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Thinking of moving from Spain to the UK

Thinking of moving from Spain to the UK

Old Aug 16th 2006, 3:40 pm
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Default Thinking of moving from Spain to the UK

Hi everyone. I've been living in Barcelona for a few years and I have the opportunity to move to the UK near Coventry. I'm neither British nor Spanish but I'm fluent in both languages. I've lived in the US several years but never in the UK. This would be a long term move, possibly permanent. As an alternative I'm also considering going back to the US. I'm in my early thirties and my main reason for wanting to move would be professional (more dynamic job environment, better pay, efforts will be rewarded, less blatant cronyism, at least in my line of work). I really don't see a bright future professionally and financially in Spain, although I do like living here. I don't really know the UK, and some things that concern me are crime and yob culture. I hope to get some feedback from Brits living in Spain.
What the top 3 positives and negatives of living in the UK compared to Spain? (apart from the sun, salary, and housing prices). Thanks.
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Old Aug 16th 2006, 4:11 pm
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Default Re: Thinking of moving from Spain to the UK

Originally Posted by DrStarsky
Hi everyone. I've been living in Barcelona for a few years and I have the opportunity to move to the UK near Coventry. I'm neither British nor Spanish but I'm fluent in both languages. I've lived in the US several years but never in the UK. This would be a long term move, possibly permanent. As an alternative I'm also considering going back to the US. I'm in my early thirties and my main reason for wanting to move would be professional (more dynamic job environment, better pay, efforts will be rewarded, less blatant cronyism, at least in my line of work). I really don't see a bright future professionally and financially in Spain, although I do like living here. I don't really know the UK, and some things that concern me are crime and yob culture. I hope to get some feedback from Brits living in Spain.
What the top 3 positives and negatives of living in the UK compared to Spain? (apart from the sun, salary, and housing prices). Thanks.
Hello Dr S

Well I live just South of the City of Coventry. Sorry to people who hail from there, but in my humble opinion its a horrible place. Thats an opinion shared by many I know around here, and we all avoid the place like the plague.

Having said that the surrounding areas are very nice, and if you only have to go there to work then its not going to be the end of the world.

Although I love this country as regards the way of life and the countryside itself, I have to say that year by year I enjoy living here less and less. Yes, thats partly because of the yob culture, nanny state and crackpot immigration policy. And thats on top of the rip off culture that seems to be prevalant here now. You'll probably earn more for sure as opposed to Spain, but you'll pay 30% more for your groceries (against rural Spain), you'll pay up to £1 a litre for your petrol, £200,000 ish for a decent modest house, and on that house you'll pay £1500 a year to the local council.

On the plus side the countryside is stunning, the villages are really pretty, theres loads of history locally such as Stratford (Shakespeare), Warwick Castle, Coventry Cathedral and the nightlife of Birmingham with its theatres, cinemas and restaurants is only a short drive away. The NHS is free, but as I'm not sure of your status I'm not sure if it would be for you.

Having said that I've spent 52 years here and survived, but I can assure you that its not the country it used to be.

Good luck in your decision .... hope its the right one for you!
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Old Aug 16th 2006, 7:22 pm
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Default Re: Thinking of moving from Spain to the UK

Positives of living in UK:

1. You don't have to deal with Telefonica
2. You don't have to talk to your neighbours
3. Everyone speaks English

Negatives of living in UK:

1. Traffic...and lots of it
2. Tony Blair
3. You HAVE to start work on time
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Old Aug 16th 2006, 8:34 pm
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Default Re: Thinking of moving from Spain to the UK

You don't have to live IN Coventry.... the countryside around is very beautiful. Yes Britain has changed but so has the rest of the world. You don't say what your profession is... I would give it a try. It will be very different, but thousands of foreigners come to live here each year, and before anyone starts, they are not just here for the welfare state and benefits. They actually enjoy living and working in Britain. I live in London and am often frustrated by the traffic, the congestion charge that only benefits those living in the centre, and the lack of manners and concern for surroundings shown by many. But I have seen graffitti in Spain, and I am sure other capital cities have similar problems. Non Brits living here love the place for being the most cosmopolitan and multi cultural city in the world.
I believe Brits who prefer the Britain that existed in the 1950's often move to Gibraltar.
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Old Aug 16th 2006, 8:49 pm
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Default Re: Thinking of moving from Spain to the UK

You couldn't pay me enough to live in America. It's bland, it's boring, and even the moneys ugly. To me the big appeal, and the big negative, is the variety, travel a few hours and its a new language, culture. America is all about strip malls Mc Mansions fast food and the laziest people in the world, why walk the mall when you can rent a scooter!

