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Columnists > Barry O'Leary

Barry O'Leary
Barry O’Leary has been an expat in Seville for nearly ten years. When he’s not teaching English, he describes how he sees life in Spain on his blog A Novel Spain. He has also lived and taught English in Brazil, Ecuador, Australia and Thailand and travelled around the world in the meantime. His non-fiction travel literature book, Teaching English in a Foreign Land, about his adventures as a TEFL teacher, has sold over 2,500 copies.

Barry O'Leary

Who's Winning The Bilingual Battle Now?

Posted by: bazseville on Friday August 04, 2017 (19:53:10)   (1763 Reads)
Some of you may have read my previous article about the battle I‘ve had on my hands to teach my Spanish kids English. Well, thankfully in the last month I have seen a vast improvement, and I’d like to share a few tips which might help you improve your bilingual children’s level of English.

Just to give you some background. I have two children, a boy who is almost four, and a girl who is two and a half (before you ask; yes we did decide to have them so close). They are both Spanish, I’m British, and also an English teacher over here in Sevilla. It has been a rocky couple of years with two young kids, but the speck of light at the end of the tunnel is slowly coming into focus.    more ...

Barry O'Leary

4 Things I've Learnt Since Being An Expat Dad

Posted by: bazseville on Monday May 15, 2017 (01:57:36)   (7880 Reads)
I’m a dad of two lovely Spanish kids. I say lovely because that’s what they are 90% of the time, the other 10% they can be complete devils. I enjoy being a dad, and the longer I am one, the more I love it. I enjoy the responsibility of bringing them up, seeing them laugh and smile, picking them up (and at times dropping them off) at school, and helping them make dinosaur shapes with playdoh. I even see the benefits of being woken up early at the weekend, otherwise I’d just waste the day.    more ...

Barry O'Leary

Bringing Up Bilingual Children Just Isn’t That Easy

Posted by: bazseville on Tuesday February 14, 2017 (04:53:24)   (11156 Reads)
Photo by Leshaines123 (
Bringing up two Spanish kids to be bilingual is immensely harder than I expected. Since arriving in Seville, back in 2005, I’ve spoken to many British expats about getting their kids to be completely bilingual and have come across a vast range of experiences.    more ...

Barry O'Leary

You Can’t Beat A Bit Of Country Air In Spain

Posted by: Carole on Sunday July 12, 2015 (02:48:40)   (2421 Reads)
Barry O’Leary
As I sit here on my new writing table, out in the patio hiding under a shelter with an inflatable swimming pool next to me to dip in now and then and cool down as it’s 40 degrees outside, I think back to last year when I was cooped up in a flat in the centre and realise how much better life is nearer the countryside.    more ...

Barry O'Leary

Be Careful Of Dodgy Estate Agents In Spain

Posted by: Carole on Saturday June 06, 2015 (17:28:15)   (5155 Reads)
Barry O’Leary
The process of buying a house in your own country is stressful enough. So add the complications of having to learn new house and bank related vocabulary in another language, figuring out the different laws and processes, plus the fact that in Spain there are a lot of corrupt money thieving estate agents, then there’s no wonder that the grey hairs on my beard have started to sprout out like little strands of water cress.    more ...

Barry O'Leary

Hats Off To Spain’s Baby Popping Out Team

Posted by: Carole on Saturday May 02, 2015 (17:19:24)   (2666 Reads)
Barry O’Leary
Whether you’re a future Mum or Dad to be, nine months is a long time to play with ones uncontrollable imagination. The older I get, the more I worry. I suppose because you realise just how cruel life can be at times, so I rarely let my guard down these days. So when my wife announced that we’d be expecting our second child nine months ago, the neurotic part of my brain started going into overload. Will the birth be okay? Is it worth going private, or should we choose the NHS?

Just to fill you in on the first birth. We decided to go private with a company called Sanitas, which towards the end of the nine months I was calling Cacitas (caca = poo). What exactly did we get for €90 a month?    more ...

Barry O'Leary

Did You Become An Expat For Love?

Posted by: Carole on Saturday March 07, 2015 (04:47:38)   (3022 Reads)
Barry O’Leary
One minute I was on a plane heading for Sevilla to try to learn Spanish, and the next I’m watching a stunning Spanish lady walking down the aisle towards me, yes me, to become my wife, wondering, how the hell did that happen? And to think, I wasn’t even intending on staying in Spain for long, and I definitely didn’t want a girlfriend stopping my plans to travel more. But that’s the thing about love; you never know when it’s going to take control of your life and turn you into a soppy fool.

Have you fallen for someone in another country and given up everything to be with them? There must be a ton of expats who have become enchanted by a local girl or guy and made that tricky decision to make a go of it with someone with a different nationality. Quite a few of the expats I know here, the long term ones with kids and a house and several points cards for the local Spanish supermarkets, have decided to stay here because of amor – love.    more ...

Barry O'Leary

Why Everyone Should Have A Bash At Being An Expat

Posted by: Carole on Wednesday February 04, 2015 (17:06:02)   (4129 Reads)
Barry O’Leary
Is it only the brave who have the guts to live abroad? Do you have to be a little bit mental to give up the safety of your own country and explore the depths of the unknown? I guess you do in a way, but everyone should be able to make up their own minds about whether being an expat is for them.

Being an expat might not be for you. You may hate being a foreigner, have absolutely no skill at speaking another language, or cry yourself to sleep at night because you miss your local pub so much. It’s worth giving it a go though. What have you got to lose? Being a foreigner is fun, learning another language is fulfilling, and your local will always be your local, unless they shut it down and turn it into a pizza restaurant (which happened in my case).    more ...

Barry O'Leary

Onwards And Upwards

Posted by: Carole on Tuesday January 06, 2015 (19:58:42)   (3356 Reads)
Barry O’Leary
2014 was a revolutionary year for me, and a turning point in my life. For ages I’d been toying with the idea of going back to England, or moving from Sevilla to another city, preferably a less traditional one, or just one with a beach, but during last year a few things clicked into place which made me realise I’ve become a true expat.

So, what happened? Here’s a little breakdown on why last year was such a turning point.    more ...

Barry O'Leary

You Can’t Beat Christmas With Your Own Kind

Posted by: Carole on Tuesday December 02, 2014 (06:27:18)   (2871 Reads)
Barry O’Leary
Boy am I glad to be heading back to London for Christmas. Last year I spent Christmas in Seville, not really through choice, but we’d just had a baby and decided it would be better not to fly back, mainly because of Mr Jack Frost, but also because the only airline with free flights was Ryanair. It was the third year I’d been away from my homeland for Christmas, and the third year I’d come to the conclusion that you can’t beat spending the festive period in your own country, with your own kind.

I’m not saying that Christmas in Seville wasn’t special, most holiday periods are excellent here and Spanish people know how to have a fiesta. However, given the choice, I’d prefer to be back in England, mainly because that’s where I have all my childhood memories.    more ...

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