Damiana Casile, Italian from Milan, 35 years old and single, moved to Barcelona exactly a year ago from Manchester. She is a Senior HR Business Partner for the technology departments of TravelPerk, a travel management company based in Barcelona.
Why did you choose Barcelona?
This question is easy… After Brexit, I was part of the relocation project for Rentalcars.com from Manchester to Barcelona. We opened the office in Diagonal Mar in 2017 and during that time, I fell in love with the city. Although I had been there before, the excitement and sensations I felt then are very different from what I feel now. They have multiplied a thousand times during these years.
What aspects of the city would you highlight as positive?
I think it is a well-connected and easily accessible city. It is very easy to get around by bike and public transportation, in addition to having a very well-connected international airport. It is a city that is changing a lot to make it more comfortable for its citizens. Also, Barcelona allows you to escape to the mountains or go to the beach in very little time, even if you live in a big city, you have the opportunity to take refuge in more remote places in a short time.
Additionally, the city has a very wide gastronomic offer, with restaurants serving food from all over the world and diverse bars and cafes welcoming different cultures.
I cannot fail to mention that the Catalans are extremely welcoming. They are always willing to help you integrate into the city. I think identity is such a personal concept and, yet, it is fascinating to see how important it is for Barcelona.
What aspects of the city need to be improved? How?
Barcelona has character and offers many opportunities. This makes Barcelona incomparable to any other city. I have had the opportunity to travel a lot and have not yet found a place that compares to this city.
However, bureaucratic aspects should be improved, making them easier and more accessible not only for Spaniards but also for foreigners who move to Barcelona. In addition, the problem with the taxi monopoly does not allow the entry of other transportation companies like Uber and causes mobility problems.
What do you expect from Barcelona in the coming years?
I hope it will be able to reduce the number of cruises that arrive in Barcelona, as they harm the environment. Also, Barcelona is suffering from the same problems of gentrification as other major European cities, with too many tourist flats and the consequent rise in rental prices for people who live in the city.
Which city do you feel is yours? What do you miss the most?
Although I have only been here for a year, I already feel at home and although I miss my friends from Manchester, I’m sure they are more than happy to come visit me. They are undoubtedly delighted to have someone living in a city where, apart from a very pleasant climate, there are festivals, outdoor events, sports events, and interesting cultural activities.
Barcelona gives you back exactly what you give it. During the last year, I have thrived personally and professionally, I have met some of the best professionals I have worked with, and some of the most interesting, caring, and diverse people. The mix of nationalities, ages, and experiences has helped me grow, and I am very proud to be a «Barcelonian by Choice».
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