Moving from Canada to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

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Moving from Canada to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria


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Old 13th December 2011, 10:17 PM
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Question Moving from Canada to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Hi everyone,

My husband (a pilot) has been offered a job (within his current company) based in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. They are offering €85,000/year plus housing and living expenses, on a two year contract.

We live in Canada and would be moving over in the spring/early summer with our two daughters (they will be 5 years old & 2 years old, then) and hope to bring our dog along. My husband is 31 and I am 27. Right now we're talking about renting our house out while we're there (and putting our major furniture in storage), and moving back to Canada after the two years is up; although selling our house is an option (though I really love our house and would rather not sell it if we're going to come back, anyway).

Right now I have so many questions I don't even know where to start! Can anyone tell me what the process is like moving from Canada to the Canary Islands? Where should I look for information on the process?

What is the education system like? We would be moving over right when my older daughter would normally be starting kindergarten here. None of us speak Spanish; are there any english speaking schools around? Would I have to just stick her in a Spanish speaking school and hope she figures it out? Would I be better off to homeschool?

Any information anyone could provide would be very helpful!!

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Old 14th December 2011, 04:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Superfish View Post
Hi everyone,

My husband (a pilot) has been offered a job (within his current company) based in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. They are offering €85,000/year plus housing and living expenses, on a two year contract.

We live in Canada and would be moving over in the spring/early summer with our two daughters (they will be 5 years old & 2 years old, then) and hope to bring our dog along. My husband is 31 and I am 27. Right now we're talking about renting our house out while we're there (and putting our major furniture in storage), and moving back to Canada after the two years is up; although selling our house is an option (though I really love our house and would rather not sell it if we're going to come back, anyway).

Right now I have so many questions I don't even know where to start! Can anyone tell me what the process is like moving from Canada to the Canary Islands? Where should I look for information on the process?

What is the education system like? We would be moving over right when my older daughter would normally be starting kindergarten here. None of us speak Spanish; are there any english speaking schools around? Would I have to just stick her in a Spanish speaking school and hope she figures it out? Would I be better off to homeschool?

Any information anyone could provide would be very helpful!!


I can't help with the logistics of the move - but you''ll be living VERY comfortably on that salary

generally the Spanish education system is good - obviously they study in Spanish, but for kids of 2 & 5 they'll pick it up frighteningly quickly & be chattering away within weeks! In my opinion, even if you only stay 2 years, at that age they'd get a great grounding in another language, & would be learning the same as in Canada, so it would be too good an opportunity to miss!

mine were 5 & nearly 9 when they started in the Spanish system, and where we live they have not only had to learn Spanish, but also the local language Valenciano - it hasn't held them back at all & they are both in Secondary school now, slipping easily enough from one language to another - although they neither of them choose to speak Valenciano if they don't have to, but will as often as not prefer to watch TV in Spanish & read in Spanish

have a look at this thread about http://www.expatforum.com/expats/spa...ion-spain.html

here's a link for English speaking schools though, if you decide on that route http://www.nabss.org/

home schooling isn't exactly legal in Spain - but obligatory school doesn't start til the year in which the child is 6 (have a look at the info in the first post of the Education thread & you'll see what year your two would be age-appropriate for) - so you could 'homeschool' for a while til you get settled

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Old 14th December 2011, 11:09 AM
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I know what I would do if I was fortunate enough to be in your position.

I presume that your Husband will be working in the airport of Gran Canaria, if so you will not necessarily have to live in the City, for the airport is a 30 to 40 minute drive south of Las Palmas, depending on traffic.

Here is a link to English speaking schools, however you may wish to consider Spanish schools, if so I can ask my Canarian friends who live on the island.

Schools in Gran Canaria | Gran Canaria Guru

You do of course realise that when you have lived on the island of Gran Canaria for a while you may have a problem, you might never want to leave

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Old 14th December 2011, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xabiachica



I can't help with the logistics of the move - but you''ll be living VERY comfortably on that salary

generally the Spanish education system is good - obviously they study in Spanish, but for kids of 2 & 5 they'll pick it up frighteningly quickly & be chattering away within weeks! In my opinion, even if you only stay 2 years, at that age they'd get a great grounding in another language, & would be learning the same as in Canada, so it would be too good an opportunity to miss!

