Living in Seville is your article if you plan to move to the south of Spain.
Here you have, an expat interview about how is life like in the city of Flamenco.
From New York City to Seville
My name is Julie and I’m 29 years old and I am from the suburbs of New York City. I work in sales and I’m studying digital marketing. I live in sunny Seville in the south of Spain.
How long have you been living there for? I’ve been living in Spain for 4 years. I moved here in the spring of 2017, after dating my Spanish boyfriend for five years long-distance our dreams to start our lives together finally came true and we finally moved to the same city!
Why move to Seville, Spain
In the spring of 2012, I came to Seville for a semester of study abroad with my university. I was a Spanish minor and I wanted to be able to live in a Spanish-speaking country to bring my studies and language-speaking abilities to the next level. I was also very excited to live abroad and experience a new culture. My college offered programs in Argentina and Spain, in Salamanca or Seville. I had visited Seville for a few days in the past and loved the city. I was thrilled to live and study there for five months.
Not long into the semester, I met and started dating my now-husband, who is from Seville. Meeting him and being able to experience Seville like a true local was amazing. We continued to date long-distance indefinitely when I moved back home to the U.S. and visited each other as often as possible over the next few years.
Living in Seville, Spain: procedures
What did you have to do to move to Seville, did you need any visa?
Because of our situation as a long-term couple, I was able to move to Spain as a “pareja de hecho” with my boyfriend. The translation is something like “official couple” and is the equivalent of a civil union. The process took a few months but it was relatively easy to prove that we were in a long-term relationship and file the necessary paperwork. Once complete, I was able to move to Spain and gain a residency card. This allows me to live and work in Spain for up to five years, with the possibility to reapply in the future.
The experience about living abroad
I think that it’s easy for people to have an oversimplified idea of life abroad before they take the plunge and move. People might think of time spent there on vacation and possibly idealize life as being better or easier in this new place. I dreamed of the sunny days and afternoons full of tapas ahead. And while my life in Spain does have those wonderful things, life abroad is still real life.
Adapting to life in a new country in a different language while being far from friends and family can be hard. Whether it’s getting used to a new job or making friends, it might feel like things are more difficult because you are immersed in another culture and far from home.
Living in Seville, Spain: cultural differences
A cultural difference that I noticed is that Spaniards are very open and I feel they are more direct than Americans. There is less fake small talk and smiles with strangers. At first, this surprised me a bit and four years later the honesty still does shock me sometimes! But this directness has grown on me. I’ve noticed that I’ve also become more assertive. I think it’s a good thing; you have to be confident to navigate life abroad!
I quickly learned that the eating schedule in Spain is unique. Spaniards typically eat lunch at around 2 or 3 pm and dinner at 9 or 10 pm. Visitors or new expats will probably find themselves eating at empty restaurants if they don’t adapt to the dining hours! Similarly, many small shops in Seville close during the siesta hours of 2-5 pm, so it can seem very quiet during that time. In Seville, all shops are closed on Sundays except for bars and restaurants and select small supermarkets. It took me some time to get used to always running errands at the big supermarket or department stores on Saturday.
Over the years I have had my moments of culture shock or loneliness in Spain. Maybe I was frustrated about Spanish grammar or felt lost about a cultural custom. But as I have spent more time in Spain, made more friends, and created a life for myself, those moments are rare. I have found it helps to avoid comparing aspects of life in Spain to that in the U.S. My life in Spain is unique and special in its own ways. Moving abroad has enriched my life and brought me so much joy.
How is working in Spain like?
Some people might be disappointed to hear that there is no siesta break at the majority of jobs here. Nevertheless, I think that there is a healthier work-life balance than what I have seen in the U.S. Workers get significantly more vacation days. There is a minimum of 20 vacation days with 14 national holidays. There is also much more time off for maternity and paternity leave. The current policies allow for 8 months between the mother and father which can be split between the two parents. While it depends on the job, industry, and location, I think in general people in Seville are not as stressed or working crazy hours. Of course, there are tradeoffs as the job market is more limited and the wages are lower.
Did you look for a job before arriving there?
Luckily I was able to line up a job through friends in marketing at a touristic apartment company before arriving in Seville, as I knew that the job industry is pretty competitive in the city. Most Americans or English speakers that I have met in Seville are working as English teachers or tutors. There are a variety of web pages and resources that people can use to find jobs such as LinkedIn and Indeed. People can also book tutoring jobs on sites such as tusclasesparticulares.
Cost of living in Seville, Spain
If you are sharing an apartment with roommates in Seville, I would say that the average cost per person would be around 300-400€. If you have your own apartment without roommates it would be approximately 500-800€.
What is the average amount of money necessary to cover food necessities per month?
If you are a student living on a limited budget and going out very little, the cost for food and necessities could be around 250€ a month. I spend more than this, as I am in a different phase of my life and like to enjoy delicious tapas out!
Recommendations and more
- Anything notable to highlight about the economy or any relevant difference with other countries where you lived before? I find that the tourism and hospitality sectors of Spain are a huge part of the economy. People go out a lot within their home cities, no matter what job they have or how much they make, as prices at tapas bars and restaurants can be very affordable.
- Would you recommend this country to live? Yes, absolutely!! Spain is a country with great weather and food with an affordable cost of living. Every region is so different and special in its own way so it is a wonderful place to travel. The culture is vibrant and the country is full of history. It is a lovely place and I would 100% recommend living abroad here.
- Do you plan to stay there for a long time? That’s a good question! While my husband and I love Spain and living here, we love the U.S. just as much. We both could see ourselves living in each country long-term, so we will likely move to the U.S. at some point.
- And for those that would like to move there, do you have any particular advice? I would advise people to try and get a good foundation in Spanish before moving to Spain. It is very helpful to have a basic vocabulary in the language to be able to communicate with others while running daily errands and getting settled in a new city. Also, be patient while you get adjusted!
Next project or destination
For now, I am just enjoying life in Seville and studying digital marketing. I hope to be able to dedicate more time to my blog and traveling within Europe as things are opening up after the pandemic!
In short if you’re looking for sunny days, tapas and sangria, Sevilla is definitely the best choice you can make!
Interview conducted in July 2021 with @siestaandsangria