FAQs : Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the observations/comments our teachers have made to help you:
Get here early. The good flats get snapped up by the secondary school teachers returning early September. Good sites to look for flats are:
You normally have to pay the whole month of September in advance although you are moving in mid- September and a month’s deposit, so you may need 500-600 euros cash up front. If you see something you like, let us know. We can always check it out prior to your arrival. It may be on our list of flat rentals or on our blacklist!Flats tend to be either one/two bedroomed studios (with one bathroom) or three bedrooms (with two bathrooms). The price doesn’t vary that much.Central heating and some form of air-conditioning (for the month of June) are very important. If there is none, insist on landlord providing something.Check what other bills you will have to pay in addition to the rent and take this into account (Is the heating electric/ will it be expensive to run?).Insist on a contract of some form. It should include an inventory of what is in the flat and be signed by both parties. Ask the landlord if the flat is insured for fire and theft. Bedding and towels are not normally provided. The school can lend you basics until you get settled in.When you get the keys to the flat, make sure you get a key for the mail box (buzón). Check where you can deposit your household waste. Normally there are bins at the end of each street. There are also recycling bins for plastic, paper, cooking oil etc. The Chinese and Euro shops are great for cheap household items. The quality varies but you can find some good bargains there.
2. TRAVELLING TO ANDUJAR
Get all train and bus times before you arrive in Spain in case your flight is delayed. Make alternative travel options or arrange to stay overnight if delayed. A good option is www.airbnb.com where you can pay for a room in someone’s house per night you stay. The best and cheapest flights are to Malaga or Madrid. From Malaga airport Terminal 3 there is a monorail which takes you to the Maria Zambrano railway station. From there you can get a train to Cordoba (50 minutes) and change for Andujar (40 minutes). Be careful when you book as the AVE high speed train is more expensive and only takes 10 minutes less than the regular trains.
From Madrid there are regular buses www.secorbus.es and some of the buses go direct from the airport to Andujar. There is a short 15 stop on route (3.5 hours trip) and a toilet on board. Check trains on www.renfe.es which is also in English. Book on line as it is quicker and easier. Always print out your ticket in case the barcode reader doesn’t work at the station.
3. DOCUMENTS AND PAPERWORK
When you first arrive, we will apply for an NIE (ID code) number from the national police in Andujar for you. This is usually issued within 48 hours and we need this number to register your contract with the Spanish National Health Service and the Employment Office. If we register you with your passport number, you could be liable for emergency tax at 25%. You will have to register fully as an EU citizen no later than 3 months after you have arrived in Spain. We will apply for an appointment online with the national police in Jaen and take you to Jaen to register. You will be issued with an EU Citizen Certificate which will have your same NIE number on it. You have this number for life, so don’t lose the card. If you lose it, you must inform the police to be issued with a new one. The cost of both the NIE number and the full EU residency certificate is approximately 10,71 euros each.
If you want to buy a car or a house, pay by credit card etc, you need a NIE card. When you go to the bank, you need to take some form of ID (a passport/driver’s licence) unless you are getting money out with your cash card.
Carry a photocopy of your passport or ID number (NIE card) with you at all times. You need to be able to identify yourself if stopped by the police.
4. GETTING A PHONE
Check out the deals for mobiles (Movistar/ Orange/Yoigo/Vodaphone/Jazztel etc). The Phone House or individual companies can give you advice on the best offers. Deals include broadband, optic fibre, landline and mobile connection and phone. You may have to commit for one year so check out the penalties for opting out before the year is up. Also, check if your flat has a phone and internet connection.
5. GETTING A BANK ACCOUNT
The school banks with La Caixa savings bank. Savings banks don’t charge the extras that main banks do. If you bank with La Caixa, you get your wages the same day we make the transfer. Otherwise it can take a day or more. Only use the cashpoint for your bank or card name otherwise you will be charged commission.
See if your own bank has an agreement with a Spanish bank (for money transfers etc especially if you are paying off a student grant). Otherwise shop around. The Cajas (savings banks) tend to be cheaper. Make sure the deal includes free bank transfers.
All banks close at 2pm and may have restricted opening hours near local fiesta days.
Most establishments close at 1.30-2pm for lunch and reopen at 4.30-5pm until about 8-8.30pm. Local bread shops and small family run supermarkets may stay open a bit later. Some small supermarkets like PROXI are open all day Sunday, so are the local family run supermarkets and corner shops.
You can get quite a lot of GB foodstuff in Carrefour Hypermarket, Mercadona or El Corte Inglés supermarket in Jaen/Cordoba. Lidl also have a British week from time to time. If you can’t get it here, you can get it in the big cities or on the coast in Málaga in places like Supersol or Iceland.
Use the local market for fresh food. It sells everything from fresh fruit and veg to meat, fish, spices, plants and is open from 9-2pm, Monday to Saturday.
On Tuesday morning near Carrefour hypermarket there is an outdoor continental market. On Wednesday morning there is an even bigger one in Bailen (15 minutes by car).
Stamps can be bought from the local post office or tobacco shops.
7. SIGNING UP WITH A DOCTOR
You need to go to the health centre for your catchment area and sign up for a doctor first. We will sort all this out for you.
If you are ill and need to see a doctor, don’t wait for an appointment. Just turn up at the health centre and the duty doctor will see you (between 8-3pm). From 3pm, at the weekends and on feast days there is a 24-hour clinic with doctors on duty in the walk- in centre. After 10pm they only attend emergencies.
If it is serious, just go straight to “Urgencias” at the Alto Guadalquivir Hospital where they have a 24- hour emergency service. You must take your medical card/number with you to be seen by a doctor.
To book an appointment with you GP go to SALUD RESPONDE (CITA PREVIA) and book your appointment on line. Go straight to the surgery with your appointment slip and wait your turn.
Make sure you bring enough prescription medicine with you if you need it, as it may take a day or two to get an appointment when you arrive. April to June is hay fever season so come prepared. It may start as early as February in a dry year.
When you arrive at the school you will be issued with a list of useful telephone numbers.
8. GOING TO THE GYM/SPORTS IN GENERAL
There is a monthly fee or you can pay as you go (called a “bono”). Sometimes the “bono” option works out cheaper. The municipal indoor pool (outdoor in summer from June to Sept) and gym is cheap. There are several other private gyms offering crossfit, pilates, yoga and electrofitness.
If you need an advance, ask for one. Don’t struggle on nothing. There’s nothing like a miserable weekend with no money on you.