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Expat Groups in Spain

Submitted: August 2013

Spain is a large country with a population of over 47 million. Around 5.5 million of these are foreign nationals who have come to live and work in the country. For newcomers to Spain, who may have only experienced relaxed holiday times in the country, the pace and way of life on a day to day basis may present a challenge greater than expected. To gain an insight on the way of life from expat websites such as www.expatbriefing.com can be very valuable indeed. A useful source of information, expat websites can explain in detail how to deal with bureaucracy and officialdom in Spain.

Expat groups in Spain are often specifically for individuals originating from a particular country such as the UK, Germany, Italy, France and other European countries. There are also groups for individuals coming from further afield. The tendency for expats in Spain is to stay close to their compatriots to the point where areas become ‘typically’ British or German and so on. This is perhaps because individuals from other European countries do not share a common language in the first place and it is therefore easier to be attached to expats with whom conversations are in one’s mother tongue.

It is easy to find websites for expats living in Spain for different nationalities. Most of these provide forums to allow members to share experiences and give advice on subjects ranging from job hunting, planning permission, service providers and much more. There are also a number of publications such as newspapers and magazines aimed at expat communities and often published in two or three languages.

Expats living in Spain and originating from different countries do not mix to the extent that this is the case in many other countries but that is not to say that all expats stay in their ‘comfort zone’ enclaves. Plenty of opportunity exists for different nationalities to mix. A comprehensive list of activities for expats from all countries living in or near Barcelona can be found here: https://expat.meetup.com/cities/es/barcelona/.  The website also provides links to sites for individuals from specific areas/countries such as Greece and Cyprus, Hong Kong, Scandinavia and France.

There are expat groups in Spain specifically for women such as the Barcelona Ladies Club (El Barcelona Club De Damas) which organises various events ranging from dinners to sight-seeing trips. Another group especially for women is the American Women’s Club in Madrid. The club is a charitable organisation that helps expat women to settle into their new country by offering support and opportunities to meet with other women in the same situation.

In summary, while expat groups can be found in many parts of Spain, newcomers to the country will find it easier to link up with their compatriots as opposed to a wider range of nationalities and/or local Spaniards. Unfortunately, this is how the country specific enclaves in Spain have developed and expats new to the country should be aware of the risk of not integrating into their new country of residence if they concentrate their efforts of integration on these enclaves instead of the wider area.



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