I’ve never been shy to admit to the realities of being an expat in Valencia. Moving abroad is challenging. But for those who have taken the risk find out that there are also advantages of living somewhere other than the country that you were born in.

Nine years ago we left our life in the UK and started a new one in Valencia, Spain. Our decision to move has had its challenges, especially when it comes to missing family and friends. The last year has proved that even more. But I don’t want to look at the negatives, though there are a few of them, on this post I wanted to share with you the reasons why I love being an expat in Valencia, Spain. Here are just some of them!

8 Reasons Why I Love Being An Expat In Valencia

Spanish culture

They say you’re never too old to learn new things, and that’s how it is living in Spain. I still get excited to learn new things. Whether it’ll be a new custom, new food, a new word, it certainly keeps me on my toes! Every time I visit a new place I’m always in awe of its history, and beauty. 

Self-discovery

Moving abroad can change you in many ways. I realised that this is a personal journey, though it doesn’t seem obvious, after a few years I looked back and realise how much this experience has grown and changed me for the better. I have discovered the importance of being patient, which is inevitable when you have to deal with Spanish bureaucracy and the mañana attitude on a regular basis. 

Speaking another language

Speaking Spanish makes me appreciate and understand the history, their values, and culture. Even though I had my own struggles of speaking Spanish I believe that life is so much better as an expat when you can communicate. Even if it’s just asking the local market vendor how to cook a certain ingredient or asking the neighbour about their family. There is a deeper connection that forms when you can communicate with the locals in their native language.

A new perspective

Those small annoyances that I have back in the UK seem frivolous. After 9 years of dealing with bureaucracy and cultural hurdles certainly put things in perspective. Living in Spain exposes you to a new set of social and cultural differences that you didn’t know about. Instead of moaning about things, my focus has shifted to enjoying the moment and appreciating how lucky I am to be living somewhere that I love!

A ‘new me’

I wouldn’t say that I’m a completely different person compared to when I lived in the U.K. But I have certainly changed in some ways. I have taken up yoga, something I never thought I would do. For certain that the relaxed way of life had influenced me to take on something good for the mind and body. I don’t care much for designer handbags or shoes anymore, shorts and flip-flops are my new must-haves for 6 months of the year. 

More opportunities to travel

Living in Spain gives you more options to explore the continent. A road trip to France or Italy? No problem, just get in a car and away you go! It’s also great to know first hand when the cheapest places are and when to go. With many beaches and places to explore, who needs a holiday anywhere else anyway?!

Making new international friends

Living in Valencia I’ve been lucky enough to meet so many people from around the world. Knowing people from different backgrounds gives you a more detailed insight into their cultures. This also has allowed me to talk about where I came from, and break certain stereotypes that I may have formed before I lived here. 

Inviting friends and families over

As much as I love going to the UK to visit family and friends, I much prefer them to come over and enjoy our home. Inviting family and friends to stay for as long as they want is one of the best things about living in Valencia. It allows me to be their own personal tour guide and show them the best places to go and the best places to eat. Most of all it gives us the best family bonding together, while also enjoying sunshine, amazing food and sights that Valencia has to offer. 

Final Thoughts

Even though moving to Spain has its fair share of challenges, it’s not made me want to pack up and leave. I guess 9 years of living here proves that. Yes, there have been times out of frustration when I thought “In England, it would be easier to do ….” but we are not in England and adjusting is the key to a happy and fulfilled life if you choose to live in a new country.

The truth is, being an expat in Valencia has given me the chance to open my eyes to see different ways of living. Of course, the hours of sun, the Med life, diet and relaxed atmosphere contributes a lot to enjoying life too! Do you live in Spain? What do you love about being an expat? Let me know in the comments below! 

Expat in Valencia

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British/Filipina now living in Valencia, Spain. Mum, wife, designer and illustrator. I am also the author of Ohla Living where I share my lifestyle, travel, recipes and creative ideas.

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