Spain is one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations; furthermore the attraction of Spain’s climate, culture, beauty, cost and standard of living attracts record numbers of expatriates to relocate to its shores every year and the country already has an estimated 1.5 million foreign residents in situ.
But there’s a darker side to moving abroad that few people ever consider – did you know that last year 191,000 people relocated overseas from the UK…and 105,000 Britons also returned to the UK last year having failed to establish their new life overseas?
Some people simply fail to survive a move overseas and it certainly isn’t a case of “no going back” for the thousands of disillusioned people who flock ‘home’ to their mother country year after year…therefore if you’re thinking of moving to Spain you need to understand the main reasons people cite when they return. By understanding these reasons you will avoid the pitfalls and pain and succeed where others may fail thereby fulfilling your dreams of a new life in Spain.
The Practicality of Your Location
You need to make sure that you choose the very best location in Spain to fulfil your practical needs on a day to day basis.
Consider the accessibility of a location for family and friends to visit you and for you to reach a doctor, the supermarket, a school or even a hairdresser. Find your perfect location, location, location by visiting the areas you’re interested in and considering them thoroughly from the point of view of how easy and practical your day to day life there will be.
Accessibility & Homesickness
Wherever you choose to live, consider the accessibility of the location with your old home country in mind. Sure, you may be sick of the sight of certain people right now but you never know what tomorrow will bring and how are you going to feel if you can’t get back to visit, or if the important people in your life can’t afford to visit you?
Spain is very well serviced by airports and cheap airlines, it has one of the cheapest rail networks in the whole of Europe and the Spanish government spends millions each year on the travel and transport infrastructure so wherever you choose to locate you should never be so far away from decent transportation. But do bear this point in mind as ‘homesickness’ and ‘inaccessibility’ are some of the main reasons people cite when they give up on their dream of a new life abroad.
The first two years in any new country are by far the hardest…it takes this amount of time to build up enough knowledge of the local areas, customs, people and language to make your new house feel like ‘home’.
It also takes a significant investment and effort on your part to find true acceptance and getting to the stage where you really feel you ‘belong’ in your Spanish community will take time, effort and above all perseverance.
Expectation versus Reality
Moving abroad won’t necessarily ‘fix’ your life – if you do move abroad you won’t escape your history, you won’t escape who you are, you won’t escape all of the day to day grind and you may not always improve your quality of life! So make sure you have realistic expectations of your new life in Spain before you go and know that living in Spain will be very different to holidaying in Spain.
YES your new life abroad can offer you so much more…but just make sure your expectations can match the reality and remember the saying – life isn’t necessarily a beach just because you live beside one!
Health & Wellbeing
One of the saddest reasons people cite when giving up their dream of a new life abroad is health and wellbeing. The trap is the price, availability and quality of health care in their ‘new’ country. Please look at the local Spanish health care facilities, think about long term and respite care, consider health insurance for all your family and basically don’t bury your head in the sand! If you consider the worst case scenario and protect yourself against it, chances are you will be prepared for everything and will financially survive.
Last But Not Least – Money
THE most common reasons for people returning ‘home’ with their dreams shattered is that they simply run out of money.
If you’re moving to Spain and hoping to find work you need to know that unemployment in the country is way above the EU average, if you don’t speak Spanish you’ll struggle and some of your qualifications may not be recognised in Spain. If you’re considering downsizing when you move to Spain it can be more than just a shock to the system to leave a well paying job to become a pool cleaner. If you’ve sold up and released equity to live on have you honestly thought about how long you can practically live on this amount? What about affording your retirement years, trips back to your home country, health care, transportation and the unexpected costs that spring up when we least expect them?
There are ways to afford to live on less and there are ways to make what you have go far further. The bottom line is – to survive in Spain you simply MUST consider your financial position before you make ANY move.
Good luck in realising and securing your dream.