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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

Would be interested to hear your views on this one if you've experienced raising a family in both the UK & Spain.

We moved here before we had our children, they're now 1 & a half & 2 & a half. We're moving back to UK in January, because we feel it's the right decision for us as a family. So many people have said to us that it's a much better quality of life for children in Sapin compared to the UK. Is this true in your experience?

Thanks.
CC
 

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Hi,

Would be interested to hear your views on this one if you've experienced raising a family in both the UK & Spain.

We moved here before we had our children, they're now 1 & a half & 2 & a half. We're moving back to UK in January, because we feel it's the right decision for us as a family. So many people have said to us that it's a much better quality of life for children in Sapin compared to the UK. Is this true in your experience?

Thanks.
CC
What an interesting post!!

I felt I had to get my children out of the UK before they got any older, which is why we left when they were 11 and 13. We'd have left before if we could have, but family ties and commitments prevented us from doing that!

The way of life in spain is infinately better for children IMO, the school system is more realistic in Spain, there are so many "PC" issues in Brit schools theses days - for example, when my son started high school before we came to Spain, he complained all the time about how the "naughty kids" ruled. The teacher spent all his time trying unsuccessfully to controll them which meant the "good kids" were left to fend for themselves and learnt nothing (Bear in mind my son is a geek tho lol).

I hate the way that teenagers in the UK hang around in menacing packs, they know noone can touch them.

I had my older kids in the UK and although they've turned out ok now, I went thru hell trying to keep them on the straight and narrow.

The weather spoils most weekend and afterschool activities, there is no space, either mental or physical, and there is no obvious concequenses for actions attitude over there, which I think is important! The PC brigade have ruined any spontaneous or risk taking fun and everything is so cushioned and protected, a good thing maybe??? or maybe not, cos it doesnt teach kids to fend for themselves or face adversity.

And then theres the overall sense of misery in the UK, moaning, complaining, restrictions, rules, regulations, attitudes, everythings grey and dull. In the UK, kids tend to be frowned on - and should be "seen and not heard". In Spain everyone accepts and loves em!

Obviously this is simply my opinion. But my kids are the main reason I came to Spain want to stay here. Life is wonderful for them here - swimming pool in the garden, quad bikes, horseriding, the beach, open spaces to run around in and explore, freedom............ and of course FAMILY VALUES, which have long since gone in the UK, but is still very important in Spain and that breeds respect!

Jo xxx
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
What an interesting post!!

I felt I had to get my children out of the UK before they got any older, which is why we left when they were 11 and 13. We'd have left before if we could have, but family ties and commitments prevented us from doing that!

Jo xxx
Thanks v much for the reply Jo & really interesting to hear your views.
I'm having a wobble at the mo as to whether we're making the right decision for the kids. We made the decision to go back as we felt it would be better for their long term future as we couldn't see their future here. For us, we both feel we'd be happier & have much better prospects in UK, but we want to make the decision that's right for the kids. Obviously, it's crucial to their future wellbeing that their parents are happy, but we're not unhappy here. We have a nice lifestyle, but it's never felt like home.
They both started at the local state nursery in September for a few hours every morning & already our eldest is throwing Spanish words into her sentences. That makes me sad that we're taking the chance of being bilingual from her & her brother at such a young age when they'll pick it up so quickly.
It really is a very tough decision to make & as it gets closer, I'm really starting to wonder what to do!!!
Child care in the UK - so expensive. Here, we pay a tiny amount as it's a state nursery & income related.
Cost of living - not too dissimilar of late as we're paid in Sterling!
Family network - miss friends enormously.
Weather - doesn't bother me too much as I find summers here too much & really hate the rainy season. I miss the seasons though & walks through the New Forest on a cold crisp morning.
What I'd give for a crystal ball!!!!!!!!!!!
x
 

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Take out family ties....missing the UK etc.....then it's a no brainer!

My kids are all grown up....and we spent the last 20 years in Britain trying to find a decent environment for them....without much luck.

We always hated Britain....and had no family or community ties....so Spain has always felt like home to us. Easy transition!

Spain is a better environment for everybody, irrespective of age. But if you're not happy here then you got a tough call to make.
 

