British expat in ‘sunnier’ Spain says the country has ‘crap TV’ and ‘endemic corruption’

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British expat Fiona moved to the south of Spain after quitting her job in London and a year in Ecuador. With a Spanish husband and two bilingual children, she said she had no plans to move back to the UK.

Fiona said she visited the UK regularly and wanted her children “to be exposed to as much English culture and influences as possible”.

Her main reason for moving from the UK was her search for “a smaller, friendlier, sunnier city”, and she seemed to have found it in Spain.

With her move “more about lifestyle than career”, she found the transition to life in Spain “no problem”.

She said: “It was incredibly easy to meet people at first – I had a few introductions already, through which I found my flatmate (now one of my closest friends), and I met a great gang of girls through the English language academy where I worked.

“The social life of English teachers is a whirlwind of tapas, pub quizzes and late nights in louche bars – just the way I liked it then!”

Becoming a mum and moving to the suburbs, however, was not as easy a transition.

Fiona said: “Now that I’m a mum living in the suburbs, there are very other few English people around, and I’m slowly getting to know more Spanish people, mostly the other mothers at my children’s school.

“It’s a small town, where everyone knows everyone else, so they’re a little suspicious of me, as a foreigner, and some are definitely not open to friendship for that reason.”

Fiona enjoyed her expat life, and particularly appreciated the “cheap food, sunshine, and proximity to a huge variety of places to visit within easy distance”.

Relocating just outside of Seville, Fiona had access to “beaches, mountains, hilltop towns, cities (Granada, Cordoba, Malaga, Cadiz)”.

While Fiona was happy in Spain, she still listed some negatives.

She said: “The negatives to living here in Spain are the crap TV, appallingly slow and inefficient bureaucracy and endemic corruption.”

She also had some tips for fellow Britons who wished to relocate to Spain.

She warned would-be British expats to “check out the area where you’re going to live carefully before you sign a rental agreement”.

She continued: “And get opinions from people who live in the area – if you hate your neighbourhood, you won’t be happy.”

Like most expats, she also mentioned learning the language was one of the best thing expats could do.

She said: “My advice would be to learn Spanish – it might seem obvious, and everyone I know here in Seville has no problem.

“The amount of people down on the coast who can’t communicate in the language of the country where they live never ceases to amaze me.”

While learning the language would help with meeting people, it was not the only thing that could help with expats’ social life.

Fiona said: “Go to meet-ups and get-togethers – while you may not like everyone, there are bound to be people who you do get on with.

“If you have children, offer to help with school activities – it’s a great way of meeting other parents and it creates goodwill too.”

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