Expat advice on how to thrive in Spain

The Best Advice to Integrate in Spain

Do you speak Spanish? Credit: Shutterstock.com

Is moving to Spain as daunting as it seems?

Relocating to another country, such as Spain, involves numerous considerations—from visa procedures to settling into a new community.

On their YouTube channel, Spain Revealed, James Blick from New Zealand and his Spanish partner Yoly, offer practical advice on just about everything you need to know about settling in Spain.

Over the years the couple have shared their experiences from Spanish food, and legal proceedings, to some of Spain’s quirky customs that often surprise foreigners moving to the country.

However, the one thing they highlight which is crucial for a seamless transition is learning the language. James warns potential expatriates not to make the mistake of thinking, ‘when I’m in Spain I’ll learn Spanish.’

Start learning Spanish early

‘But the better you can have your Spanish by the time you get here, you’re just going to have a richer experience,’ James advised.

Yoly adds, ‘Now of course there are areas with a large English-speaking community. But if you really want to integrate – and that’s what most people want – you need to learn the language.’

Initiating language studies well before arriving in Spain is beneficial, as Yoly warns, ‘Don’t leave it until the last minute. I would start as soon as you make the decision to live in Spain. Start learning it because it will really pay off.’

Embrace local variants and preparation tips

Yoly also points out the linguistic diversity within Spain, noting that regional languages such as Valencian, Catalan, Basque, and Gallego are prevalent alongside Spanish.

To get a head start, future expatriates might consider language-learning apps, enrolment in Spanish courses, and engaging with Spanish media. Having a solid foundation in Spanish language before relocation can significantly speed up language acquisition once in Spain.

Navigate legal and logistical challenges

James highlights the crucial role of relocation professionals, noting that they assist with the bureaucratic and logistical aspects of moving to a new country. This includes helping with finding housing, setting up bank accounts, and enrolling children in school.

Moreover, consulting an immigration consultant or lawyer is crucial as they delineate your legal pathways to Spain. For those looking to buy property, James recommends employing a buyer’s agent to safeguard your interests.

After over a decade in Spain, James remains an ardent advocate for his adopted home, despite acknowledging its imperfections. His and Yoly’s insights underline the importance of preparation, particularly in language acquisition, for those aspiring to fully integrate into Spanish life.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.


    • Bob Jenkins

      13 April 2024 • 21:37

      What’s an “expat”? Do you mean an “immigrant” like me?

    • Andrew Cremona

      14 April 2024 • 12:33

      Can’t stand the word/name EXPAT.
      I’m an immigrant and proud of it.

    Comments are closed.