How to become a Spanish amigo

Moving abroad is a big step for anyone. Be it a move across the channel to Spain or a move to the other side of the world it guarantees some big changes in your life, and that of your family’s.

Embrace the culture

Unfortunately the British tourist has a reputation for not adapting to or respecting the cultures that they visit, often seen as loud and loutish. It’s no surprise that the British expatriate isn’t all that well regarded either. Having lived in the often murky and wet climate of the UK the stereotypical ex-pat has been trying to live their British lifestyle in the perpetual sunshine of nations like Spain or Australia. Rather than go out and embrace their new homes culture they can often be found in British bars and British supermarkets and their language skills comprise solely of the UKs regional dialects (which granted, some do sound like a foreign language). The last few years have seen many emigrants return home to the UK because they miss their home country, but if you embrace a new culture then your experience is going to be better, surely?

Learn the language

Working and living in a different country can be a very daunting experience especially if the locals don’t speak a word of English. Even basic tasks can be made virtually impossible by the language barrier. Waving your arms about wildly, and yelling in English with a Spanish twang will most likely make a situation worse. Many of the locals will appreciate the fact that you have taken the time and effort to learn the lingo making you, and your family’s integration far easier.

There are many places and products available in the UK that teaches new languages. A good place to start is http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/

Join in

Spain has many of their own traditions and festivals. Spain is a dominantly Catholic nation and as such has many celebration days for the many saints. Most of these are celebrated by the throwing of big parties or street festivals. For example on the 23 June Spain celebrates the La Nit de Saint Joan – the night before St John’s Day – it is the biggest all-night party of the year. In Barcelona and cities up and down the country there are fireworks and bonfires, and every bar and club hosts a party. But the real action takes place at the beaches, with thousands of people singing, dancing, drinking, leaping over fires (for luck) and taking a late-night swim. It is the only night when you can legally sleep on Barcelona’s public beaches. Football and other sport is a passion shared by most Spanish and British people alike. The best thing to do is to get out there and join in the fun.

Embracing the Spanish culture is a rewarding and truly enriching experience that will allow you to make the most of your new life abroad. You are sure to discover so many new things that you may forget your old life back in the UK and embrace a Spanish future.

The Expat Hub
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