As well Americans work way too hard and take too few holidays, but on the positive they make they're tops in entertainment! No one makes better movies. I would be lost with American TV shows and movies.

The biggest negative I find to living in Europe is every time you move you need to learn a new language a new culture and new legal system. For example everyone (at least in British TV land) wants to live in rural France, but unless you speak fluent french forget it. In America its only English.
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Old Aug 16th 2006, 11:19 pm
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Default Re: Thinking of moving from Spain to the UK

ive just 3 words to say....DONT DO IT.....

For me that sums it up....money is not everything,,and quality of life is...

thats my opinion....goodluck anyway
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Old Aug 17th 2006, 12:16 pm
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Default Re: Thinking of moving from Spain to the UK

Thanks all for the input, and let me answer to some of the points raised.

Mitzyboy, indeed I'm considering the area just south of Coventry, perhaps Leamington/Warwick. I wonder if you can elaborate as to what makes Coventry such a horrible place. Concerning the price of houses. Rural Spain may be cheap, but in Barcelona with £200,000 you buy a crappy 60 square meters flat in an average
neighborhood. Even in towns around Barcelona prices are significantly higher than what I saw in Leamington/Warwick. Prices here tripled over the last 7 years. The average salary is less than 2000 euros/month. Most people live with their parents until they marry, as with one salary it's impossible to buy anything. Then they sign a 50-year mortgage and put almost an entire salary into the monthly payments.

I gather from looking some of your posts that you are moving to Spain? I don't know if you'll have to work here, but in my view professionally Spain is a dump. I'm fed up with the lack of professionalism, people not showing up in time, not taking their job seriously, and the low standards in the way things are done. It is a very provincial and
parochial place, even Barcelona. That said, if I was older and had enough money to retire and buy property in Spain, I'd probably prefer Spain over the UK. People here are friendly and relaxed, you can walk everywhere at night without fearing of being
mugged, and it's sunny most of the time.

Concerning immigration, it's a relatively new phenomenon in Spain compared to the UK, but is growing very rapidly. In Catalunya alread 12% of the population is immigrant.

Poollounger, you are quite right that every place has its problems. Are you living in Spain? In the cities it's common to see large agglomerations of young people drinking and smoking drugs, but in general people are not confrontational. As I said, one of negatives I see in the UK is violent drunken behaviour. Could my perspective be skewed from the loads of drunken and loud British tourists I see in Barcelona?
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Old Aug 17th 2006, 5:50 pm
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Default Re: Thinking of moving from Spain to the UK

Originally Posted by DrStarsky
Thanks all for the input, and let me answer to some of the points raised.

Mitzyboy, indeed I'm considering the area just south of Coventry, perhaps Leamington/Warwick. I wonder if you can elaborate as to what makes Coventry such a horrible place. Concerning the price of houses. Rural Spain may be cheap, but in Barcelona with £200,000 you buy a crappy 60 square meters flat in an average
neighborhood. Even in towns around Barcelona prices are significantly higher than what I saw in Leamington/Warwick. Prices here tripled over the last 7 years. The average salary is less than 2000 euros/month. Most people live with their parents until they marry, as with one salary it's impossible to buy anything. Then they sign a 50-year mortgage and put almost an entire salary into the monthly payments.

I gather from looking some of your posts that you are moving to Spain? I don't know if you'll have to work here, but in my view professionally Spain is a dump. I'm fed up with the lack of professionalism, people not showing up in time, not taking their job seriously, and the low standards in the way things are done. It is a very provincial and
parochial place, even Barcelona. That said, if I was older and had enough money to retire and buy property in Spain, I'd probably prefer Spain over the UK. People here are friendly and relaxed, you can walk everywhere at night without fearing of being
mugged, and it's sunny most of the time.

Concerning immigration, it's a relatively new phenomenon in Spain compared to the UK, but is growing very rapidly. In Catalunya alread 12% of the population is immigrant.

