Expatriatism

Nicola's story

Gibraltar beach

I moved to Gibraltar from the UK in 2006 with my mum, dad and brother. My parents wanted a better life for me and my brother. They had visited Gibraltar numerous times and had taken me and my brother out to visit before making the move permanent. I have lived here now for just over nine years.

As a result of moving abroad I have been able to see and be a part of a new community. I’ve had the opportunity to visit places I had never even heard of before, learned to speak and write in a new language and met my husband. Moving to an unfamiliar country where you don’t know anyone is a challenge in itself however, moving with your family is a fantastic experience that I wouldn’t change. Being an expat has opened my eyes to a new way of living and exposed me to experiences I may not have had if my family had chosen not to make the move abroad.

Queen's Jubilee at Gibraltar rock

It was always my dad’s dream to move the family abroad and he made it a reality. But the biggest challenge I went through from living abroad is having him pass away two and a half years ago. Not only was emotionally difficult but the legal process with property when a loved one passes away is extremely difficult in Spain. As my mum and dad lived over the boarder their property was under Spanish law and unlike the UK process. With a language barrier as well it has been extremely difficult sorting out the documents and took over two years to complete. Even though he is no longer with us we have remained abroad, now stronger and not deterred by the obstacles we faced.

My mum and brother still live just over the border in Spain, so they are just a stone’s throw away. I met my husband in Gibraltar and we married in 2011, he was born here and we plan to remain in Gibraltar for the time being. I also have a good job here in the Online Gaming Industry, which I have been in for around 8 years now. At present I would not consider moving back to the UK, since I am quite settled here, I enjoy the sunshine, my career and my way of living. Summer nights are the best over here, with sunshine 10 months out of the year, a friendly community and spending time with my family around the swimming pool with a BBQ smoking away and talking to dogs on long strolls along the beach.

My advice for anyone thinking of making a move abroad would be to research and visit the country you are looking to move to if you can. Also be open to learning and understanding a new language and culture.