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We all have different ideas of whats right and wrong, good or bad for our kids! I dont think there are any better opportunities in the UK than Spain workwise or educationwise, in fact with the way the UK is heading at the mo I cant help thinking that by the time mine are in the workplace, they'd be paying for all this quantitive easing, crisis etc thats been going on! The UK is no longer the place it used to be, infact in the last year, my husband (who commutes there) says its deteriorating beyond words there, both in the infrastructure and peoples attitudes

But who knows, mine may well decide they want to go back to the UK to work or finish their education, but I feel at least I'm showing them that the world is a small place, they'll have the benefit of being slightly bilingual (we havent been here long enough for them to be full) and they can look back on a happy and free childhood!!

However, you have to do what you think is right for your children. My views and opinions arent the same as yours, but that doesnt mean either of us are right or wrong. As long as we all do what we think is best and love them, then wherever they are, they'll be ok!

I'm sure we'll all have moments of wondering "what if" except Xtreme has another opinion and is happy in Spain and has the perfect life for him and thats what matters!

PS, its rainy season every season in the UK LOL!

Jo xxx
 

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My grandchildren went to Spain just over 2 years ago and it has been the best thing for them in that they have a freedom that was not available to them in the UK.
My daughter allows them to cycle into the nearest village... although she follows them in the car, and they are allowed to stay out "playing" for the day, just keeping in touch by text.
They now swim like fish. They are bilingual, they do not sit in front of the t.v/computer/games consul. They are welcomed in every restaurant they visit, they are happy!
 

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In fairness Costa, you're probably not going to hear what you want to hear on a Spanish Expat forum, maybe we'll simply confuse you and give you a bit too much food for thought which, since you've made your decision, you dont want???? - or do you???

However, dont stop posting or anything, but keep focussed on your aims and what you think is best for your family!

Jo xxx
 

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Hi,

Would be interested to hear your views on this one if you've experienced raising a family in both the UK & Spain.

We moved here before we had our children, they're now 1 & a half & 2 & a half. We're moving back to UK in January, because we feel it's the right decision for us as a family. So many people have said to us that it's a much better quality of life for children in Sapin compared to the UK. Is this true in your experience?

Thanks.
CC
Firstly I should point out that I haven't got experience of raising a family in both countries, only in Spain. However, I go to visit my family every year in England. From what I see and what happens in my immediate family I don't miss living in England and I can't see that my daughter's missing a valuble experience by being brought up here and not being raised and educated in England. That's not to say everything's rosy here. Jo mentions her pool which a great asset in the summer. We have a pool we share with the "comunidad" that my daughter has hardly been to for the last two years because she's been totally rejected by the teens in our "urbanización" .Thank goodness she has other friends. There are many problems evident in the Spanish education system, but I can't see that the UK system is any better academically nor socially.
I wonder why you think going back to the UK would be better:confused:? You have jobs here, would you have jobs there? Is it because the way the economic crisis is affecting Spain? It won't last for ever (I hope:)) It's true that with happy parents you have more chance of happy children, but do you have specific reasons for thinking you're going to be better off and therefore happier in the UK?
But I have to agree with jo, perhaps the forum isn't the best place for you to get second opinions...
Good luck and keep posting!
PS have been for a 4 hour walk along a path made by Felipe II in fierce winds this morning. Not the same as a walk in the Forest of Dean, but pretty good anyway!!
 

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Ok, I'm gonna say it, but its one of my greatest regrets that we didnt move to Spain when my two youngest were little cos by now they would be immersed into the Spanish language, culture and system and be totally bilingual! IMO Spanish is a good language to be bilingual in and if its learnt young, without any effort then its a valuable asset when they're grown!

Sorry Costa!! Just my opinion! But as I've said you know whats best for you and your family, so dont be swayed if your heart is set and your mind made up!!

Jo xxx
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks all for your input - really interested to hear what people think on this one.

We think it's the right choice for us, so are heading back. We haven't been able to sell our property, which I think is a good thing in hindsight as it keeps the door open for us if, after a year or so, we really miss the lifestyle we have here. It would make the transition so much easier as we have a fully furnished apartment waiting! However, we're approaching it as a final move, a return home.

You're right Jo - I think Spanish is the best language to have, other than English! I grew up in Germany so learnt the language as a child & it's wonderful to be bilingual. I must admit, I've found Spanish really hard to learn as an adult & although I understand everything, my spoken Spanish is poor, I'm ashamed to say after 4 years. Thankfully, my partner is fluent.

