Seville is the capital and largest city within Andalusia; it has a population of just over seven hundred thousand and covers fifty square miles. It’s located on the plain of the river Guadalquivir. The locals in Seville are known as sevillanos - or sevillanas, the women.
Its “old town” is the fourth largest in the whole of Europe covering two square miles, and is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Cathedral, the General Archive of the Indies and the Alcazar Palace Complex. Seville is also home to the only river port in Spain, Seville Harbor.
Seville’s history is a success story following the discovery of the Americas, as they became one of the biggest economic centers of the Spanish Empire because the port was able to monopolize the trans-oceanic trade.
If you’re moving to Seville in the hope of a warmer climate, you’re going to the right place. It’s a subtropical Mediterranean climate, which means hot summers and wet winters. However, during the winter you can still expect to see some sunshine, with just under two hundred sunshine hours in January. Temperatures are usually at their absolute hottest during July and August, averaging out at 36 and 35°C, with the highest temperature on record being 45°C.
The saying goes that sevillanos are the first to invite you to their house, but then never tell you where they leave. In my experience, making friends with sevillanos, particularly females, is quite difficult. I’ve thankfully got a great group of American female friends, but I’ve found that breaking into social circles in Seville is tough. The Novio has been close with his best friend since they were six – o sea, my whole lifetime. I have many friendships that are still close and have grown even as I moved away and they got married, but I have many more non-Spanish friends than Spanish ones. Plus, a majority of them have come from the Novio and not my own cultivation.
Another pitfall to moving abroad is the inevitable goodbyes when someone moves away – even the Spaniards! When my friends Juani and Raquel moved to Chile a few months back, it was like losing our social coordinators and my little sister at the same time. I remember the dozens of friends I’ve made here who have since moved on or moved back to their home cultures and often wish that they could have stayed. My group of friends often ebbs and flows as the years pass by.
Oddly enough, when I lived in Seville over 30 years ago, I made some great friends among the Sevillanos, and we are still in touch today. However, I now live in Puerto Rico (for the past 19 years) and I can’t say I have any meaningful relationships with Puerto Ricans — male or female. The Puerto Ricans live mostly for family. Anyone not of the immediate or extended family is treated cordially, but not Intimately. Everyone talks about how friendly the Puerto Ricans are, but it’s all superficial. I miss my Sevillano friends, which over the years has come to include Gypsies as well.
I studied abroad in Sevilla back in the good ‘ol college days and miss it terribly (although not the heat, madre de dios el calor). I smiled so much when I saw the word guiri-it’s been ages since that’s been in my vocabulario. Being an expat is not all rainbows and happy smiles as you so wonderfully put it (to those who think otherwise).
I’m a very outgoing person and I can make friends practically anywhere, my friends always joke that they can put me in a room with a rock and I’ll come out there being best friends with it. Sevilla has been a bit more difficult though.
Most Spanish people that are my age (in their mid to late 20’s) don’t speak English. Since my Spanish isn’t the best it’s been a bit tougher to make friends. However, I live by a university that holds a lot of exchange students so I’ve made a lot of friends that way. They are all younger than me (and they sure do make me feel old when I’m with them haha) it’s still nice to have some friends.
I find the best way to meet people when I move abroad is by getting involved in different activities and groups. Check and see if there are any expat in Seville type groups on Facebook (or for students or whatever is similar to your reason for being there) and start there. I used to use a website called Meetup but a lot of the interaction has moved to Facebook. Also search for events in the local area :).
Last year a week after semana santa, I was in Sevilla with a few friends just having a few drinks and our waiter suddenly busted out his guitar and joined a few other men at the entrance to the bar and started singing, dancing, and clapping. Such a unique experience and one I won’t soon forget!
I've been an expat in Seville for the past 2 months and haven't met any other expats, just noticed lots of young 20 something exchange students. I'm not quite a retiree yet, I'm 45 and teaching English at an academy here, but would would be happy to meet up at some point for a chat and a coffee if you're free. I'm a bit too old for the 20 somethings :lol: I've joined Internations, an international group that meets up once a month, but they've been having their summer break since I've been here. I'll take a look at the American Women's Group as they might accept Brits.
- Free time in Seville is right now offering basically tourists shepherding, posh discos, getting extremely drunk (at Alameda or Jardín Americano), and afrolatin dancin' parties. So I strongly reccomend the latter.
Depending your living place I could suggest you a good studio where you'll be able to learn/improve your skills (and language), and, at the beginning, also meet people to go dancin' parties with them.
- Register in Amigossevilla.es, where you'll be able to find activities all the year long :)
- Read La tesis de Nancy, a short book from Ramón J. Sender related to a young american girl spending a pair of years in Seville ;) It's very funny, and useful. Unfortunately, I think it's not translated.
The Capitans Wench
Yes Sevilla in the height of the summer is unbearable,which is why a lot of locals head for their summer houses at the beach for all of August.
As I live 12k out I forget just how hot it can be. Yes aircon would be needed and a pool if possible, best way to cool down before bed is to spend half hour in it. In the centre it hit 52c a few years back.
I actually love Sevilla! Granted, I was there in late September/early October. That was the perfect time to visit. The weather was awesome, there weren’t a lot of crowds, and I loved the city. I know how hot it can get there so was glad I wasn’t there in the summer. However, the trees and the Santa Cruz very nice with all of the shade.
I can’t really speak to all of the other stuff but I thought the transportation was good. I did walk everywhere and didn’t have deadlines or places to go. I did notice the streets are awfully quiet at 7:30 in the morning though :)
It’s a beautiful city that has absolutely stolen my heart. Everything from the culture, food, people and everything in between is incredible about this place. If you’re thinking of moving to a place with a lot of culture, great weather, and that smells like orange blossoms definitely consider Sevilla.
I live here in Seville! Its a great city, and being the capital of andalucia and with cheap, great public universities, its usually full of young people. Are you staying in the city or in some village close to it? Cause maybe youll be interested in getting the bus card at Plaza de Armas, its cheaper for the buses of the Consorcio that go around villages, and you can use it with the city buses/"metro", too.
Oh, and watch out where you are going, cause sometimes its pretty easy to end up in a bad neighborhood if u arent aware , like Los Pajaritos, one of the worst of Spain. Its a safe city, but there are certain spots to better avoid.
Anyway, If you have any doubt while staying, feel free to PM me. Best wishes, enjoy the city!
I only know Sevilla as a tourist but we visit most years as we like it so much. Make sure you get a place with both air conditioning for the summer and heating for the winter - it is notoriously hot (40C plus) for most of the summer and cold in winter.
The Capitans Wench
Sevilla is a beautiful city, noisy busy and smelly in parts, I don't work but hear that unemployment in the area is really 40% not the 20 something that is quoted. So finding work be a job in itself. For accomodation try sevilla5 website..there are many many rentals in and around Sevilla.
Pete makes sense saying come and do a fact finding trip, there are many hostels to stay in, so maybe choose two in different parts of town. Or one in and one on the outskirts. Good luck.
We live about 45 mins east of the airport near a town called Ecija. Sevilla is a lovely city, very expensive to rent in the center. If you really want to integrate with the Spanish, you would be better in one of the smaller towns or villages that are close to Sevilla, where it will be easier to mix and make friends. If we can be of any help please let me know. We know the area quite well.