When we bought our Javea villa and moved to Spain, we were shocked to find out just how many expats in Spain do not learn the language which impacts several areas of their life – these problems could be avoided simply by learning Spanish.
Expats in Spain are notorious for failing to learn the language. In many popular expat areas such as the britsville costas, it is possible to live in Spain without actually learning the language. The glut of British businesses in the area means you can find financial advisers, cafe-bars, restaurants, shops and tradesmen who all speak English perfectly.
Those in less touristy areas will find it harder as the English-speaking population dwindles to little if non-existent, particularly in the smaller pueblos. Even then, years after arriving, many expats struggle to have even a basic conversation in Spanish, making do with the bare minimum vocabulary required to get by. Expats with children are probably the worst culprits as they have free translators to help them!
There are three very good reasons expats should learn Spanish:
1. Social Life
Living in Spain without being able to speak Spanish is a little like going window shopping. You can see all the great things around you, see what you could have or do, but do not have the means to take advantage of them. If you only mix with the expat community you will miss out on the great Spanish culture, new Spanish friends who can help you find the best places to go, places to shop, job opportunities and more.
2. Bank Balance
You will need to find work in Spain unless you already have employment arranged, a pension or other regular income that you can live off. Needless to say, those who speak Spanish will have more jobs to choose from. If you only speak English, you will be limited to finding work with other expats or doing low paying jobs for other English-speaking expats such as cleaning, gardening, bar work etc. Why would you willingly choose to move Spain to struggle financially? Surely the move to Spain is meant to improve your quality of life? The more Spanish you speak, the more opportunities you will have and the chance to apply for a job with higher wages. Bi-lingual staff are increasingly in demand in all employment sectors and English speakers are highly sought after.
If you have children, the sooner they start to learn Spanish, the quicker they will integrate into the local community and make friends. They will take their lead from you! If you only speak English at home, watch only English television and mix only with other English-speaking expats, they will always be the foreigners. Children have an amazing ability to learn languages and the younger they are the more quickly they are able to learn. Not only will you be able to help them with their homework if you learn the language, you can learn with them.
Make learning Spanish a priority – it will improve your social life and your bank balance!
If you are looking for a property in Spain, take a look at http://www.inmobiliariajavea.es/ for bargain Costa Blanca properties.