Pesky Wesky - we do work, but we work from home. We've made friends since we've been here, but sadly nearly all of them have returned to their home countries. I don't think it's down to befriending us, but you never know! I'm sure we'd have a much wider social circle if we physically went out to work.

At home, we have friends that we've grown up with & have all had children around the same time as us, so that is something I look forward to - sharing time with friends & all our children.

Thanks again everyone for your thoughts on this, I'm very interested on how it works for others!
xx
 

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Hi there,

I'm new to the forum although I have been lurking for a few weeks now - what an amazing mine of information!!

Wanted to reply to this post as we have had similar concerns moving out (with our 9 and 6 yr old girls). We are headed your way in Jan 2010 and the thing I really had to get my head around is that this move will put their education on a completely different path (they wll go to spanish school) than if they continue to be educated in the UK. The language thing is a bonus too - they speak a bit now due to some intensive coaching, but will hopefully pick it up fast.

We have travelled a lot with them - in Europe when they were little and then in 2007-08 we took them throught Asia, Australasia and the US for a year. We have come to realise through our travels with them that the UK system is not our first choice of education anymore. Aside from the lack of discipline, the controlling ofsted hand stifling all non academic education and the yummy mummy competitive culture, almost every other country we've visited has a secondary 'High school certificate' type qualification with a much broarder subject base than the traditional GCSE format, something I agree with as so few children have found their vocation at the age of 16.

Now that's not to say that settling in Spain will be a walk in the park (or along the beach :)) but the girls education is a very strong reason to move, rather than a mark against. I guess we are hoping that all things considered Spain will be a better place for our kids to have a childhood - they can then decide whether they want to make their life in Spain or the UK.

Hope this helps

Rachel x
 

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Hi there,

I'm new to the forum although I have been lurking for a few weeks now - what an amazing mine of information!!

Wanted to reply to this post as we have had similar concerns moving out (with our 9 and 6 yr old girls). We are headed your way in Jan 2010 and the thing I really had to get my head around is that this move will put their education on a completely different path (they wll go to spanish school) than if they continue to be educated in the UK. The language thing is a bonus too - they speak a bit now due to some intensive coaching, but will hopefully pick it up fast.

We have travelled a lot with them - in Europe when they were little and then in 2007-08 we took them throught Asia, Australasia and the US for a year. We have come to realise through our travels with them that the UK system is not our first choice of education anymore. Aside from the lack of discipline, the controlling ofsted hand stifling all non academic education and the yummy mummy competitive culture, almost every other country we've visited has a secondary 'High school certificate' type qualification with a much broarder subject base than the traditional GCSE format, something I agree with as so few children have found their vocation at the age of 16.

Now that's not to say that settling in Spain will be a walk in the park (or along the beach :)) but the girls education is a very strong reason to move, rather than a mark against. I guess we are hoping that all things considered Spain will be a better place for our kids to have a childhood - they can then decide whether they want to make their life in Spain or the UK.

Hope this helps

Rachel x
Hi Rachel, I totally agree with what you say about the British education system, too busy worrying about ofsted and statistics to worry about education. Also I'm not convinced that GCSEs mean alot anymore. Sadly I put my kids into an international school when we moved here, altho it was the rigtht thing for my son, who was 13 when we arrived, my daughter should have gone into state - well she has now, at 12, she's just started - so far so good??!!????

Glad you've stopped "lurking" and have joined in !!! Welcome!!!

Jo xxx
 

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Thanks all for your input - really interested to hear what people think on this one.

We think it's the right choice for us, so are heading back. We haven't been able to sell our property, which I think is a good thing in hindsight as it keeps the door open for us if, after a year or so, we really miss the lifestyle we have here. It would make the transition so much easier as we have a fully furnished apartment waiting! However, we're approaching it as a final move, a return home.

You're right Jo - I think Spanish is the best language to have, other than English! I grew up in Germany so learnt the language as a child & it's wonderful to be bilingual. I must admit, I've found Spanish really hard to learn as an adult & although I understand everything, my spoken Spanish is poor, I'm ashamed to say after 4 years. Thankfully, my partner is fluent.

