not have to pay commission, but it may occur.

4)   Negotiate with patience and preparation. All real estate professionals know that average advertised prices are 20 to 30 percent higher than the final sale price. To negotiate well in Madrid, you need to be patient, have alternatives and be prepared.

5)   Get help, you will need support, and keep in mind that real estate agents payed by the seller are not your friends. It’s recommended that expats use the services of a flathunter: a professional who can help get the best property at the best price.

If you want more advice, do check my website Moving2Madrid with the detailed version of this post, all the interactive maps to choose the best neighborhoods and more advice.

If you have a specific questions, do not hesitate to send me an e-mail – I will come back to you within 48 hours.

Yours Madridly,
+Pierre-Alban Waters

huevos rotos

Pilar Orti runs the creative learning company Unusual Connections in London and is the author of The A to Z of Spanish Culture.  Yes, she loved Madrid, and lives now in London. She shares with us the five restaurants off the beaten track that make her miss Madrid – and not all are Spanish surprisingly ! And so different from the typical trendy places we see in all guides. All yours Pilar



I left Spain over 20 years ago out of choice. What I didn’t expect was that I would never get used to not having excellent food within arms’ reach.


I go back to Madrid often and spend most of my time eating out with friends or buying food to bring back to London with me. The relación calidad-precio is difficult to beat anywhere else.


I usually go back for just a weekend, but if I’m there for a week or longer, I make sure I visit the following places. If you have some time in the city this summer, you might like to try them too.


La Terapia.

Let’s face it, this is just a cafeteria, but the food is really superb. And so is the service.


It is located in the relatively new neighbourhood of San Chinarro, in the North of Madrid. The barrio is populated by young couples and so there is a really laid back feeling to the neighbourhood. La Terapia has a large terraza and this is for me, its main attraction. The terraza is situated on a large bit of sidewalk and so you can comfortably enjoy your food without the traffic bothering you.


La Terapia. c/ Príncipe Carlos. San Chinarro.

(Located around the middle part of the street.)


Entre jamones.

As its name suggests, if you fancy tasting some quality jamón, this is the place to go.


Entre jamones is situated near Avenida de América, and like La Terapia, it has a decent terraza (although this one is quite close to the traffic). If you are the kind of person that likes hopping from place to place, this might be a good choice as there are plenty of other bars and terrazas in Corazon de María to choose from.


Entre Jamones. Corazón de María, 46. (Note that there are two restaurants, pick the one on the corner.)




This might be an odd suggestion, but if you want to spend hours talking with your friends in a quiet terraza, while you taste different kind of Asian dishes, this might be the place for you.


Chin-Chin has a sitting-down all-you-can-eat buffet. This means that you sit at your table and order the different dishes as they take your fancy. It is the best way to have a bit of sushi with a bit of rice, some meat dishes, some noodles…



I can’t really say that it is the best Chinese restaurant in Madrid, but if you find yourself in the Arturo Soria/Avd de America area, it might be worth a try.


Chin-Chin. c/ Torrelaguna, 69.



El Automático

As you might have guessed, I like quiet places and one of the reasons why I continue to visit the three other places I’ve mentioned, is because, unless I turn up at a particularly busy times, I can always find a table.


This is not the case with El Automático. This bar is located in the middle of the neighbourhood of Lavapiés, bang in the centre of Madrid. However, what this bar has that makes me cross Madrid at the risk of having to sit uncomfortably while I eat my food, are its croquetas. They really are pretty amazing. And if you also order dátiles con bacon, then your culinary paradise will be complete.


El Automático. c/ Argumosa, 17.


Jamón José Jiménez

Lastly, I have to mention this charcutería.


The thing I miss most in London is the jamón. Even since I was a student, my mother used to order jamón from José for me to take back. It meant I could always prepare a decent meal in a few minutes: eggs with ham, pasta with ham, peas with ham, rice with ham or just ham and bread, the best way to enjoy this ham.


Twenty years ago I used to travel with a kilo of sliced ham wrapped up in its own fat, to make sure it didn’t dry up. Now I travel with five or six vacuum sealed packs, which last me much longer.


So, if you are a fan of jamón or any other pig-based ibérico products, pop in to see José and send him my regards.


José Jiménez. c/ Gaztambide, 68.




Pilar Orti runs the creative learning company Unusual Connections in London and is the author of The A to Z of Spanish Culture