If you are thinking of making a life out here in Spain then you might be intrigued to know what the cons are about living here. You might want to know exactly what you’re signing up for and hear about the disadvantages there are to not only daily life but also long term.
Sure, you might have been on holiday for long periods of time and sure you might love being out here, but do you know exactly what you’re getting in to? You might enjoy living the Spanish holiday life, heading to the beach and lounging by the pool but making a life out here is much different, whether you intend to work or not.
Living in Spain
It’s not the solution to all of your problems at home. Waking up to the sun and blue sky sure is glorious, but it’s not a fix. Many people arrive to Spain and take months to snap themselves out of holiday mode, and even find the motivation to get out of holiday mode to find a job.
Cost of Living
Some people see this as a disadvantage so I thought I would touch on it, but from a personal opinion, I don’t find this the case. Wages and salaries in Spain can be lower than they are in other countries such as United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and the USA. But, on the other hand, I find our outlay much less. Our rent is much lower and we get much more for our money. The only thing we do find expensive is WiFi and TV.
There’s two parts to this one. Your relationships at home, and your relationship with the person you’re moving with (if you are). You might find moving to Spain takes a toll on your relationship as you’re pretty much guaranteed to spend a lot more time with solely that person than if you were at home. This might be because you intend to open a bar together, or because it takes a while to build a friendship group. (We still don’t have hardly any friends albeit a couple!).
Plus, there’s your relationships at home. Not seeing friends or family for long periods of time can also be a strain. Of course, if they’re able to come out and see you on a cheap flight then it’s definitely not the worst place to host! We gave up a pretty solid friendship group where we’d regularly go out or round theirs for dinner, game nights, cinema, you name it. I’d be naive to say it hasn’t affected our friendship and it hurts to know we’ve potentially damaged a friendship and miss out on seeing their children grow up.
It’s definitely hard to not just pop around friends or families houses. Plus knowing you’ve left a lot of people behind and general homesickness can be hard.
Oh please don’t remind me of the paperwork! There’s a video knocking about on YouTube where a girl goes into a government office for a piece of paper. The standing joke is, you have thousands of pieces of paper but they’ll still ask for one more. They’ll even ask for paperwork that doesn’t even exist (I wish I was kidding). Basically, if they can make an excuse, they will.
For what one person needs for a simple documentation, somebody else will need something else. If you’re not armed with an entire tree in paperwork, plus photocopies of everything you own then chances are you’re getting declined. Top this with every time you go you need a previous appointment and involves many trips back to the government building then it gets very tedious and very frustrating very quickly.
From a personal note, I love the healthcare here, well love is a strong word but it’s very good. I say that because I’m young and luckily haven’t had to use it often and hopefully shan’t need to in the future (runs to touch some wood). I’ve visited the walk in centre on a Saturday afternoon in summer and have been seen within five minutes. Walked out with a prescription and off I went. I’ve also been to the doctors and the hospital and have been seen very quickly and received very good care.
However, one common complaint I hear is that for the elderly or others it’s not quite so good. Not every job comes with an official contract meaning they’re not entitled to free healthcare like we are. This puts workers in extremely vulnerable positions as they have to pay premium private healthcare.
Following on from that, there aren’t many elderly homes around. It is assumed that family members will take care of the elderly when the time comes which can be a definite disadvantage.
There’s only so much beach and pool you can put up with. Many people underestimate the power of boredom and how quickly it comes. In most places, there aren’t many facilities for sports, or activities so the boredom starts to set in. Add this with that if you don’t speak Spanish you might not be able to take part properly or have the confidence to take part.
Luckily, in Benidorm, we do have a lot more facilities than most places and the town hall do work to put on different events. There are always lots of festivities or fiestas going on, but in terms of sports and social I still feel it’s lacking. If you have a car, I do find that this gets diminished though as you can travel to other towns like Javea and Alicante for social clubs like yoga and dance or even English cinemas.
To combat boredom, Alex recently joined a Spanish kayaking club which he’s been loving and I have joined a pottery club. The blog has definitely helped with boredom and is, like I’ve always said, the main reason why I opened it.
I often wonder about the pros and cons for children. While becoming bilingual will be fantastic for them and that they’d have a wonderful life and private schooling, I wonder what life after school will be like. Will they have the opportunities they want? Will Spanish nationals be more likely to be offered a job? I know that both Alex and I have jobs in the sector we want, but I’m not sure what they might want. Hypothetically speaking they might want to work in tourism, or in education or they might have so many languages that it’d actually advantageous, let’s see! From a personal opinion, I think it might be different moving out with a child already having known growing up in their home country as opposed to a child only knowing here.
They also say that childbirth can be difficult in Spain as there aren’t the options to have certain birthing options or pain relief. One thing that does worry many people is the fact they have to face the Spanish healthcare system for all of their appointments, talk to doctors in Spanish and actually give birth in a Spanish hospital. Of course, a translator is definitely recommended (or even required in some places!).
I said this to Alex and wanted to check his opinion on it. The reason the buildings are on a slant is because, especially around here, the land is so mountainous and hilly. But, from an aesthetic point of view, it’s so frustrating to take a photo and it looks like I haven’t taken it straight because the building is on a slant. When you straighten it, the sea looks like it’s drooping down and it’s just weird. From an architectural point of view, I don’t know if this affects the building at all?
Lack of Flights
Again, this definitely is just for our area. But, we find it much harder to nip away for a weekend or go on holiday because there just aren’t the flights to different places or airport access like we had in the U.K. We had 4 major airports within reach and it was amazing to just click lowest flight to anywhere and see where we could go. Now, it takes much more planning and much more limited options. Even down to the fact sometimes we have to fly to the U.K. for our holidays.
In a lot of cases, finding work can be difficult. Especially if you don’t speak Spanish. Generally, bar work can be pretty easy to pick up should the English clients be there, which they certainly are around the Costa Blanca. Also, if you have the skills and experience, teaching in an academy in a possibility. In terms of actual teaching, this is certainly possible with the same qualifications you’d need in the U.K. Not all teachers are keen to teach in Spain as it might include a pay dip and not all schools offer a relocation fee like they do in other countries.
I have to say, it took me a while to think of downsides. It wasn’t easy, and when I asked Alex he could only come up with one. Once I told him the ones I had, he said he agreed to an extent but some were only relevant to other people, which I touched on, or to the Benidorm area. Like he said, clubs and things definitely happen in other places, especially Javea. The pros in our case much further outweigh the cons.
What do you think? Any more to add?