Pesky Wesky - we do work, but we work from home. We've made friends since we've been here, but sadly nearly all of them have returned to their home countries. I don't think it's down to befriending us, but you never know! I'm sure we'd have a much wider social circle if we physically went out to work.

At home, we have friends that we've grown up with & have all had children around the same time as us, so that is something I look forward to - sharing time with friends & all our children.

Thanks again everyone for your thoughts on this, I'm very interested on how it works for others!
xx
I hope that when you return to the UK you post on here and let us know how it goes!! It will be interesting to hear the contrasts of the two countries and how you find it. We've recently had to make some decisions, one of which was to go back to the UK which we fought and luckily Spain won!!! So I'm always interested to hear how the "returnees" find it

Jo xxx
 

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Hi,
I think it is a very difficult decision to make, about going back, and quite complex. My son was born here and is very happy in the local state school but I do sometimes wonder in terms of his future prospects, if this is the right place. He's only just started school so I cant really make an informed judgement on the education system here, but I get the impression from most parents that its as good as, or better than, the UK system. Plus I am not totally sure, but I the Bachillerato may now be accepted in some UK universities as I think the International Baccaularate is? My own doubts are mainly about career opportunities, particularly in the part of Spain where I live, as i feel they might be more limited than in the UK. Mind you, thats not going to be for at least another 12 years or so, so who knows.

However, in general I find Spain to be much more child friendly as it were, and better in terms of having an outdoor lifestyle. Even when I was a child, and I went on holiday to Majorca regularly, I really noticed the difference and can still remember feeling much more welcomed here. I dont think I want to go back to the UK but sometimes feel it would be easier if I did, but am also considering in the future moving to a different part of Spain.

Anyway, everyone has to decide what is best for them according to their own personal circumstances. What is right for one family might not be right for another. I would also be interested to know how the OP gets on when they return, and how they feel about it. every time I have gone back to the UK for a visit I have felt that I dont really belong there anymore, which is weird, because sometimes I dont think I belong here either!

Caz.I
 

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Thanks for the welcome Jo!!

Just wanted to add in reply to Caz (and others like the OP who might have english children born in Spain) that everyone we have spoken to has been sure to point out the importance of keeping up their english skills - written literacy and number as well as spoken english. That way we will make sure to keep their options open for the future. As their english tuition/qualifications in Spain will be as a foreign language, we will probably end up having them do english lang and lit (and possibly maths) GCSE's even if it means finding a tutor locally to help.

UCAS (the UK university entrance system) has now accepted the European Baccalaureate - the percentages vary, but even a basic pass on the EB is equivalent to CCC at A'level.

Hope this helps
Rachel x
 

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Sorry my mistake - just checked it again - a 60-69% score on the EB (a pass) is equivalent to 280-300 UCAS points (A'level grades BBC, BBB).
 

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Hi

I am new to this forum too.

I just thought that I would add my experience.

We came to Spain nearly 2 years ago when my children were 9, 4 and 5 and 3 months.

For my youngest , it has been fantastic. They go to a spanish school which has just 12 kids in each class. We live in an area that is totally Spanish. We are the only foreigners. It has been hard more for me than the children, because my spanish is not good.

I have experience of both British primary system and Spanish system. I prefer the Spanish primary system in most aspects. It's not perfect but they are learning lots and my youngest can read both Spanish and English. The teachers are very affectionate with the kids and yet there is discipline too.

What I also like is that all the other parents look out for your kids and treat them with respect and affection. You don't find that in Britian often.

However, there are fewer opportunities for older children. Here is where I feel that Spain lacks prospects. However, I feel that my children have an advantage of knowing Spanish and English.

The only problem we have is that my husband's work. It is not a great wage and probably no chance of payrises. He feels that to get on the next rung of his career he has go work in the UK or Madrid. That may mean we all go back or he commutes. Commuting would also mean that I would be on my own most of the time with 4 young children, plus my spanish is not great at the moment. So this option may not possible. Perhaps if I spoke better Spanish and they were older it would be OK.

When the day comes and we have to go, it will be very sad to leave. We have all made a life here and integrated as best we can, but it hopefully, we will be lucky to find good schools for my children.

We will stay as long as we can. For our children, it is great life.
 

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Hi

I am new to this forum too.

I just thought that I would add my experience.

We came to Spain nearly 2 years ago when my children were 9, 4 and 5 and 3 months.

