Season Three: Coming Home

Hello, everyone! Welcome to The Listen Blog: a space where you can find highlights and insights from The Listen Podcast, hosted by Kate Jetmore. This post focuses on Season Three, a series of interviews featuring couples living abroad who came back to their home countries to raise their children. Have a look!

Javier and Silvia: From Spain to London and Back Again

Javi and Silvia had known each other their whole lives before they embarked on their journey together as a couple. Today, they live in Central Spain with their daughter and son, but it was a long journey to get here!

The couple moved to London in search of better job opportunities. The work culture in the UK, they tell us, differs from the one in Spain. If you work, you thrive. This is the main reason they left their home country in the first place: it was now or never.

 

In Spain, I always felt that there was someone not wanting you to progress. 

                                                                                     (Silvia, 12:09)

While thriving on a professional level, they also faced many challenges, especially regarding language. Not being able to express their needs and emotions precisely was definitely a humbling experience.

With the birth of their daughter in 2016 and in the middle of the Brexit turmoil, they decided to move back to Spain, where their son was born. Having lived and worked in two countries, Javier and Silvia share some interesting insights on other topics such as dealing with the taxman and universal healthcare. What was their experience like? Tune in and find out!

 

Ernesto and María: One Couple, Two Continents

Ernesto and María, both from Central Spain, met in a research lab in Madrid, where they were carrying out their studies for their respective PhDs. In 2009, they were granted a scholarship to continue their studies at UC Berkeley. They packed their bags and off they went on their adventure together!

As Spaniards living in the States, they talk us through their experiences adjusting to this new culture that they were discovering. They lived in Berkeley for three years and eventually moved to Baltimore, MD, following the research project they were immersed in. There, they discovered that wealth and poverty can be just one street away.

When they had their first child in the USA, however, they stumbled upon one of the main reasons they ultimately returned to Spain: the private health care system. People from Spain are definitely not used to being handed an invoice on their way out of the hospital, after all…

                 When you receive the bill, you think: 

               “Oh, God… How much is it going to be?”

                                                                                     (María, 38:50)

Ernesto and María explain their experience, not only with health care, but also with the work culture in the USA and with other aspects of residency. Tune in to their interview to learn more.

 

Lisa and Juan: The Best of Both Worlds

Lisa and Juan are one of those marvelous bicultural couples who live between cultures, between countries, between lifestyles. Juan met Lisa because he was trying to keep up with his English. He was born and raised in Spain, while she was born in the UK and raised by an Italian mother and British father.

After several years together in Spain, they decided to pursue their teaching careers in the UK. The decision was easy at that point, since there were no kids involved yet. Having worked in several countries, Lisa and Juan tell us about their experience in the educational system in the UK, compared to the Spanish system, which is made up mainly of civil servants.

Being a bilingual couple living in the UK, they inevitably address the elephant in the room: Brexit. Are they planning on coming back to Spain or are they staying? Their mindset, as they see it, is to wait and see what happens. However, they find the situation painful, given their personal environment.

                                   This is why Brexit hurts so much! 

                                                  I feel European. 

                                                                                      (Lisa, 16:34)

Luckily, as they are both teachers and have long vacations, they come to Spain as often as they can to visit friends and family. If you want to get to know them better, have a listen here.

 

What did you think of Season Three? Are you one of those people who returned home after living abroad? If you have an experience you’d like to share, or if you have an idea for a future season, please reach out to us on social media. We’d love to hear from you!

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For more insightful interviews, tune in to The Listen Podcast on your favorite podcasting platform.

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