Living in Valencia
We talk to Laurence Lemoine, founder of Valencia Expat Services, about living in Valencia. Spain’s third largest city is perfect for international families. Laurence shares her knowledge of the city, its inhabitants and the Valencian culture while taking care of the bureaucratic side of relocation from family admin to setting up a business.
Valencia has officially been named the top place to live as a foreign citizen, what do you think makes the city so special, especially for the international community?
Well…I’m not at all surprised! I would say that the way of life is very agreeable for many different reasons. Of course the weather is a major point but Valencia has much more to offer. It is a very safe city it is a reasonable size (little traffic, very low pollution, good food, beautiful beaches, friendly people and an interesting culture). And on top of this, the cost of living is medium low and there is a good educational and health system.
How family-friendly would you say Valencia is?
Valencia is 100% family- friendly! People are very joyful and there are a lot of things to do and to discover for families. Parks, museums, aquarium, monuments, landscapes and more. The family life is very easy in this city – it is child friendly and offers a lot of activities for the family.
For anyone from the international community thinking of relocating to Valencia, what kind of work opportunities would you say the city has?
Any kind of remote work! The best is to already be working online because the industrial sector does not offer so many opportunities for a career. When the pandemic comes to an end, hopefully the touristic sector should start again and create more opportunities.
What about schooling, how does Valencia rank compared to the rest of Spain with regards to both local and international schools?
There are a lot of international schools and they are always at the top of the main rankings and the public universities are really good offering a lot of different studies. There are good public and concertado schools but are often not so attractive to the expats because they impose the Valenciano language.
Do you think that generally, the international community is well integrated into the local community of Valencia?
I would say there are still efforts to be made on behalf of both sides: the Valencianos have to open up a bit more and the expats need to make more effort in learning Spanish to be able to have a better integration. In the last 20 years I’ve seen a lot of progress. Here in Valencia Expat Services: we do a lot to create bridges between Valencianos and expats with the organisation of diners and different events.
What would you say are the biggest challenges for anyone considering relocating to Valencia?
The key and the challenge is to be able to learn and speak Spanish as I mentioned above. The rest comes easy especially with the help of Valencia Expat Services for everything to do with administration, education, housing and socialising.
Which neighbourhoods would you say are the most family-friendly?
I would say that the most family-friendly neighbourhoods are the ones close to the ‘famous’ river Turia Park, the incredible garden of 8 kilometres long that crosses through the middle of the city; this park is multifunctional for all families. But in Valencia you never live far from the park, making most of Valencia a good neighbourhood to live in!
Describe Valencia in 3 words
Fantastic, fun and friendly!
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