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Living in Spain can be as relaxed or hectic as you would like it to be. Whether you want to be busy, joining in with the various clubs and groups or if sitting out in the sun relaxing is more your style, the options are there for you to choose.

Spanish LifestyleMost towns and villages throughout Spain, especially in the Costa Blanca area have a fascinating mix of traditional and modern infrastructure. Whilst the Spanish generally enjoy their traditional fiestas, siestas and relaxed attitude, they have taken on board the small differences and changes that have arrived from other countries in Europe and the World. A wide choice of cosmopolitan as well as typical Spanish restaurants are available, so you don't need to feel that you will miss out on your favourite fayre. In addition you can enjoy your food al fresco, given the climate and many hours of sun throughout the year.

It is easy to see why the Spanish are reported to have good health with a fabulously healthy diet and less stress. The pace of life is definitely slower than the UK, though it can start earlier and end later. Shops open anytime between 8.30am - 10am and close around 8 - 9pm. However apart from the supermarkets most will close for 'siesta' between 1.30pm - 4.30pm. Don't expect to get anything done quickly as the 'mañana' attitude is very popular.

Whilst many Spanish now speak English, this isn't something that should be taken for granted. We would recommend anyone considering a move to learn some basic Spanish, as a few sentences will get you a long way.

Driving can be interesting. The roads are much quieter and parking generally easier, if not somewhat erratic. At fiesta times you will find cars parked wherever there is a small space to squeeze into and may find yourself blocked in. The best answer is to go back to the bar for another drink and wait a while. Road rage doesn't exist and even if you try you will generally receive a shrug of the shoulders and questioning look. Roundabouts are a new concept to Spain and are dealt with very differently to the UK. You should approach with caution and be aware of the motorists around you.

That all said, the Spanish are very friendly and welcoming. A little effort on your part to integrate will go a long way.

Education

When you are considering moving to Spain with children their education is always a big consideration. Education standards in Spain are high. Like many countries, you have a choice of Spanish or International (English) school.

EducationEach town has at least one local Spanish school and as an EU citizen you will have no problem in finding a place for your child. In our experience the younger the child starts the better, as they integrate more quickly and will learn the language a lot faster, most becoming fluent within a year. Most state education is free, however you may find yourself being asked for a fee towards books for the year, school dinners and the school bus should it be required. This is normal.

The International/English schools are not as readily available, but there are several around. Lady Elizabeth and Xabia International College are local to Javea and Moraira. These are private fee paying, so you will need to consider these costs as part of your move. The education system is good and works in a similar way to that of the UK with GCSE's and O'Levels. A coach service is available that covers most areas.

General language courses are available in the local town hall. Sometimes they are free or a small fee is charged. There are a selection of private language schools for all levels and ages, short or long term.

Pets

Following changes to the law it is normally no problem to bring your furry friends to Spain. A little planning is needed to obtain the relevant documents.

 

There are different options available, depending on whether you want to bring your pet out to stay permanently, or you intend to travel around between countries. Procedures such as vaccinations and certificates will take several months, so the earlier you start the better. Your local vet should be able to provide you with all the information and costs involved or you can contact MAFF on Tel: (0044) 020 7904 6345.

 

Health Care

The Spanish are among the world's healthiest people and have an average life expectancy of 80 for women and 74 for men, the highest in the E.U. A diet of lots of garlic, olive oil and red wine contributes to the fact that heart disease in Spain is amongst the lowest in the world.

Health CareHealthcare in Spain is efficient and, depending on individual circumstances, can be freely available because of reciprocal arrangements offered within the E.U. The medical care in this area is excellent. There are numerous clinics and medical centres, with the main hospitals in Denia, Benidorm, Villajoyosa, Alicante or Valencia.

The World Health Organization ranks Spain as one of the better countries in the world for health. Healthcare is free to women of 60 and men of 65 years of age or if you are employed. If you retire early or do not work then you can take out private medical care until you are 60-65. Private medical care is cheaper than the U.K. and medicines are approximately half price. Annual Multi-Trip Insurance is a good alternative if you want to visit several times a year up to 62 days at a time.

It is always good to check on your particular circumstances with your local Social Security Department in the UK or the Overseas Benefit Office in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
Tel: (00 44) 0191 218 7547.

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(Mob.) 0034 600 541 452
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