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Spanish Adventure Update: Banks Aren’t Useless After All

Well, not completely useless. A follow up to my post from a few months ago.

So, by now I have decided to go to Barcelona. I will be entering medical school next September, so don’t worry, I haven’t given that up! I don’t have any particular job lined up, but I have heard from various people that teaching English is the way to go. Importantly I have a very useful contact out there who has been most helpful in answering my many questions about accommodation, learning Spanish, the city, and a million other things. Don’t worry; they will be suitably rewarded.

Anyway, I figured it would be useful to have a bank account set up out there. I’m not really a pick up and go type person (I’m trying), and I figure that paying a bank to spend my own money (overseas fees FTL) is a form of ridiculousness I don’t want to be involved in. So, I went and asked my bank about their subsidiary over cashing a couple cheques, and the helpful chap actually went and phoned the Spanish team, who very promptly sent me an information pack and application form!

I must confess at this stage I dallied a bit, partly because the form was all Greek to me (well, Greek would have been an improvement, let’s say, oh, Finnish*) and partly because having it filled in would mean I actually have to leave.

So anyway eventually I got my rear in gear and went back to the branch and had some help from the lovely John (I think… might have been Dave. Sorry, whichever you are) who was as helpful as helpful can be.

The next day I went back with a couple questions I missed. Sadly, on this occasion I got someone somewhat less helpful. She said there was uncertainty as they didn’t really get many people in to do the Spanish stuff, only yesterday John/Dave had said the exact opposite. He was in close contact by email with their contact on the Spanish end, he even serendipitously got an email with her phone number which he used to clarify a couple of my questions. Confusing.

Then I had to convince the person dealing with me to certify a copy of my passport. Never mind this is something the same bank said I needed to do to as a prerequisite for opening my new account. Part of the problem was I wanted to take it away with me, as I was intending to send my documents next day delivery due to an impending Royal Mail strike. More on that later. Anyway I finally got out of the bank an hour later after going through the rigmarole of the international monetary transfer. Did you know the FBI can get information on your transfer (and you) pretty much just by asking nicely? Or any other organisation, bound or not bound by Data Protection Laws. What fun. At least the person doing the transfer was quite pleasant, although she did question my being at university for 9 years – purely from a financial point of view, right enough.

Anyway, after all that, the bit that restored / boosted my confidence (apart from JohnDave and his helpfulness) was that I put a handwritten note in with my application saying essentially: “THERE’S A STRIKE ON, PLEASE BE CLEVER AND NOTIFY ME BY SOME MEANS OTHER THAN POST”. The next day, they phoned me and did just that. The system works. In this specific circumstance. For me, anyway. Kinda.

So now all I have to do is sort flights and accommodation. After that, I’ll probably do something even more fun, like self immolation.

1 thought on “Spanish Adventure Update: Banks Aren’t Useless After All”

  1. * Note to my Finnish readers (I know there’s one or two out there!): I picked your humble language only because its tricky. Damnsome tricky. If I’m lucky, maybe one day I’ll have enough time to have a go at learning it. Until then, it’s all Greek to me. Well, maybe not Greek…

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