My experience of Madrid in 2020

Oct 21, 2020

Making the move

After working for KPMG Dublin for four years, I used the network to move to the Madrid office a year ago. Thankfully I enjoyed five months of the city in full swing before COVID-19 hit and I absolutely loved it.

Spanish life

There is a relaxed vibe for such a major city, life really is all about enjoying cervezas and tapas on the terrazas. The weather helps facilitate this, as it can get chilly, but it hardly ever rains! There are lots of activities for expats: I joined a hockey team and a running club, and I found that a great way to meet locals was to go to “intercambios” where you can practise your Spanish and the Spaniards practise their English.  

Overcoming the language barrier

I worked for the audit and accounting advisory teams in KPMG Madrid. I felt incredibly welcomed by my colleagues there, but at times the language barrier was difficult, as I moved with only a basic level of Spanish. English is not as commonly used as it would be in KPMG offices in other European capitals. However it was sink or swim so I have definitely improved.

The importance of networking

Unfortunately due to the pandemic, my contract was terminated in August. However, I am continued to job hunt here as I just love the city and all it has to offer. I have recently come across Professional Accountants in Spain (PAS), which is a network for students and members of the UK and Irish chartered accounting bodies, which should definitely help me to make some contacts. Thankfully, it didn't take me too long to find a new role with the Olympic Channel in Madrid so I'm delighted!

Moving on and staying strong

While Madrid is a major European capital, it clings strongly to the Spanish culture, which I believe makes it unique and therefore an exciting and interesting place to move to. I would highly recommend it to anyone and there are a few multinationals with English as their corporate language if someone didn´t have Spanish. If anyone is thinking of a move, I´d be happy to give any advice, so please feel free to get in touch via Chartered Accountants Ireland.

Leah Lenehan, ACA