For my youngest , it has been fantastic. They go to a spanish school which has just 12 kids in each class. We live in an area that is totally Spanish. We are the only foreigners. It has been hard more for me than the children, because my spanish is not good.

I have experience of both British primary system and Spanish system. I prefer the Spanish primary system in most aspects. It's not perfect but they are learning lots and my youngest can read both Spanish and English. The teachers are very affectionate with the kids and yet there is discipline too.

What I also like is that all the other parents look out for your kids and treat them with respect and affection. You don't find that in Britian often.

However, there are fewer opportunities for older children. Here is where I feel that Spain lacks prospects. However, I feel that my children have an advantage of knowing Spanish and English.

The only problem we have is that my husband's work. It is not a great wage and probably no chance of payrises. He feels that to get on the next rung of his career he has go work in the UK or Madrid. That may mean we all go back or he commutes. Commuting would also mean that I would be on my own most of the time with 4 young children, plus my spanish is not great at the moment. So this option may not possible. Perhaps if I spoke better Spanish and they were older it would be OK.

When the day comes and we have to go, it will be very sad to leave. We have all made a life here and integrated as best we can, but it hopefully, we will be lucky to find good schools for my children.

We will stay as long as we can. For our children, it is great life.
Hi Northernlass,
I was interested to hear about your experience. It certainly reflects what many people have talked about on the forum, that in general the children pick up the language quicker and with that have less difficulties in intergrating and "managing" in Spain.
You seem to be happy with your life in Spain. It would be a pity to go back, so perhaps a move within Spain would be possible??
I'm also interested in your comment about there being fewer opportunities for older children. CazI. also refers to something like future opportunities and I think Jo has also said smth like this (??). What are you referring to, in what way are children or young adults limited here compared to UK? Can you explain, please:):confused:
 

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I think my opinion on opportunities in later life for kids in Spain is based on lack of knowledge on my part. I understand what happens in the UK and I know the system there - I dont in Spain and so I feel that in times of job shortages, unemployment and crisis then its better to be "home" in the UK. So my knowledge and comments maybe misplaced and wrong and I do need to investigate it further!! Also for my kids, coming to spain at the ages they did (11 and 13) means that they're never going to be totally bilingual and therefore that may resrict them from going to uni here or gaining employment. I have always assumed that my son would gain A levels here and then go to Uni in the UK, altho he wants to join the RAF. My daughter wants to be a vet or a popstar - she's just started State school (which is still going well BTW!!??!), so I dont know what the plan will be for her, but she's a bright girl (altho a lazy little madam!!!). But I want her to do well and maybe be good enough to go to Spanish College???? If not, UK College?? or Work in either country ???? - I dont know!!

Of course if she becomes a popstar................!!!


Jo xxx


But I could be wrong!! - it wouldnt be the first time!
 

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I think my opinion on opportunities in later life for kids in Spain is based on lack of knowledge on my part. I understand what happens in the UK and I know the system there - I dont in Spain and so I feel that in times of job shortages, unemployment and crisis then its better to be "home" in the UK. So my knowledge and comments maybe misplaced and wrong and I do need to investigate it further!! Also for my kids, coming to spain at the ages they did (11 and 13) means that they're never going to be totally bilingual and therefore that may resrict them from going to uni here or gaining employment. I have always assumed that my son would gain A levels here and then go to Uni in the UK, altho he wants to join the RAF. My daughter wants to be a vet or a popstar - she's just started State school (which is still going well BTW!!??!), so I dont know what the plan will be for her, but she's a bright girl (altho a lazy little madam!!!). But I want her to do well and maybe be good enough to go to Spanish College???? If not, UK College?? or Work in either country ???? - I dont know!!

Of course if she becomes a popstar................!!!


Jo xxx


But I could be wrong!! - it wouldnt be the first time!
OK, I can understand that Jo. The only real insight I have to modern day British education are my 4 nephews, 3 of which left school with no qualifications whatsoever, and what i can pick up from friends and the papers and really, the end results don't seem to be that different, or are they?? I'd really like to hear from other people about this, so please post your comments.:)
Good to hear about your daughter. Don't under estimate your son's language ability, he may be better than you think. Perhaps he only needs a summer job and a romance to bring his Spanish level up :)
 
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