Where to move to Andalucia for 6 months?

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Ksdad
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Where to move to Andalucia for 6 months?

Postby Ksdad » Mon Jul 31, 2017 10:41 pm

First post - long-time lurker on the forum. My wife and I are planning to move to Andalucia with our then 13-year-old boy in summer 2018 for 6 months, half a school year. We are US Midwesterners, and our purpose is to expose our boy to a different culture - he will go to a local school. We are trying to choose where to move to, based on (1) charm and culture, (b) schools (welcoming is more important than academic), (c) access to health facilities (our boy has T1 diabetes) and (d) surroundings. Of course, safety is a concern too, but I figure, possibly wrongly, that it should not be an issue anywhere as long as we pick reasonable neighborhoods.

So far we have been considering Sevilla, Cordoba and Granada. We have lived in Spain before (a year in Barcelona) and know all three cities slightly, from spending a few days' vacation. What we like about Sevilla is that, to us, it seems that the cultural life offers more -- but, to us, the city did not have the charm of Granada (a lot of it appeared very modern). We loved Granada, but are wondering how it would feel to live there for half a year.

As for schools, we don't really care what our boy will learn at school -- what is more important to us is if he'll be welcome! If he comes home with a good knowledge of Spanish that is enough for us, as long as he is not miserable having to go to school every morning. As our primary goal is to expose him to other cultures, we expect to have him go to a local Spanish school if we succeed in registering him.

Could you give us your thoughts on the different possibilities for the right city, given what we are looking for? We are very open to considering other cities in Andalucia as well if our first pass analysis missed the mark. Many thanks in advance for your input!

Btw, I have searched the forum extensively already. I have lurked here for a long time.

BENIDORM
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Re: Where to move to Andalucia for 6 months?

Postby BENIDORM » Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:19 pm

Ksdad,
Welcome to the forum and hands across the ocean and all that.... :wave:

I can understand your reasons and would suggest that you try a small town rather than a city, there are many suitable places throughout Granada Province.
For instance we live in a large village/small town of about 3,000 population,we have a medical center and only about 10 minutes to a city.
Your son would would have to attend the school in the next bigger town, the children go by bus from here, but having met many of the children here I know he would be made very welcome and would have instant friends.
Anyway I'm sure that other members will be along soon with good advice.
Good Luck,
Regards,
Gordon

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costakid
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Re: Where to move to Andalucia for 6 months?

Postby costakid » Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:05 am

Welcome to the mad house I mean forum.

Does your son Speak Spanish? If not he will not be allowed into a state (free) school. That means an international school where you pay.
Bear in mind the heat inland during the summer months. I was in Madrid last week on business and it was 40 plus all the way back down to Malaga. Got to the coast and it was 28 degrees. I would not want to live in Seville or Granada in the summer.

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Re: Where to move to Andalucia for 6 months?

Postby El Cid » Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:40 am

Health cover should not be an issue as I assume you will have some form of health insurance and there are loads of private facilities all over. I agree with Costakid, a private international school is the only option. As you are not going to be resident, he could not go to a state school anyway.

Sid

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Re: Where to move to Andalucia for 6 months?

Postby BENIDORM » Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:59 am

With regard to the schooling issue, I was under the impression that if they signed on the 'padron' the child would be entitled to attend a state ( public ) school.
I believe it is or was an obligation of the Government to provide education for children aged between 6-16, maybe I'm wrong, but I've never known of a 'foreign ' child being refused schooling, because of language.
I would suggest that Ksdad contacts the Town Hall of the area they choose to live in to clarify the situation.
Normally a local teacher attends our house each week, we provide free English conversation classes, but she is away for August, so can't make any enquiries at the moment.

Regards,
Gordon

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Re: Where to move to Andalucia for 6 months?

Postby El Cid » Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:05 am

You are only allowed to sign on the padron if you have your permanent residence in the area. Someone on a six month holiday would be stretching it to claim that a house rented for a short period was their permanent residence especially as they have no intention to stay permanently.

As a non EU visitor I would assume they are in possession of a limited term visitor visa so claiming the temporary residence to be a permanent home is highly unlikely. If they have a full residency visa it would probably be possible.

