9 November 2016

John Parker - Expat in Spain

John Parker - Expat in Spain

We’ve had the chance to talk to John Parker, 61, an English expat who has moved to Spain with his wife. Mr. Parker who has been living there for three and a half years is now unemployed. 

Read more about his experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you from originally?

A: Northamptonshire, England.


Q: What made you move out of England?

A: The major factor was the weather.


Q: Where are you living now? How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands. Used to come on holiday and fell in love with it.


Q: How long have you been living in Spain?

A: Full-time for three and a half  years.


Q: Are you living alone or with your family? If yes, how are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?

A: Just myself and my wife (and our two local rescue dogs).


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes? How do you cope with homesickness?

A: I miss my son but actually spend more quality time with him now than I did in the UK. When we were there I saw him for perhaps two short weekends a year but now he comes out for the odd holiday for at least a week at a time. I don’t miss the UK at all so don’t get homesick.


Q: What do you think about the locals?

A: Most are lovely people. The only thing I dislike about some of them is the awful attitude to animals, in particular dogs. So many are mistreated because to many locals “they are just dogs” so don't matter.


Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialise with other expats in Spain? How did you manage to find a social circle there?   

A: What’s a social life? Didn’t have one in the UK and it is no different here mostly. Having said that, we do know quite a lot of people here, even if we don’t necessarily socialise with them much. I don’t drink anymore so going to a bar isn’t as interesting as it once was.


Q: How does the cost of living in Spain compared to your home?

A: Much cheaper in almost all areas. Council tax is only 15-20% of what we paid in the UK. Petrol /diesel half price.

  • Q: How much is a cup of coffee?

A: 1.30€.

  • Q: How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?

A: 10€ a head.

  • Q: How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?

A: 25€ a head.

  • Q: How much is a bottle of wine? How about a pack of cigarettes?

A: Wine from 2.50€ upwards. Cigarettes are about 1€ I think (don’t smoke).


Q: Do you have any tips for future expats when it comes to opening a bank account in Spain?

A: Not really. Banks are the same the world over - they rip you off and give poor service.


Q: How will you describe your experience with government paperwork such as applications for Visa and work permits? Why is that so?

A: Spain is very bureaucratic so it pays to employ someone to help.


Q: Would you say that healthcare in Spain is reliable? Any preferred clinics or advice for expats?

A: Our experience has been good. The hospital was certainly cleaner, with better nursing than an NHS hospital.


Q: Did you secure a health insurance in your home or Spain? What should be the essentials in the coverage for expats, in your opinion?

A: We obtained it locally before going onto the Spanish system. You have to go for full coverage otherwise what is the point?


Q: What was the most memorable about the packing and moving process to Spain? Which was the mover you chose and how was your experience with them?

A: We used Woodside Cargo, a British owned company based here in Fuerteventura. Great service and cheaper than we expected too.


Q: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced as a new expat?

A: I can’t really say that there have been any.


Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in Spain?

A: + Weather, cost of living, relaxed lifestyle; - animal cruelty, bureaucracy, corruption.


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Any particular recommendations for future expats?

A: Not that we seem to do it much anymore but the beaches I guess, which are beautiful.


Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: None whatsoever.


Q: What tips will you give to expats living in the country?

A: Learn Spanish.


Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about Spain?

A: I follow “Spain Speaks” on YouTube and www.twobritsinspain.com.