Have you ever dreamed about doing something exciting like living abroad in Seville? I have been an expat in this city off and on for a couple of years now and can give you some insights into what it’s like from a Peruvian perspective. In this article, I will be sharing my personal experiences in the Andalusian capital and providing a few recommendations for your move.
I’m originally from Lima and have been traveling since I was little. My family loved going on road trips when I was young, and I got used to being in new places and not necessarily within my comfort zone. That is why I’m adventurous. When I was at university, I applied for a work and travel visa in the United States and went there to work and live for the summer.
I spent a few years in the US and since then I enjoy living in foreign cities. After finishing school, I worked for a phone company (I have a business degree) and then I only had the chance to go traveling on my days off. But after five years of working, I decided to quit my job so I could travel more. I took trips to Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Honduras, Canada and Brazil. My ex-boyfriend is Canadian and I went to live in his country for eight months.
We broke up but it didn’t stop me from traveling. Due to these adventures, I got to know a lot of hostels and wanted to start a business in that industry. I founded Tupac Hostel in Lima in 2016. It’s a family business as my parents helped me with the investment but I manage it all by myself.
What Inspired My Move to Seville
The pandemic was tough for the tourism industry, especially in Peru where the restrictions were intense and took a long time to return to normal. That is why I decided to focus on studying. In 2019, I started a personal brand as a travel blogger and also managed the social media of Tupac Hostel. I learnt everything by experience and by teaching myself via YouTube.
My goal was to gain a masters in digital marketing, so I could understand more about the online world. I chose Spain because I love the country and it’s not too expensive. I had a friend in Seville, and knew that it was cheaper than Barcelona and Madrid, and thought it would be a fantastic option. I hadn’t visited Seville before and didn’t know much about it.
Is Seville an Expat Friendly City?
I work remotely in Seville for my hostel in Peru where I’m in charge of the website, social media and online travel agencies, and I also create content on my social media channels as a travel blogger. A typical day for me starts by checking my emails and messages related to the hostel and my personal brand. Each day is different depending on the things I have to do.
I workout at the gym everyday and go out mostly on the weekends. Now that I’m not living close to the center, it’s hard to explore the city often. It was during my first year in Seville that I went out and saw the city more. In general, Seville is beautiful but I don’t feel it’s the best option for expats – just because it’s not as cosmopolitan as Barcelona and Madrid.
There are many foreigners here, although the vast majority of them are short-stay tourists rather than expats living long-term. I haven’t had the opportunity to meet many people in the expat community in Seville. Hopefully that changes though. I lived in Seville for six months and then moved to Malaga – and now I’m back in Seville, so I think it will get better.
Similarities & Differences to Peru
Seville is similar to Peru in certain aspects. First, the language – even though we speak with different accents and dialects. Seville as a whole is safe. The food is similar. You can tell Peruvian cuisine was influenced by the Spanish. I love Peruvian food and still cook it here. There are Latin shops in the city where you can buy Peruvian goods. The one thing I miss the most is ceviche but after living in Seville for a while I’m pleased with the food.
The biggest challenge is getting accustomed to the people. Don’t get me wrong, the Spanish are friendly and Sevillanos as well. I just don’t think they are as open as the people from my country. The ones that have traveled are open but most of the people haven’t, so they are more close-minded.
This makes creating new friendships quite challenging. Plus, I do feel as if the Spanish don’t like immigrants from South America as much as the ones from Europe. That is just the feeling I get, however you could have an entirely different experience when you move to Seville as an expat.
When it comes to visas, there is an agreement between Peru and Spain which makes getting visas easier. Applying for a student visa was easy and the fact that your degree is valid helps a lot. Also, we can exchange our drivers license. After I finished the student visa, I applied for residency as a family member as my boyfriend and I are registered as a couple.
Tips for Moving to Seville as an Expat
Before moving to Seville as an expat you should know Spanish. The people here don’t speak much English. Also, if you can learn some words from Andalusia then your experience will be better. When looking for a place to live, landlords will ask you for a contract and proof of regular income. You need an NIE to open a bank account and to get a phone number.
One thing I suggest is exploring the Andalusia region while living in Seville. I have traveled a lot in Andalusia. I have been to Cadiz, Granada, Malaga, Almeria, Cordoba and Ronda. Southern Spain is beautiful and you can eat well. It’s cheap and delicious. The beaches are nice and you can enjoy lovely weather for most of the year. So take advantage of your location and travel.