A recent survey of Brits living in Spain heralded very interesting results, suggesting that despite the reputation that they rely on speaking English, only eat British food and only socialise with other Brits, most of those who live there enjoy a very British life.

The survey asked people to use one word to describe how they felt about living in Spain and the word “happy” was the most used, while “relaxed” and “content” were also popular. When looking further into the lives of the respondents, the survey revealed that over 50% spoke Spanish with the locals and friends, enjoyed Spanish food, had gone through the bureaucracy required to join the Spanish health service and regularly used Spanish workmen.

If you do your best to integrate into local society and get to know your neighbours you will feel “happy, relaxed and content” too.

Perhaps to some it is obvious, but if you do your best to integrate into local society and get to know your neighbours you will feel “happy, relaxed and content” too. Learning the language would have to be top of your list. You don’t have to speak it perfectly, just well enough to communicate, to understand and to be understood. That’s the road to friendship and a good social life -as proven by this survey.

Spanish food is very good and uses much the same ingredients as we do in the UK: meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, eggs and chocolate! There really is no reason not to try Spanish cuisine – and though you may not like everything, there are bound to be lots of dishes that you will enjoy. You’ll just have to get used to eating meals later than you did in Britain.

Spain News - Seafood paella

Spanish food is very good and uses much the same ingredients as we do in the UK.

As for joining the health service, this will have to be number two on your list. You will need to register on the padrón; a list of residents held in every town hall. In fact, if you have a property in Spain you should register anyway – even if you won’t be living there full time. The sad thing is that the Embassy’s survey discovered that in the region of 16% of British people have not made any provision for health care at all, though nine out of ten people surveyed had registered on the padrón and 66% were under the Spanish health system. A further 13% were covered by private medical insurance.

If you are not registered at your local town hall you will be unable to access social and health care services should you need them. The British Embassy sees several tragic cases each year involving British people who haven’t registered, are not in the health system and don’t speak Spanish.

You will need to register on the padrón; a list of residents held in every town hall. In fact, if you have a property in Spain you should register anyway – even if you won’t be living there full time.

The Embassy says that in the region of 300,000 people are registered in their local town hall, but it is known that there could be as many as double that number who live in Spain permanently or part of the year. None of them will be able access local services and though many may have private medical insurance, it is without doubt even more who will have made no provision.

If you want to join the majority of those surveyed and feel “happy, relaxed and content”, make sure you are registered, learn Spanish and then go out and enjoy a delicious Spanish meal while speaking the lingo with your local Spanish friends.

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