Hello! My name is Sara and I’m from Madrid. I lived there my whole life until two years ago, when I decided to follow my heart and move to Israel as an expat. I chose to live in Israel because I’m Jewish and Israel is the home of the Jewish people. It was always my dream to live in Israel. In Spain, I felt stuck and never fully considered it to be my place. After my first trip to Israel, I confirmed with myself unequivocally that I wanted to live there.
Right now, I work at a daycare. I don’t get any income from my social media, but I would like (at some point) to be able to dedicate more time to it and make it more than just a hobby. Most of my days in Israel are spent working. However, on my days off, I love to take excursions around the country. Israel is an incredible place. You can find deserts in the south and green vegetation in the north. It’s also full of impressive historical sites.
The Process of Moving to Israel as an Expat
Israel was created as a refuge for the Jewish people, so there are people here from all over the word. That is one of the things I like most about it. We all come from different countries but we are united in Jewish culture. The state encourages the immigration of all Jews. In my case, it wasn’t difficult to immigrate. That being said, I did have to go through bureaucratic procedures. There is no special visa with Spain or any other country.
How Different is Israel from Spain?
Israel isn’t too different from Spain, both are Mediterranean after all. That is reflected in the cheerful nature of the people. The biggest distinction is the topic of religion. Spain has strong Catholic traditions while in Israel Christians are a minority. In Israel, about 80% of the population are Jewish and 20% are Muslim. The biggest challenge for me has been the language. Hebrew is difficult and you have to put in a huge effort to learn it.
I’m not fluent in Hebrew yet but I’m working on it. When I arrived, I took language classes in an ulpan (a specialized center that teaches Hebrew). Over time, I have been able to learn through experience. It helps when you work with Israelis and don’t have another option but to speak Hebrew. Being around kids also helps your language skills. Since I work in a daycare, I can converse with the children at a more basic level which helps a lot.
Enjoying the Delicious Israeli Cuisine
Israeli food is another thing I love about living here. This country has a fusion of cultures and that can be seen in the cuisine. Jews from all over the world brought with them typical dishes from each country. So we can find Ethiopian, Yemeni, Moroccan and (of course) traditional Jewish foods. My favorite dishes are hummus, falafel, malawach, jachnun and burekas. It’s not like Spanish cuisine as there are more spices used in the cooking.
Tips for Moving to Israel as an Expat
My main advice for people looking to live the expat life in Israel is to start the process of learning Hebrew right away. You can take online courses, download apps which gamify the learning experience and take in-person classes with other Jews living in your country. Additionally, you should come in the knowledge that the beginnings are always hard (like any new country you move to) but it’s worth fighting to fulfill your dreams.