A Family Move to Marbella: Five Things You Need to Know | Modern Mummy

Thursday, 7 September 2017

A Family Move to Marbella: Five Things You Need to Know

Later this month I'll be making my way to Marbella for the wedding of two of my most favourite people - and I couldn't be more excited! Jetting off for a long weekend in the sun with my girlfriends and a bottle or two of rosé is just what I need right now.

But have you considered moving to Marbella permanently? Then you’re in good company; a recent report from Panorama showed just how popular Marbella properties remain in 2017. But moving to Spain is a huge change, especially if you’re thinking of relocating your family there. Here are five key things you need to know to ensure you’re well prepared for a successful family move to the Costa del Sol. 
  1. A new pace of life
One of the major changes that is noticeable between Spain and the UK is the pace of life. It might seem something simple, but it means that if you want to live as the Spanish do, your whole day will need to be reorganised. Andalusia will likely have a pace of life that is more relaxed and easy-going than you might be used to. Mornings are late and dinners are even later – you’ll often find that locals won’t eat dinner until gone 9pm or even much later into the night. 

The famous siesta is also a part of the way of life here. It’s commonplace to have a two-hour lunch break at the hottest part of the day between 2pm and 4pm, before returning to work until around 8pm. 

  1. Get ready for hotter weather
If you’re used to the British weather and are looking for somewhere that gets plenty of sunshine, Marbella is probably the perfect place. But it’s important to remember that living in the heat all year round is different to taking a holiday in it. Marbella famously gets an average of 320 days of sunshine each year and temperatures through the summer months average 26 degrees Celsius. This can take some getting used to. 

Remember, however, in the winter months Marbella and the whole of Spain does cool down significantly just like anywhere else. To add to this, many properties are deliberately built to remain cool in the summer months – this means that they may not retain heat very well when it gets very cold. So don’t go throwing away all of your jumpers and woolly socks because they will come in useful. 

  1. The infrastructure 
Some people worry that moving away from the UK means leaving excellent infrastructure behind, but actually the area around Marbella has excellent and modern services. Part of the reason for this is the influx of the tourists that the region sees over its busy season. Marbella has a population of around 120,000, but that number swells to over one million in the summer – this means that infrastructure is equipped to deal with far more people than those who live in the area most of the year. 
  1. Schooling
In terms of schooling, there are two main options. The first is to send your children to a Spanish state school, and the alternative is to pay for them to attend an international school. State schools are free, but international schools have fees comparable to private schools in the UK. The option you choose may depend on your circumstances – young children who have had a little exposure to the Spanish language will usually be able to pick it up very quickly and will be able to learn in Spanish at a state school with minimal disruption. 

As children get older, the time it takes for them to integrate generally takes longer, although of course every child is different. At international schools, children can be taught in English, although this may stop them integrating fully into the Spanish community. 

  1. Learning the language 
This is one aspect of moving to Spain where you may need to worry more about yourself than your kids. It’s well known that children pick up languages faster than adults, especially young children. So while you might be concerned that your children will be stuck in a world where they don’t understand anything – you shouldn’t be concerned. They will develop their language skills more quickly than you might think is possible, especially when they are immersed in the Spanish environment.

For you, on the other hand, this might be something that doesn’t come so easily. If you’re already a fairly strong Spanish speaker it shouldn’t take you long to develop your skills further but if you have limited experience in Spanish, it’s definitely worth taking classes and improving rather than assuming that you will be fine just diving straight in. 


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