Coming for 6 months in the summer is not exactly half the school year as 3 months of that is holiday. It would also be pointless having 6 weeks at the end of the summer term and only 6 weeks at the start of the autumn term. The amount of Spanish a 13 year old would learn in that time would be very limited. I would let him enjoy a 6 month holiday!

Sid

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Re: Where to move to Andalucia for 6 months?

Postby BENIDORM » Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:36 am

We recently had a Bolivian family living in the village and they were only in the country for 6 months, their 2 children attended the local school.

So perhaps different town halls have different interpretation of the rules ?
I also know some non-resident expats who are on the padron..and lots of permanent expats who are not !

Regards,
Gordon

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Re: Where to move to Andalucia for 6 months?

Postby El Cid » Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:48 am

They do. Some of the smaller places encourage non residents to sign on as it affects the subsidies they get from central government. The problem is that the Padron is an ongoing census and lots of statistics about population etc. are derived from it. If a council makes up their own rules all the figures get distorted.

Sid

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Re: Where to move to Andalucia for 6 months?

Postby costakid » Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:58 am

But a 13 year old can only go to a Spanish school if he speaks Spanish. Over 7 they must speak the language or its an international school.

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Re: Where to move to Andalucia for 6 months?

Postby Ksdad » Tue Aug 01, 2017 4:47 pm

Thanks very much for all the responses so far! I notice most feedback focused on the school system. On that, to reply to some of the questions in the thread:

* we are not coming for summer, but July-Jan, so for a whole 1/2 school year;

* we hold dual EU passports and have no problem legally relocating to Spain;

* we also have private health insurance with no concerns in paying for health care;

* when we lived in Barcelona, our then 11-year-old (he is now in college) was able to attend local school there, although he did not speak the language to start with;

* our present 12-year-old speaks some limited Spanish, although not enough right now to be able to understand idiomatic conversations fluently;

* we will attempt to establish residence in Spain (as we did when we lived in Barcelona) and sign on the Padron;

* we are not 100% sure we'll be successful in having him attend a local school, but we will try hard.

What feedback can you give us on location? What do you think are pros and cons? Do you have other suggestions or ideas, or different points of view?

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Re: Where to move to Andalucia for 6 months?

Postby El Cid » Tue Aug 01, 2017 4:55 pm

Ksdad wrote:
* we are not coming for summer, but July-Jan, so for a whole 1/2 school year;

Hardly a whole half year as that is one term from September to December.

* we hold dual EU passports and have no problem legally relocating to Spain;

It would have helped enormously if you had mentioned that up front.


Sid

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Re: Where to move to Andalucia for 6 months?

Postby Ksdad » Tue Aug 01, 2017 5:20 pm

El Cid wrote:
Ksdad wrote:
* we hold dual EU passports and have no problem legally relocating to Spain;

It would have helped enormously if you had mentioned that up front.


Sid

I did not realize it had an impact on where we should be relocating, which is the focus of my question. I will gladly provide whatever additional info you feel is necessary to help evaluate appropriate locations for our relocation. Thanks for your help!

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Re: Where to move to Andalucia for 6 months?

Postby BENIDORM » Tue Aug 01, 2017 5:29 pm

Ksdad,
I guessed that you might have some links already in Europe , most US expats that I've met in Spain seem to have links to UK or other European countries.
So what I suggested initially could work for you.
As for more suggestions as to where to live I'm with Sid when he suggests that you give more information.
Are you hoping to work while you are in Spain or are you just going to have a laid back vacation ?
There are many houses to rent and quite cheap if you keep clear of the hotspots but it really depends if you want to be in the 'thick of it'.
Maybe if you can supply a little more info about yourselves you will get more helpful responses...
Good Luck...
Regards,
Gordon

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Re: Where to move to Andalucia for 6 months?

Postby El Cid » Tue Aug 01, 2017 6:00 pm

Granada is a great place but it will be stinking hot in July and freezing in December.

You could try the Granada coast where we live. A more sensible climate but only 45 minutes from Granada on the new motorway. It’s about an hour to Malaga or less on a good day. Almuñécar has an excellent international school and is much less touristy in that period except August, and very Spanish, although there is a reasonable international population. There are a number of excellent restaurants in the area, usually frequented by the Spanish rather than tourists, serving excellent Spanish food.