Poollounger, you are quite right that every place has its problems. Are you living in Spain? In the cities it's common to see large agglomerations of young people drinking and smoking drugs, but in general people are not confrontational. As I said, one of negatives I see in the UK is violent drunken behaviour. Could my perspective be skewed from the loads of drunken and loud British tourists I see in Barcelona?
I think that like anywhere you can see good and bad, it all depends what you are looking for in life and at what stage in life you are at. For example - London, not that I know a lot but the benefits are the theatres, the museums, the cosmopilitan atmosphere, the buzz, and my God the shopping! The downside is obvious and I am sure someone will list it quite vehemently. Spain is obviously a more relaxed way of life and with less fear of violence, but, guys you still get violence in Spain. Just pick up a Spanish newspaper. My feeling is that nowhere you move to is a prison, if you are not happy then you can change but if you don´t try, hey you will never know. My daughter went to Sydney and I thought she would stay there but no after a year she wanted to come back to the West Country. One of the reasons she gave was that she wanted to be with people who really knew her like her family and friends whom she had known for years. I can understand that, I only live in Spain but I do miss those friends who know me inside and out, warts and all and whom you can pick up the phone too and say, "Can I come round for a chat".
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Old Aug 17th 2006, 6:54 pm
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Default Re: Thinking of moving from Spain to the UK

Originally Posted by DrStarsky
Thanks all for the input, and let me answer to some of the points raised.

Mitzyboy, indeed I'm considering the area just south of Coventry, perhaps Leamington/Warwick. I wonder if you can elaborate as to what makes Coventry such a horrible place. Concerning the price of houses. Rural Spain may be cheap, but in Barcelona with £200,000 you buy a crappy 60 square meters flat in an average
neighborhood. Even in towns around Barcelona prices are significantly higher than what I saw in Leamington/Warwick. Prices here tripled over the last 7 years. The average salary is less than 2000 euros/month. Most people live with their parents until they marry, as with one salary it's impossible to buy anything. Then they sign a 50-year mortgage and put almost an entire salary into the monthly payments.

I gather from looking some of your posts that you are moving to Spain? I don't know if you'll have to work here, but in my view professionally Spain is a dump. I'm fed up with the lack of professionalism, people not showing up in time, not taking their job seriously, and the low standards in the way things are done. It is a very provincial and
parochial place, even Barcelona. That said, if I was older and had enough money to retire and buy property in Spain, I'd probably prefer Spain over the UK. People here are friendly and relaxed, you can walk everywhere at night without fearing of being
mugged, and it's sunny most of the time.

Concerning immigration, it's a relatively new phenomenon in Spain compared to the UK, but is growing very rapidly. In Catalunya alread 12% of the population is immigrant.

Poollounger, you are quite right that every place has its problems. Are you living in Spain? In the cities it's common to see large agglomerations of young people drinking and smoking drugs, but in general people are not confrontational. As I said, one of negatives I see in the UK is violent drunken behaviour. Could my perspective be skewed from the loads of drunken and loud British tourists I see in Barcelona?
No, when I come to Spain I won't have to work ..... and I think thats always the best situation to be in as from what I've seen the employment situation is not easy. I wouldn't feel so relaxed about it if I had to find work.

I actually live in a small village just outside Leamington Spa. You may not know that Leamington is one of the most expensive places in the UK to live property wise, but property is a little cheaper out in the country.

Coventry ... where do I start (and again apologies to coventryites). Its dull, its dirty, its depressing and its dead. So many people I have met have said what a horrible feel the place has to it, if you know what I mean. A lot of the architecture is what I call prefab 60's (those pannelled buildings) and although I know they are attempting to brighten it up its going to take time. A group of friends went there for a night out earlier in the week, and they said there was no life in the town at all. A lot of the clubs were / have closed down, and although that might not be your bag, its indicative of the situation there. Peugeot is closing with the loss of many jobs also.

But as I said, if you only have to work there then thats fine. Try the villages of Bishops Itchington (I just sold my 4 bed detatched cottage here for £275k to give you an idea), Long Itchington, Harbury, Fenny Compton, & Marton - they are all within easy reach of Coventry, but the countryside around here is lovely and you're 30 mins from the Cotswolds. Warwick & Leamington are well overpriced - When we looked 3 years ago they were looking at £350k for a town house in Leamington. So although its nice to be in the town, you'll pay a premium for it.