mine were 5 & nearly 9 when they started in the Spanish system, and where we live they have not only had to learn Spanish, but also the local language Valenciano - it hasn't held them back at all & they are both in Secondary school now, slipping easily enough from one language to another - although they neither of them choose to speak Valenciano if they don't have to, but will as often as not prefer to watch TV in Spanish & read in Spanish

have a look at this thread about [link removed]

here's a link for English speaking schools though, if you decide on that route [link removed]

home schooling isn't exactly legal in Spain - but obligatory school doesn't start til the year in which the child is 6 (have a look at the info in the first post of the Education thread & you'll see what year your two would be age-appropriate for) - so you could 'homeschool' for a while til you get settled
Thank you so much for the education links! It's good to know that homeschooling isn't really legal - my husband had suggested the option, and frankly the idea didn't really thrill me I don't mind the idea of having them in a Spanish speaking school; we had planned on putting them in French schooling here, originally, so at least they would still be getting a second language (my husband is fluent French & English, I however only speak English). I am hoping to enroll in a Spanish for beginners course at the local college before moving over, and plan on starting to speak Spanish to the kids as soon as I am able, to give them a start. Hopefully, it will give them enough that going to school and making friends won't be too much of a struggle. My older girl is already fairly shy, so I am bit concerned that the "culture shock" might make it worse. How did your kids do, socially? Did they find it fairly welcoming?

Are there a lot of English speaking people and services on the island? Is it possible to get by without knowing much (or any) Spanish?

It's good to know that we wouldn't be living in poverty on that salary I had assumed it was a decent amount (it would be pretty good where we live), but I have no idea what the cost of living would be like, so I wasn't too sure. We're hoping to be able to put a fair amount of money into savings for when we move back to Canada. We don't expect to get rich by any means, but we do hope to be a bit farther ahead when we come back home. If we come back, that is - after spending two years in tropical paradise, I don't know how we'll ever come back to -40°c winters

Is the culture on Gran Canaria fairly similar to that in mainland Spain? All i know of Europe is what i've heard from relatives (my dad and grandparents emigrated from the UK in the 60s) and what I've seen on TV. On top of that, the only tropical-like places I've been are Florida and Jamaica; my brain has invented some sort of crazy mishmash between the two, and then crossed it with the Europe I've seen in movies. It's getting quite confusing lol.

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Old 14th December 2011, 02:43 PM
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The Island of Gran Canaria lies on the same latitude of the northern part of Florida. It is in itself a mini continent. The south of the island is arid and dry, that is where the main tourist resorts are, in Playa del Inglés, Maspalomas, Puerto Rico and Puerto Mogan. There are sand dunes at Maspalomas that run down to the ocean, the sand over a great period of time was blown in from the Sahara Desert, Africa.
Many tomato and banana plantations are situated here, but tourism is the main industry.

The northern part of the island is lush and green and a lot cloudier and wetter than the south, the temperature can vary by 10ºC especially in the winter months all types of crops are cultivated here. In the small city of Arucas there is a famous rum distillery, which makes the famous Arrehucas rum.

The inland areas of the island is extremely enchanting very green with small Canarian villages and small towns dotted around. There is a town in the centre called Teror there they have a Sunday Market which is very interesting. The town is very pretty with a beautiful church.

The island rises to a height of 6394 feet above sea level, the area around Tejeda has snow in winter and the people from Las Palmas drive to the peak, build a snowman on the engine cover of the cars and drive back to the city before it melts.

The Canary Island culture is somewhat different from that of Iberian Spain, here we only have one language Castellano, or Spanish, there they have several. I find that here the people are warmer, friendlier there is always a smile ready, they love to joke and laugh, usually at my expense. The cuisine is also different, influenced by the products produced locally, and the fish that are caught in the waters locally. There is also a a South American influence both in language culture and cuisine. I find the main pastimes are eating and drinking, and of course football and basketball.

The climate is very agreeable we neither have heating nor air conditioning, I do have a pullover for winter and a straw hat for summer.

On Gran Canaria in the south of the island you could perhaps get by with just English, but if you try to learn the language, so many new doors will open, and it is not a difficult language to learn.

For your vacations visit the other islands they are all different, the link below shows photographs of where I live.

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Old 14th December 2011, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hepa
I know what I would do if I was fortunate enough to be in your position.

I presume that your Husband will be working in the airport of Gran Canaria, if so you will not necessarily have to live in the City, for the airport is a 30 to 40 minute drive south of Las Palmas, depending on traffic.

Here is a link to English speaking schools, however you may wish to consider Spanish schools, if so I can ask my Canarian friends who live on the island.

[link removed]

You do of course realise that when you have lived on the island of Gran Canaria for a while you may have a problem, you might never want to leave
Thank you so much for the response! About 5 or 6 years ago, we had been talking about someday moving overseas, and giving our then-theoretical children the opportunity to experience other countries and learn new languages. We had always talked about it as a 'maybe in 5 years' scenario. Then life got busy and we stopped talking about it. Now, it's five years later and this opportunity has come up! It feels like the universe is giving us a gift and it would be foolish to reject it!

