Moving Our Family Overseas: Two Years of Expat Life in Spain

Moving our family overseas was something my husband and I had always talked about. Like, from when I was pregnant with our older child. Yet that vision lingered in the background for most of our kids’ childhoods. Finally, the time had come. Our sons were 8 and 12. Act now on our dream of moving our family overseas, or it might pass us by.

Researching moving our family overseas proved daunting

However, it quickly became apparent we had no idea how to move abroad. My husband had lived in multiple countries before we met, but he’d always gotten work visas. We, on the other hand, were moving just because we wanted to. And, initially anyway, we weren’t totally sure what country we wanted to move to.

Spain was a top contender from the start. I’d fallen in love with the country the one time I’d visited nearly thirty years earlier. But more importantly, our most well articulated concrete goal was to bring our kids home bilingual. Spanish was the most obvious contender for that. Of course, that made us wonder, should we consider South or Central America? Hmmm. No, we want Europe. Spain it is.

The fact remained, however, we had no idea how to move to Spain. We had zero personal contacts to guide us. We knew nothing about how to get Spanish visas. And even less than nothing about education in Spain. But even more fundamental to our quest, Spain is a wondrously diverse nation. Where was the best place in Spain to live as a family?

A Podcast Interview on Moving Our Family Overseas

Admittedly, looking back on our sheer lack of knowledge at the time, it’s hard not to question our sanity. And yet, after more than two years living in Seville, Spain, I know we’re not the only crazy ones. In this interview with BigDreamsBoldMoves podcaster Malia Russell, I speak honestly about our expat life in Spain, including:  

  • The challenges we faced researching how to move to Spain
  • Our crazy journey to get the Spanish Non Lucrative Visa
  • The many problems getting settled in once we got there
  • Education in Spain and issues you might consider for your kids as non native Spanish speakers
  • Getting our kids adjusted
  • Adaptation considerations your kids might face moving to Spain from the US 
  • Additional psychological and logistical advice for expats moving to Spain as a family

Looking back on our journey to move our family to Spain for a year, it’s easy to see where we could have made better choices. But despite the many hardships before, during and even after, the experience changed our lives forever.

Listen to the interview on Spotify and iTunes.