The British In Spain
Every year thousands of Brits moving to Spain and other countries all over the world in search of a better way of life, to get out of the rate race and the wet and windy UK weather but around 80% of The British In Spain will have their dreams ruined and will return to the UK in under 3 years, this is what i read in a survey by the Andalucian council last month as they checked of Brits moving here over the last 10 years….this is what they say…
Also if you read the comments below at the end of this post you will see that most expats agree with this..Do You?
but if you follow my simple steps you can avoid being one of these statistics and really enjoy the amazing way of life that Spain has to offer.
First why listen to me and what do i know anyway?
After moving here from Brighton on the south coast of England more than 15 years ago now and being married to a Spanish girl for the last 4 years, i have see it all. The first several years that i lived here I worked as a carpenter and builder for a small English building firm and worked mostly for the local expats that had bought property here and saw people and families from all over the UK come here to live the dream life in the sun.
Most of my work back then was fitting kitchens and renovating properties, bars and restaurants in Almeria and the surrounding areas that these Brits had bought as their dream home in the sun.
Now i look back at those times and those people i see that I was just the same and had similar dreams and hopes. Many of those customers became good friends over the years and when I went self employed i retained these people as customers and friends. Now though most have returned to the UK and those who are left have learned the lessons that have helped them to not just survive here but really integrate with the Spanish way of life and therefore enjoy the dream life here, it is amazing living here in Spain but there are so many each year that will return home and never set foot in Spain again.
3 Reasons Why They Go Back
Reason 1, Money. Spain is cheaper than the UK for most things and cost of living here is better in general but there are 2 main types of people who are coming here, the first is retired people on a pension and these find that now with the rate of the Euro here their money just does not go as far or it starts to run out and they have to sell up and return home finding that they can now only afford a much smaller place back in the UK.
The other type of The British In Spain are the Families or couples that need to work and earn a living here, these will find it hard to get work in Spain even if they speak Spanish well as they are competing with the high unemployed locals for any jobs that may be going. Plus most new jobs are on a short 3 month contract and the companies often change their staff every 3-6 months to save on taxes here.
If you can get a job here then you will find that the wages will be a lot lower than that of the UK and this is fine if you live like the locals and do not spend like you are on one long holiday here as so many do.
I saw a British couple buy an apartment here just last year and they paid 180, ooo euros for the new 2 bed place and this was at the top of their budget but when they signed contracts they were shocked that they had to pay 16 ,ooo in fees, it is normally around 10% of the property price in total so a lot more than in England.
Davids Top Tip…go to 2 different lawyers in Spain and ask them what are the costs you will be paying when you buy. Dont ask estate agents as they all say different things and are really only interested in the sale. They will tell you just what to expect in the area that you are moving to.
Do your research well before you buy here as things are different.
One guy i met here last year told me that he was going to work in a car rental place near the coast in malaga, and when i asked him if he spoke Spanish he said no i am just going to rent to the British. well that is just ignorant as all the paperwork will be in Spanish and there will be Spanish people coming in who do not speak English so what then will he turn them away. come on people you have to be realistic here. really think about what you want to do and if it is possible if you do not speak Spanish.
Reason 2, The language. OK Us Brits are not good at learning a new language and so many coming here say ” i will learn in no time or i will soon pick it up” the truth is it is hard to learn once you are here as you have so much to do and going to lessons even 3 times a week is not enough, i know i did it.
Yes there are many Spanish people here that do speak English but simple things like going to the doctors, bank, accountants and getting the car serviced and m.o.t. each year is difficult if you do not speak really good Spanish. I know people who have lived here for more than 10 years now and still ask me to go with them when they get the car serviced as they just do not have the vocabulary to do it themselves.
The larger Towns in Spain have more English speaking people sure but there is always going to be times when you are face to face with a Spanish person who does not Speak English and why should they.. YOU are in their country. You must make the effort and learn their language..start now click below..
Davids Top Tip…. Start learning some Spanish even before you come here as it will really help. start with numbers and days of the week. Learn short phrases like”how much is that” *cuanto cuesta* and “At what time” *A qué hora* learn things that you can use straight away once you get there.
I found playing tapes in the car helps even if you just have it on in the background. As soon as you get in your car to go anywhere pop in a Spanish learning tape. you will pip up a lot.
Reason 3, Mixing with locals. Every time i pass through town here i see The British In Spain sitting in the same groups of Brits in the same bars chatting with the same friends and this is great but if you really want to enjoy the real side of Spain or any country that you move to, you need to make an effort to mix with the local people there as you will see and learn so much more than from the groups of Brits. OK i too did stay in a group of The British In Spain the first few months here and it was great for finding out about things in that area like where to get the best bread local services and trades people but after a while i just got bored with the conversation and gossip.
It does take areal effort to mix and if The British In Spain just try then the local people will open up to you and this is when you see the real side of Spain or the country that you have moved to and not just the inside of the local bar. This is the same for any country that you will move to.
Davids Top Tip…join a few Spanish clubs when you first get to Spain, its cheap. Dancing,walking,fishing,running, what ever you may be interested in. This will get you mixing with local Spanish people and you will have to learn Spanish, you will also make some great new Spanish friends that will show you the real side of Spain.
Thats me walking in the Spanish hills with a Spanish walking club.
below me and a few spanish friends at a local fiesta.
Important ..>Papers You Need When Moving To Spain<
The British In Spain
A normal Sunday lunch on the beach.
What type of people succeed long term?
The British In Spain that do stay here long term, are the ones that learn the language and mix with locals as well as doing research before they just get on a plane and come here.This is true i am sure for any country that you move to. If you like a place here then you should come in winter and see what its like as many areas in Spain tend to shut down for winter even if the weather is great here there are seasons here and some places are very quiet in the winter months and this makes finding work difficult.Many local businesses shut up in winter for a few months even some of the bars shut down for 2~3 months in winter.
The first time you come here The best thing is to rent for 6 months as that way you will get to know the area a little and see just what it is like to live there.
Learn some basic Local language before you come even a few basic phrases will go a long way here.
The one thing that has change my life here was mixing with locals.
I did have lessons for a few months but that was just not getting anywhere so i joined a Spanish walking club and a Salsa dancing club where there were no Brits, this way i had to speak Spanish all the time and it was hard at first. The first few times i went out walking with the club i hardly said a word but each week i tried out my Spanish and each week they understood more of what i was saying and so did i too. then after a few months i made some amazing Spanish friends and was invited to many fiestas and parties and found myself in gatherings of all Spanish. All sorts of new opportunities started to open up for me and not just work. \i found that i was being invited out to events and partys and this really helped my Spanish.
On one night at a salsa dancing lesson i meet a beautiful Spanish girl and after 2 years we ended up getting married, now we have been married for 4 years.
Just last week my Spanish wife and i along with 4 other Spanish friends sat in a tapas bar on the beach front near my home and as we had a drink i heard behind me a British family ask each other what was that dish on the menu, i have seen these people around and know that they have been here for a few years and still they can not read a basic menu.
The British In Spain
If you just want to come to Spain for the cheap beer and the sun then that's fine but do not expect to make it a long stay here.
If you really want to enjoy the REAL side of Spain and the Spanish way of life then you can still have all those things… but mix with locals, Learn the language and do your research and you will see that it really is a better way of life her in sunny Spain.
What do you think are these reasons right or wrong
Please leave your comments below as i like to know what people think.
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