What are Your Priorities When Planning a Year in Spain?
However, if you are planning to spend just a year in Spain, for language purposes or for a family life experience, priorities change.
Or, in my opinion, they should.
Spending a year in Spain is becoming more and more popular for families with children, of all ages. Admittedly, this is still very much more so with US residents rather than European residents. However this appears to be changing with more European families contemplating the idea.
Deciding your own “WHY” is important at this point.
“Why are you spending a year in Spain?”
Ask yourself, “What do we, as a family, want to gain from our year in Spain?”
The most common reasons people tell me that they want to spend a year in Spain are:
- To spend more time together as a family.
- To learn or improve Spanish language skills
- To experience another culture.
- To enjoy a family experience that they will never forget.
I am yet to be told that the year in Spain is to improve the academic education of the children.
This may seem obvious as you read this article. However, when we are engulfed in researching and absorbing information, scheduling trips and making travel arrangements, the obvious becomes clouded or even hidden beneath all the other stuff.
Let me help you with this decision.
Do not feel guilty.
There really are other factors to place on your year in Spain “to do” list, above researching education options.
Some factors to consider when planning your year in Spain:
- Do you want a rural, coastal or city environment?
- How much travelling do you plan to do?
- What transport options are available form your chosen location?
- What are the seasonal variations to the size of the population?
- What are the temperature variations and weather patterns?
- What are property rental prices like in the area?
- Is it easy to secure a short / long term rental within budget?
- If you are opting for an international school education, are fees within budget?
Language Immersion Requirements:
- Consider the level of your Spanish knowledge.
- Do you really want to be in an area where nobody speaks any English?
- Do you want a mix of languages spoken?
- You do not need to be in a place where no expats are to learn the language.
- Is it worth enrolling in language classes to enhance your learning?
- If your focus is on language learning, subject to the age of your child, consider enrolling them in a Spanish state school
- Many International schools in Spain are mainly attended by Spanish children (check this in advance) so this does not mean that your child will not learn any Spanish whilst there.
- If you do not want to delay your child’s academic progress, consider enrolling them in an International School that follows the same curriculum.
- Many schools finish at 2pm on a Friday so that allows for lots of weekends away, visiting new places.
- School holidays are less often but longer durations, great for planning trips away.
- School term starts around the first week in September so plan your arrival based on this.
Based on experience, I would like to encourage you to shift your focus when planning your year in Spain. Focus on fun. Focus on family time. By doing this you are not neglecting your child’s education … after all, by spending a year in Spain with your children, you are gifting them an education that many would be envious of.
Have you spent a year in Spain with your family? We’d love to share your experiences with our readers…