If living in Valencia is in your plans, do not miss the opinions about moving in this city as a British expat.
From London to Valencia
Hello! My name is Sakinah, and I’m from England (born and raised in London and I also lived in Leeds for 15 years so I consider myself an adopted Yorkshire lass!) I’m currently an ESL teacher and I’m also just starting my career as a proofreader. And I live in the beautiful city of Valencia.
Why moving to Valencia
Whenever I visited Spain (Madrid and Barcelona), I always felt like I was at home. So, when I decided to move to another country, Spain was my first choice as I knew I would be happy here. Funnily enough, I had never been to Valencia before I moved here (which my friends thought was crazy) but I had heard good things about it and I thought that since there’s a beach, I’ll be happy! I moved in September 2019 so just under a year and a half.
Living in Valencia opinions about paperworks
My first priority was to find a job before I left England as I didn’t have the savings to support myself. While I was on the training course I became friends with someone who would be working with me, and since he was going to move to Valencia straight away (I had to give 4 weeks notice at my previous job), we decided to live together and so he was able to look at flats for us to rent before I moved over.
Luckily, I moved before Brexit happened so I was still an EU citizen and therefore, I didn’t need a visa. I was able to get my NIE and residencia using my EU passport, work and rental contract. Since I did this before Brexit, my EU worker right’s still remain.
Living in Valencia: opinions about the locals
From my multiple visits to Spain, I already knew some of the cultural differences so they weren’t such a shock to me. I guess the main differences are that Spanish people always seem so happy and relaxed (I think it has to do with the weather!). I’m used to greeting friends with hugs and kisses so I like that I can continue with this here.
How are Valencians people like
I have noticed that time is not really an issue with the Spanish especially Valencians, so I’m often waiting for people to show up which is one of my pet hates haha! I have fully embraced having a siesta especially during the week day when time allows. And I also love how when you order a drink at a bar you get some free tapas as well – that would never happen in England!
Working and living in Spain
As an ESL teacher I don’t follow the typical working hours as I mainly teach adults and so I work around their working hours. A big difference in general I guess, would be around the siesta time. A lot of shops close for a couple of hours at lunchtime including some small supermarkets which doesn’t happen in England.
¿How did you find a job in Valencia? I looked at a lot of websites for vacancies before relocating, especially on LinkedIn and on the website that I did my TEFL course. The company that I work for I actually found through a friend who had previously worked there.
Cost of living in Valencia: opinions
In Valencia, there was a rental price hike over the last few years and so to rent a one-bedroom flat you’re looking at spending around €545 upwards but on average it’s €600 without bills. Most people rent a room in a shared apartment as a cheaper option which you can find at around €250-€300 upwards depending on the area and the size of the room.
What is the average amount of money necessary to cover food necessities per month?
That’s a good question! I’m not a fan of cooking and tend to get JustEat a lot especially as I finish work at 21:15 and am too lazy to cook! I guess on average my weekly shop is around €50, it all depends on what I want to cook that week. I love salmon but it’s expensive to buy in Spain!
Where to live in Valencia and where not
The best areas to live in Valencia in my opinion are: Ciutat Vella, El Carme, El Pilar and El Mercat.
On the contrary, I do not recommend living in Ciutat Jardí and Ayora.
Living in Valencia: opinions
- Anything notable to highlight about the economy or any relevant difference with other countries where you lived before? It’s tricky as I was here for just under six months when we went into a strict lockdown so I haven’t had a chance to fully experience everything that I wanted to. But like everywhere, the economy has definitely suffered due to the pandemic as the hospitality industry is very big in Spain.
- Would you recommend this country to live? Definitely! I absolutely love being here. Wearing sunglasses in December is something that doesn’t happen in England haha!
- Do you plan to stay there for a long time? For sure! I want to stay for as long as I’m able to.
for those that would like to move there, do you have any particular advice?
If you are an EU citizen it’s fairly easy to move here (there is a lot of bureaucracy though). For those outside of the EU, I would recommend researching about visas as depending on the length of stay and what you plan to do (tourist/work) you’ll need certain requirements for that specific visa. If you are planning to work, I also recommend finding a job as having the work contract also makes things a lot easier when sorting all your paperwork.
Last but not least, could you tell us what will be your next project/destination?
For now, I think after this academic year I want to decrease teaching and focus more on proofreading, as I would like to be in more control of my hours. As far as destination is concerned, Valencia will be my base but at some point in the future I would like to travel more.
In short, if what you are looking for is a not very expensive city like Madrid or Barcelona, a beach and a good atmosphere, Valencia is your place!
Interview conducted in Febraury 2021 with @sazzie_r