Let me know if you want any info, although time is tight as I will be moving out of here on Saturday and will have limited internet access until we get over to Spain late September.
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Old Aug 17th 2006, 6:57 pm
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Default Re: Thinking of moving from Spain to the UK

Starsky be warned... I am posting this having just consumed a bottle of wine with my neighbour who was ostensibly working from home, and this was at 4 in the afternoon. It was perfect.
I live in south London and work in Canary Wharf. The suits at CW are often loud mouthed and violent especially on a Friday night, but it is suppressed to keep up the squeaky clean image of the place. So much of the violence in Britain and by Britons is subject to media exposure. I have walked around the streets of London at night without feeling threatened, and at the time when I worked with Americans who had lived in New York they always said that London was docile and safe in comparison. Indeed I lived on the edge of Brixton for a while and had a blonde Austrian lodger who went out late in mini skirts and black stockings without harm, and she always said it was down to attitude. I think most British city centres are anaemic and characterless...chain stores and chain pubs serving Brake Bros mass produced food, perhaps this is what contributes to the aggression??? Cities I would choose to live in are few..along the lines of Cheltenham, Edinburgh, Bath etc. Coventry through no fault of it's own is not my choice, but it was subject to one of the most ferocious bombings of WW2. The Cathedral is a haven of peace and very moving.
The British countryside though no Utopia is another thing altogether. Rural Essex is as charming as industrial Essex is brutal. The question you have posed is almost unanswerable, and for you is subject to influences such as the stage of life you are at and how you respond to landscape, food and so many other factors. To try and give you a decisive answer we would need to know more about yourself. As you say there are many places in the world one could retire to but earning a living in one is something else altogether.
If you are going to earn a large income, live in a beautiful house in a beautiful location, and meet people who you have a rapport with, then you may be very happy here indeed. If you have children then whether they are to be immune from loutish behaviour is mostly down to you and not external influences. And hope that Margret Becket, if anyone, replaces Tony Blair,and David Cameron fades away into obscurity taking Ken Livingstone with him.
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Old Aug 17th 2006, 7:04 pm
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Default Re: Thinking of moving from Spain to the UK

Originally Posted by poollounger
And hope that Margret Becket, if anyone, replaces Tony Blair,Livingstone with him.
That'll be tax free incentives for Caravan Owners then
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Old Aug 17th 2006, 7:38 pm
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Thumbs up Re: Thinking of moving from Spain to the UK

Originally Posted by Mitzyboy
That'll be tax free incentives for Caravan Owners then
well t you all on life style UK or Spain
i have lived in Spain for 6 months in a rural village one other English couple in the village and i can tell you .......... i was a teacher outside Coventry and lived in rural Stratford ......Spain is a million times better .......... people are real .... when i arrived i spoke no spanish ....in the 6 months we have been here i can get buy ..and i have a lot of spanish friends we go out every weekend in a crowed of spanish we are the only English couple we get buy on the whole by talking Spanglish and well we have some of the most stimulated conversations ,,,,,,,,,,, i lived in the same house for 10 years and i knew nobody and i am a sociable person..... i cant leave the house here with out being asked am ok ....can i help you .....you want a drink come in for food ....we have food parcels on a regular basses most of our neighbours have campo and grow organic food ..........i would not go back for a million pounds you can keep rip of Britain and its culture leave me in Spain ....we dont even miss English TV ..........and you can buy tea bags even where we live and we live in the wilds ..................
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Old Aug 17th 2006, 8:14 pm
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Default Re: Thinking of moving from Spain to the UK

