Live the life, speak the language.Spain News | Live the life, speak the language.

Thu 7 March 2019

Spain News | Live the life, speak the language.

Live the life, speak the language.

March 7, 2019

Live the life, speak the language.

When Jacaranda Spain are working with their northern European clients helping them find their dream home here on the Costa Blanca you will hear the clients make lists of changes they want in their lives and learning the Spanish language is one of them.

Can I get by, living in Spain, without speaking Spanish?

The simple answer is “yes”. A lot of English ex pats live in Spain and make little or no attempt to learn the language. Perhaps the intention was there and they just never got round to it, or they tried and gave up. It has to be said that this is a major cop out. If you have bought your dream home in Spain, whether its a holiday home or a permanent move, surely you want to maximise the experience? Immerse yourself in the culture and integrate.

Six very good reasons to learn the language;

  1. To better integrate. You will feel part of the local community if you can communicate and converse.
  2. Feel confident about handling officialdom. Everything from residency documents to handling your tax declaration. Most ex pats have a gestor (legal advisor) to help with this but it still helps to be able to understand what’s going on.
  3. Healthcare. Most doctors have a basic level of English at least but again, it is so much better to be able to explain what the problem is in Spanish.
  4. Answering the phone. Even if your first response is to explain that you speak a little Spanish and can they speak slowly please? So much better than expecting the caller to speak English.
  5. Ordering in a restaurant/bar or checking in to a hotel. Most native people who work in the tourist industry can speak English but when you are travelling in Spain, off the beaten track, it may be very useful to be able to get your point across or ask for directions in Spanish.
  6. Its good for you! Learning a language has been scientifically proven to regenerate brain cells and help in the fight against dementia and Altzheimers. Not only that, but imagine how much more confident you will be when you achieve even a basic level of conversational Spanish.


How to successfully learn the language;

  1. Most of the towns and villages in the Jalon Valley have organised group classes. These are often subsidised by the government and, in some cases they are free of charge! so there are really no excuses. Once you get your residency documents sorted out go to your local ayuntamiento (town hall) and put yourself on the “Padron”. This is like the electoral role. Ask to receive email notifications of any meetings or informative gatherings that may concern you. This will include language courses for all levels, beginner to intermediate and advanced.
  2. You may prefer private individual classes. Ask around with your neighbours and friends. There are plenty of teachers operating independently, they will come to your house if you prefer.
  3. Integrate. The biggest obstacle in your pursuit to speak the language is you. Have the confidence to go out and use your new found knowledge. You will be amazed at how willing to help the locals are. You will gain friends if you ask people if they would mind chatting to you and ask them to correct you.
  4. Speak Spanish when you ask for things in shops and order in bars and restaurants. Even plan beforehand what you are going to say. “poco a poco” as the Spanish say (little by little) you will find your confidence grows when you get a positive response.
  5. Do your homework! Try to spend 15 minutes a day learning new vocabulary and grammar. Verb formation and tenses can be challenging but don’t let it put you off. For the first 4 years living in Spain I spoke only in the present tense, I could usually make myself understood!
  6. Have Spanish TV installed as well as your favourite English channels. My best education in Spanish was, and still is, a programme called España Directo on channel La1. It is a topical programme with national news from all over Spain. Every week day there are fascinating current events and stories about customs and fiestas in all the different regions and cities. Translate key words and listen carefully. You will be amazed how quickly your ear becomes accustomed to it.
  7. Listen to Spanish radio channels as often as possible, especially news channels.
  8. Try to read Spanish newspapers and magazines. Even if you learn one new word a day, you are still learning and expanding your mind.
  9. Look for a good language school and start a course.
  10. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Take it seriously but, at the same time, keep it fun and learn to laugh at yourself. After all you will learn more from your mistakes!

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