Speaking European – Jan Törstedt

Jan Törstedt in Spain. Credit: Jan Törstedt

The first thought Jan had after he had finished his national duty in the Swedish military, was “I´ve got to go to Spain.¨ He was in his 20s and was the first Swedish ERASMUS student to come to Spain, moving to study at the University of Barcelona in 1995.

Almost 30 years later, he resides in Barcelona with his Spanish family and shares his love of Spain and “its way of living.” 

Jan admitted that learning Spanish was “a struggle from day one,” but his mind was set; he knew that language was the key to unlocking the “unique and diverse world” that is within Spain.

Even back in 1995, when there were much fewer expatriates than today, Jan remembers how welcoming the Spanish community was. “I think Spain is the most welcoming country in the world because they are so used to having people from all over the world coming to see it.”

Now, Jan´s social circle is made up of Swedish, Spanish and European nations. He believes in a strong expatriate community: “Foreigners in Spain have the most in common with each other, no matter where they come from. Out of the entire planet, they choose to come here and that shows the kind of values that they have and the lifestyle they desire.” 

At the same time, Jan´s first piece of advice to those moving is to learn the language. “It limits you so much if you don´t speak Spanish. You completely miss out on an authentic experience of Spain if you can´t understand its people.”

One of Jan´s favourite things about Spain is its diversity and uniqueness from region to region. He has travelled everywhere from Bilbao to Costa Blanca and Madrid and continues to explore the country. 

He admits that he loves the climate but that also varies across Spain and with the country´s rich culture, unmatchable scenery and welcoming people; he has learnt that “Spain is so much more than just the sun.”

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Written by

Anna Akopyan

Originally from Moscow, with Russian and Armenian origins, Anna has lived in Costa Blanca for over ten years. She is passionate about singing, acting and traveling.

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