Originally Posted by poollounger
Starsky be warned... I am posting this having just consumed a bottle of wine with my neighbour who was ostensibly working from home, and this was at 4 in the afternoon. It was perfect.
I live in south London and work in Canary Wharf. The suits at CW are often loud mouthed and violent especially on a Friday night, but it is suppressed to keep up the squeaky clean image of the place. So much of the violence in Britain and by Britons is subject to media exposure. I have walked around the streets of London at night without feeling threatened, and at the time when I worked with Americans who had lived in New York they always said that London was docile and safe in comparison. Indeed I lived on the edge of Brixton for a while and had a blonde Austrian lodger who went out late in mini skirts and black stockings without harm, and she always said it was down to attitude. I think most British city centres are anaemic and characterless...chain stores and chain pubs serving Brake Bros mass produced food, perhaps this is what contributes to the aggression??? Cities I would choose to live in are few..along the lines of Cheltenham, Edinburgh, Bath etc. Coventry through no fault of it's own is not my choice, but it was subject to one of the most ferocious bombings of WW2. The Cathedral is a haven of peace and very moving.
The British countryside though no Utopia is another thing altogether. Rural Essex is as charming as industrial Essex is brutal. The question you have posed is almost unanswerable, and for you is subject to influences such as the stage of life you are at and how you respond to landscape, food and so many other factors. To try and give you a decisive answer we would need to know more about yourself. As you say there are many places in the world one could retire to but earning a living in one is something else altogether.
If you are going to earn a large income, live in a beautiful house in a beautiful location, and meet people who you have a rapport with, then you may be very happy here indeed. If you have children then whether they are to be immune from loutish behaviour is mostly down to you and not external influences. And hope that Margret Becket, if anyone, replaces Tony Blair,and David Cameron fades away into obscurity taking Ken Livingstone with him.
Poolounger, that´s very interesting. Why Margaret Becket?
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Old Aug 17th 2006, 11:18 pm
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Default Re: Thinking of moving from Spain to the UK

Originally Posted by gallerie9
well t you all on life style UK or Spain
i have lived in Spain for 6 months in a rural village one other English couple in the village and i can tell you .......... i was a teacher outside Coventry and lived in rural Stratford ......Spain is a million times better .......... people are real .... when i arrived i spoke no spanish ....in the 6 months we have been here i can get buy ..and i have a lot of spanish friends we go out every weekend in a crowed of spanish we are the only English couple we get buy on the whole by talking Spanglish and well we have some of the most stimulated conversations ,,,,,,,,,,, i lived in the same house for 10 years and i knew nobody and i am a sociable person..... i cant leave the house here with out being asked am ok ....can i help you .....you want a drink come in for food ....we have food parcels on a regular basses most of our neighbours have campo and grow organic food ..........i would not go back for a million pounds you can keep rip of Britain and its culture leave me in Spain ....we dont even miss English TV ..........and you can buy tea bags even where we live and we live in the wilds ..................
No offence but 'a teacher', please tell me that is a joke with the grammar and spelling in this post?

In response to the thread, I live in the North of England, everywhere you look can be classed as rural and many 'southerners' are moving to the North mainly due to property prices etc. the North of England is not what you see in Coronation Street, well parts are but have been upgraded, nor is it the 'ee by gum' farmers, actually the farmers are far richer than the average person in the North, what you will find is something that is lacking in the South, community and friendship, we actually speak to each other and look after each other. I would really like to move for the many reasons already highlighted in this thread and others, unless you live here you cannot comment, the same for those of us who live in the UK cannot comment on Spain.

I live on the west coast, motorway 2mins away so the main cities are literally on the doorstep and far easier to get to and take less time than commuting within London. i.e. Manchester 40 mins, Liverpool 40 mins, etc Unfortunately much that has been said about the immigrant explosion and violence is very very true. Please do not misinterpret that, we are a very small island, we cannot keep taking more and more people here, it just isn't possible and it is creating 'hotspots' and it is only a matter of time before that 'timebomb' explodes.

As a country we do tend to look after just about 'everyone' but that practice cannot carry on and something does need to be done, we cannot do it!

Having said that if you can put up with all your salary being eaten up with various bills and taxes, you will be OK. If you like spending 3/4 of your life damp, you will be OK. Having said that the posts I read on here show that even though people have moved continents, their friends will always be their friends back here in the U.K. I have sold myself now, this is home!

Come on over, you 'might' like it! lol


Last edited by Lorna1234; Aug 18th 2006 at 12:23 am.
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Old Aug 17th 2006, 11:21 pm
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Default Re: Thinking of moving from Spain to the UK

Originally Posted by glynis
Poolounger, that´s very interesting. Why Margaret Becket?
Cause we need another woman PM to erase the memory of Mrs Thatcher....
Just kidding...I don't know....just some kind of gut instinct I suppose....I like her dignity and quiet confidence...she was my favourite at the time of the leadership contest. I am not anti Blair and although I disagreed with the Iraq war I doubt we will ever know the real reason why he backed Bush. Gordon Brown doesn't convince me....I always feel that everything is for effect. Sadly in modern politics it's the TV image that influences most of us.
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