From what I understand, my husband's company provides housing in las palmas for its employees, but gives the option of arranging your own. We have talked about my husband taking the provided housing at first and keeping an eye out for rentals around the island for when the kids and I join him (he will probably be moving out a few months before us). Are there any areas you would recommend for young families? I would love to live somewhere that has everything within walking distance. The idea of being able to go outside all year round, without 5 thick layers of clothing, is very exciting to me and I plan on taking advantage of it!

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Old 14th December 2011, 03:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hepa
The Island of Gran Canaria lies on the same latitude of the northern part of Florida. It is in itself a mini continent. The south of the island is arid and dry, that is where the main tourist resorts are, in Playa del Inglés, Maspalomas, Puerto Rico and Puerto Mogan. There are sand dunes at Maspalomas that run down to the ocean, the sand over a great period of time was blown in from the Sahara Desert, Africa.
Many tomato and banana plantations are situated here, but tourism is the main industry.

The northern part of the island is lush and green and a lot cloudier and wetter than the south, the temperature can vary by 10ºC especially in the winter months all types of crops are cultivated here. In the small city of Arucas there is a famous rum distillery, which makes the famous Arrehucas rum.

The inland areas of the island is extremely enchanting very green with small Canarian villages and small towns dotted around. There is a town in the centre called Teror there they have a Sunday Market which is very interesting. The town is very pretty with a beautiful church.

The island rises to a height of 6394 feet above sea level, the area around Tejeda has snow in winter and the people from Las Palmas drive to the peak, build a snowman on the engine cover of the cars and drive back to the city before it melts.

The Canary Island culture is somewhat different from that of Iberian Spain, here we only have one language Castellano, or Spanish, there they have several. I find that here the people are warmer, friendlier there is always a smile ready, they love to joke and laugh, usually at my expense. The cuisine is also different, influenced by the products produced locally, and the fish that are caught in the waters locally. There is also a a South American influence both in language culture and cuisine. I find the main pastimes are eating and drinking, and of course football and basketball.

The climate is very agreeable we neither have heating nor air conditioning, I do have a pullover for winter and a straw hat for summer.

On Gran Canaria in the south of the island you could perhaps get by with just English, but if you try to learn the language, so many new doors will open, and it is not a difficult language to learn.

For your vacations visit the other islands they are all different, the link below shows photographs of where I live.
It sounds incredible! Your description has pretty much sold me on the idea I do plan on trying to learn Spanish, but I have a really hard time learning other languages. Hopefully it is just that I've never had a good reason to try very hard; from what I hear it is much easier when you are surrounded by the language, so maybe I will actually succeed

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Old 14th December 2011, 06:05 PM
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A couple of thoughts:
Has your five year old ever been in school/pre-school? (You don't have to answer this, but...) How are her reading and writing skills?

A very large percentage of Spanish kids start pre-school at age 3 or 4, which means that by 4 years they're holding pencils and crayons fairly well and can color and are beginning to write. By 5 years, the vast majority can write their names well and copy words. These are benchmarks you might want to have in mind if she goes into the Spanish public system.

How old will she be next September? I wonder if she'd go into 5 years infantil (pre-school) or 1st primaria (elementary school).

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Old 14th December 2011, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halydia
A couple of thoughts:
Has your five year old ever been in school/pre-school? (You don't have to answer this, but...) How are her reading and writing skills?

A very large percentage of Spanish kids start pre-school at age 3 or 4, which means that by 4 years they're holding pencils and crayons fairly well and can color and are beginning to write. By 5 years, the vast majority can write their names well and copy words. These are benchmarks you might want to have in mind if she goes into the Spanish public system.

How old will she be next September? I wonder if she'd go into 5 years infantil (pre-school) or 1st primaria (elementary school).
Good things to think about! She started preschool at 3 years old, and is in a 4 year old class right now. She can write her name, as well as the names of all our family members, and knows her letters and their sounds, and her numbers up to at least 30. All of this is in English, however, and I assume the letters have different sounds in Spanish (and I think there are a few more, correct?).

It sounds like the school system has a similar structure to the ones here in canada. I've been looking online at Canterbury school in Las Palmas (sorry, I can't post links yet since I'm a new member). It is a British school, but apparently it is designed so that the students are fluent in Spanish and are able to seamlessly transfer into the Spanish school, if desired. It looks like it might be a good compromise. My daughter looked at the pictures of the school with me, and has very excitedly asked if she can go there

She will just turn 5 in May (my younger one will be 2 in May), so I guess she would be going to the 5 years infantil class.

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Old 14th December 2011, 06:45 PM
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Awesome, she sounds like she's all set then! I'm sorry to ask such personal information, it's just something I've seen with new arrivals here.

I truly think the youngest kids can survive going into the Spanish system, especially in infantil. But, if you're willing to put her into private school that's great too!

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