Fanny Magini is French, 42 years old, and married with three children. When she was 9 years old, her family moved to Montreal. Before relocating to Barcelona a year ago, she lived in a number of places, including Paris, and Puebla in Mexico. Since arriving, she has worked with the Quebec consultancy firm Strategeum, and with Barcelona Global, where she directed the International Talent Monitor, a survey whose aim is to discover the needs and challenges faced by expatriate professionals who have chosen to live and work in Barcelona.
Why did you choose Barcelona?
After having lived in Montreal for so long, we were looking for somewhere warmer! And Barcelona seemed like the logical choice since I already spoke Spanish. My grandparents on my mother’s side were from Barcelona, but sadly they had to emigrate because of the civil war. Living in Barcelona is an opportunity to return to my family’s roots and to learn more about the Catalan culture and language.
What do you consider to be Barcelona’s strengths?
First and foremost, Barcelona’s wonderful location between the sea and the mountains.
Another great plus is being able to get around the city without a car. We wanted to move to a place where we could do our best to lead a carbon-free life. I am very much in favor of the city’s attempt to introduce the 15-minute city and I love being able to get around on foot, by bike, and on public transport. I am also impressed by the city’s commitment to the so-called “superblocks.” It makes the city much more livable and there is more room for children. Planting more trees and plants in the center of cities also improves air quality and reduces the risk of heat islands developing.
We are also impressed with the rigor, organization, and general punctuality of health services here. And we also take advantage of the extraordinary range of cultural events and facilities. Lastly, I should mention the people. In general, people are much more relaxed and pleasant than in many parts of the world.
What still needs to be improved in your opinion?
Public services need to be digitalized and made more straightforward. It was really difficult to get my NIE, for example. Another thing that surprised me here is the widespread use of disposable water bottles. In Montreal, people are strongly encouraged not to buy bottled water and there are many places to refill bottles. And tap water is served in restaurants in Montreal, which is the way things should be!
What are your hopes for Barcelona in the coming years?
I hope the city will take the climate emergency even more seriously and implement policies that make a positive impact on the environment. I look forward to seeing the results of the International Talent Monitor and seeing what other expatriates think!
Which city would you call home? What do you miss most?
At the moment I feel very much at home here, and I hope that there will be more job opportunities to enable us to stay. What I miss most is my family and friends, who are in Montreal, France, Sri Lanka, and Latin America… But we are enthusiastic about starting an interesting new social life and making new friends.
If you are an expatriate living in the city and want to help improve Barcelona to attract more high-impact talent, you can complete the survey here: https://barcelonaglobal.civi-go.net/en/6th_international_talent_monitor