It’s a beautiful area and close to places like the Sierra Nevada and Alpujarras. The coastline is one of the best in Spain with a number of unspoilt bays which are accessible. Further west, past Nerja there is nothing of interest until well past Gibraltar.

There are plenty of rental properties and there are a couple of locations which have superb villas, as good as anything along the coast - not cheap though.

Healthcare is pretty good with a huge health centre (about 15 doctors every day) and a very good hospital in Motril 20 minutes away. The hospital in Granada is 45 minutes away and is one of the best in Spain having been completed only a few months ago. It makes anything in Malaga province look Victorian!

Ok, that’s enough of the commercial, PM me if you want any further information.

Sid

.

Ksdad
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Re: Where to move to Andalucia for 6 months?

Postby Ksdad » Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:16 pm

BENIDORM wrote:As for more suggestions as to where to live I'm with Sid when he suggests that you give more information.
Are you hoping to work while you are in Spain or are you just going to have a laid back vacation ?
There are many houses to rent and quite cheap if you keep clear of the hotspots but it really depends if you want to be in the 'thick of it'.
Maybe if you can supply a little more info about yourselves you will get more helpful responses...

I'll gladly share more info. My second son, who is 12, was diagnosed a bit over a year ago with T1 Diabetes, an auto-immune disease. Since that time, my wife and I have made changes in our life to focus more on the boy. He spent most of his life growing up in the Midwest, so we decided that we would take him to Europe for a year: now that he is a bit older, he can experience different cultures from the very homogeneous one he belongs to right now.

This will be a year "off" for us, and we do not need to work while we are in Europe -- although we both occasionally consult for US corporations so we do need WiFi where we live. We are outdoorsy people, and ready to travel with very little luggage. We do a lot of walking and biking. We aren't afraid to drive far when we need to -- we camp several weeks every summer and typically cover 5,000-10,000 km in a month of summer travel. We will purchase a car when we arrive for the duration of our stay. We are laid back, good sense of humor, don't dress up often, and enjoy people who are easygoing, friendly and with no facade. We read a lot and most of our friends do too! We love music, the theater, natural landscapes, local foods, old stones, old traditions and new ones too. We like old towns much more than new ones. We are not desperate for cheap accommodations, since we'll only be there for 6 months. As to weather, here in WI we have hot muggy summers (up to mid 30sC, sometimes high 30sC) and cold winters (-20C, sometimes to -30C or lower) so we can deal with weather if we need to -- but of course we like better weather if we can find it :-)

[EDIT] I should add: we are lovers of history, so historical towns and locations, with many older buildings, are very attractive to us. Modern towns don't hold much attraction.

We are primarily looking for experiences for the boy, and us of course: living in a different country, being exposed to a different culture, music, art, daily activities that are different from home etc. We would love to be able to do different activities with him in the evening or week-end, eat out often, go to museums and exhibitions, participate in the local life... We hope that he'll be able to make friends quickly and have a social life. It would be really nice if we make friends too, but we don't really count on it since we only plan on spending half a year in Andalucia.

As for what we must have -- fast access to health care for the boy, and a friendly school nearby. Access to sports facilities would be nice since he must do a lot of sports to keep his disease at bay. Right now, for instance, he swims in a swim team 4x week, plays volleyball for his school team and plays soccer in club. But, if we have to, we'll find ways to exercise together.

We had not considered living in smaller towns or villages (we live in a very small village in the country right now - in fact, our son can canoe to "downtown" 2 miles downstream, i.e. a one-block town with an ice cream shop). But we are open and will consider that as well since it is a suggestion. When we started looking at possibilities, our original thought was that bigger but older cities would be better due to most possible activities and culture -- but maybe we were wrong.

Hope this helps -- let me know if you would like more info about us.

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costakid
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Re: Where to move to Andalucia for 6 months?

Postby costakid » Wed Aug 02, 2017 7:57 am

[quote="El Cid"]Granada is a great place but it will be stinking hot in July and freezing in December.


It’s a beautiful area and close to places like the Sierra Nevada and Alpujarras. The coastline is one of the best in Spain with a number of unspoilt bays which are accessible. Further west, past Nerja there is nothing of interest until well past Gibraltar.

Thats a bit harsh.

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Re: Where to move to Andalucia for 6 months?

