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Interview with Chris – a French expat living in Spain

Updated 30 Jan 2024

Looking to get away from the hectic corporate life in France, Chris and his family moved to sunny Málaga to enjoy the relaxed work-life balance in Spain and take advantage of the excellent yet low-cost quality of life in the city. As this is his third expat experience, Chris has adapted to the ups and downs of expat life and has experienced little culture shock in Málaga.

Read more about expat life in Expat Arrival's guide to Spain.

About Chris

Q: Where are you originally from?
A: France

Q: Where are you currently living?
A: Málaga, Spain

Q: When did you move here?
A: In August 2023

Q: Is this your first expat experience?
A: No. This is my third expat experience. 

Q: Did you move here alone or with a spouse/family?
A: I moved here with my spouse and two kids. 

Q: Why did you move? What do you do?
A: We moved to Málaga for the excellent quality of life here. I work as a senior executive. 

Living in Málaga

Q: What do you enjoy most about Málaga? How would you rate the quality of life compared to France?
A: I love the kindness of the Spanish people here. We have felt welcomed by everyone. 

Q: Any negative experiences? What do you miss most about home?
A: Everything has been smooth and seamless so far, so no negative experiences. We don't miss anything about home yet. 

Q: What are the biggest adjustments you had to make when settling into expat life here? Did you experience any particular elements of culture shock?
A: There was no real adjustment or culture shock. The only thing we have been shocked by is that the stores here close at 2pm.

Q: What’s the cost of living compared to France? Is there anything particularly expensive or particularly cheap in Spain?
A: Living in Spain is way more affordable than living in France. Everything is cheap here, from international schools and restaurants to housing.

Q: How would you rate the healthcare in Málaga?
A: Fortunately, I haven't had any experiences with the healthcare in Málaga. 

Q: How do you rate the standard of housing in Málaga? What different options are available for expats?
A: There are various options available for expats, but most people either live in apartments or in big houses with private swimming pools.

Q: Any areas or suburbs you’d recommend for expats to live in?
A: Alhaurin de la Torre is a great place to be, very family oriented.

Meeting people and making friends in Málaga

Q: Was meeting people and making friends easy? How did you go about meeting new people?
A: Yes. There is a huge international community from all over the world.

Q: Have you made friends with locals, or do you mix mainly with other expats? What advice would you give to new expats looking to make friends with the locals?
A: We have mostly made friends with other expats. We are trying to meet more locals, though, but we need to improve our Spanish first.

Working in Málaga

Q: Was getting a work permit or visa a relatively easy process? Did you tackle the visa process yourself, or did you enlist the services of an immigration consultant?
A: Fortunately, as a European citizen, I don’t need a visa to stay in Spain.

Q: What is the economic climate in the city like? Do you have any tips for expats looking to find a job?
A: The economic climate in the city is pretty good. Málaga is growing into a renowned IT city, so there are lots of opportunities in this sector.

Q: How does the work culture differ from home?
A: The work culture is pretty much the same as in France, so I was able to settle in fairly easily.

Family and children in Málaga

Q: How has your spouse or partner adjusted to your new home? Do you think there are any specific challenges for an accompanying spouse?
A: My partner had adjusted pretty well to Málaga, as it was a mutual decision to move.

Q: Did your children settle in easily? What were the biggest challenges for them during the move?
A: For our kids, the main challenge was school, but otherwise they love it so far.

Q: What are your favourite family attractions and activities in the city?
A: We enjoy going to the beach club or spending time up in the mountains.

Q: What are the schools like? Any particular suggestions?
A: There are many good international schools and these options are cheap compared to the other European countries.

►Interviewed in December 2023

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