Life as an expat in Spain with a family
Sunny Spain has long been a favourite for British expats looking to relocate overseas. Boasting a temperate Mediterranean climate and irresistible mix of attractive natural landscapes and vibrant, historical cities, Spain offers a little something for everyone with the added benefit of being just a short, budget flight away from home. It is this close proximity to the UK and the ability to remain within visiting distance of friends and family that gives Spain its appeal to expats with children.
But as with any move overseas, there are still important points to be aware of when considering taking the plunge and embarking on what could be one of the greatest adventures of your life – particularly when children are involved. Here are a few nuggets of wisdom that might help you with your move:
Younger children tend to be more adaptable to the changes in culture and lifestyle that come hand-in-hand with relocating abroad – particularly pre-school children who will often find it easier to pick up a new language and make new friends fast.
Older children might find the move a little more tricky, particularly if they feel very settled in the UK. EU citizens are able to secure a place for children in a state run Spanish school very easily – you don’t even need to wait for your resident’s permit and in expat-rich communities, many of these schools offer targeted language coaching to help children acclimatise in the first few weeks. However, without being fluent in the language, children might struggle to settle and if you can’t speak Spanish either, you might find it difficult to be fully involved in their education.
Consequently, a common option for expats is to pay to send their children to an international school and receive a British-style education. Some of the more popular schools have waiting lists so it’s advisable to consider applying around a year in advance to avoid disappointment.
The Internet is a wonderful tool for expats looking to settle their families into a new Spanish way of life. There are a number of websites and forums advertising activities and support groups amongst the expat community with useful resources for new arrivals. Parents with very young children will find it easy to locate those seeking playdates whilst older children may wish to participate in drama groups, sports clubs or language classes in order to make friends.
Spain offers a great many opportunities to spend quality time together as a family. Whether it’s indulging in water-sports, exploring historic towns or hiking through forests and mountain peaks, there are plenty of opportunities to get back to nature in this beautiful country.
However, one of the key factors to settling your family into Spanish life is to introduce your children carefully to the rich new culture and customs of their new home. As you learn about and embrace the local way of life together, you can adapt to your new Spanish lifestyle as a family and hopefully work through any teething problems together.
If you are planning on moving to Spain , Cadogan Tate’s experience and attention to detail guarantee you peace of mind. From start to finish, we ensure the entire moving process goes smoothly – from initial enquiry to unpacking at your new home.
Information correct at time of publication.