Postby El Cid » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:03 am

I was talking from a scenic point of view. The 10km stretch of coastline from La Herradura to Maro is a national park with virtually no buildings on it. I cannot think of a similar stretch on the coast going west. The only downside is that it is best seen from a boat!

Sid

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Re: Where to move to Andalucia for 6 months?

Postby maureenscot » Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:38 pm

Antequera is a lovely town with lovely villages and sights nearby

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Re: Where to move to Andalucia for 6 months?

Postby BENIDORM » Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:08 am

Ksdad....Good Morning,
OK, so I now have a clearer picture of you and your requirements.
I do know Andalucia quite well having visited many places , however having perhaps spent a few days in a place doesn't allow me to be able to give you a clear, concise report, so I will take you on a short walk around my 'village' and introduce you to some of the locals and show you some of what it has to offer.
First the location, the village is about a 10 minutes drive to the city of Loja, the second biggest city in Granada province,you could also walk or cycle along a rather bumpy country track, but quite a pleasant trek.
We have approximately 3,000 inhabitants in the 'village' and there is a good balanced range of ages and people from all walks of life who are friendly and helpful, although they can be quite cautious and private when they have contact with 'foreigners'.
The Town Hall is probably the first 'port of call', and I've always found all of the various departments very helpful and patient with me and they really do try to give answers and solutions to my questions and needs.
We have schools in the village but the older students are taken by bus to the next town, which is about a 15 minute drive, the teachers are caring and considerate and really seem to look after their students in an'old fashioned way' and it shows in the faces of the students...they always seem happy and content...
Most of the students speak some English and French, so a 'foreign child' would be made most welcome.

We have a large swimming pool complex, immaculate and well tended by attendants, there is also a tennis court and other facilities including a bar with a covered terrace, the complex is only open during the summer months.
Also there is a large sports centre, open all year, the local football clubs are trained and well supported here, including youth teams.
We also have a cycling group and many other activities for all ages.
In the village there are numerous shops including mini-supermarkets, butchers, fruit & veg, wet fish, frozen foods ,clothing shops , ironmongers and bazaars, you really don't need to travel out of the village for your daily requirements.
There are many bars, over 20, but a few are seasonal but a good range and even pizza deliveries are on offer from several outlets, the cost of a good cup of coffee usually served with a biscuit costs 1 euro and all drinks, including soft drinks, are served with large tapas and the price varies between 1.40 to 1.80 for most drinks.
There is a medical centre with a permanent residential unit for pensioners and close by a chemist where the staff are well trained and very helpful, we also have a dentist.
In nearby Loja there is a very modern hospital and all of the usual doctors etc.
The buildings in the village range from quite ancient to ultra modern ,the church is several hundred years old, on the site of a mosque and the 'Palace and Watch tower' are of Arabic origin, many centuries old.
We have a recently excavated Roman Villa , now well preserved with a semi-domed modern structure and many ancient sites dotted around the edges of the village including a small natural thermal pool with very ancient fig trees shading the area and nearby a small stream wends its way like a snake around the village.
In the stream ,if you are quiet, you can view the colony of small turtles and small trout at different times of the year.
The whole village is surrounded by olive groves and other fields of asparagus , potatoes and some fruit trees, pomegranate and fig and walnut trees grow wild around the area.
The area has been inhabited for many thousands of years and I have personally found and excavated stone axes and implements and fragmented pottery from all eras.
Circling the village are rolling hills leading to small mountains and in the distance the snow capped peaks of the mountain ranges oversee the whole area ,like watchful elders.

And there ends today's tour of our lovely village...please now form an orderly queue for the toilets and the bar is on the left... :lol:
Regards,
Gordon the Guide...

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Re: Where to move to Andalucia for 6 months?

Postby Wicksey » Thu Aug 03, 2017 11:06 am

El Cid wrote:
Ksdad wrote:
* we are not coming for summer, but July-Jan, so for a whole 1/2 school year;

Hardly a whole half year as that is one term from September to December.

Sid


Is it easy to join the local school system for just the one term as a visitor?

So many lovely historic places to see in Andalucia and with the excellent motorway system between the major cities, it is quite easy to reach them. You will easily fill the time here exploring the cities and towns, plus there's the natural parks and mountains too (even skiing in the Sierra Nevadas) so a lot to see and do.


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