I’m moving to Alicante: Should I learn Spanish?

I’m moving to Alicante: Should I learn Spanish?

So you’ve decided to take the step and now you’re asking yourself, I’m moving to Alicante: Should I learn Spanish? In this brief article I’ll give you my thoughts on the matter and also some links to some useful information.

More than anything what would influence my decision if I was in your position is the amount of time I intend to spend in Spain. If you are only thinking of coming for a couple of years or extended holidays then I would say that it isn’t really necessary to make a serious effort to learn Spanish unless it’s something you want to do any way. The reason I say this is that in today’s society, unless you are visiting some official body like the tax office or the doctor for example then the truth be told you don’t really have to speak to anyone unless you want to.

If you take a normal day here on the Costa Blanca which is a place very used to dealing with tourists and foreign travellers you will be able to use a restaurant, a bar, a supermarket and a petrol station without needing a command of the language and in fact I know quite a few people who have managed to live in this part of the world for many years without knowing more than a few words of Spanish, so yes it’s very possible to live here without learning Spanish.

On the other hand if you are thinking of moving here permanently and have the intention of spending the rest of your days in this part of the world then I would recommend that you make the effort. Now you may be saying to yourself, Oh I’ve never been any good at languages and everybody speaks English anyway, so I don’t think I’ll bother and yes as I mentioned earlier you’ll be able to live here without any Spanish but even if you only manage to learn the very basics your life will become easier and more enjoyable.

If you are planning on spending the rest of your life in Spain then I would urge you to give the language your best shot and I have very good reasons for saying this. It’s been well over 20 years since I first came to Alicante and I’ve lived in a few areas in the province and I have travelled up and down the coast because of my work. During this time I have met a lot of people and I have heard their stories. Over time I have realised that as people get older and have to visit the doctor more often that their not being able to at least get by in Spanish can make their lives difficult.

Of course they’re able to hire the services of an interpreter and a translator and these can be hired very reasonably but unfortunately here’s the catch. If you are living in one of the countless Urbanisations you will definitely be recommended the services of someone who speaks your language and for arguments sake we’ll say this is English, so you’ll be recommended someone who speaks both English and Spanish and who is very popular with your neighbours because their rates are so good and most of the time things things go well. The reason I say most of the time is that there are a lot of so called interpreters wandering around whose command of the language isn’t what it should be and at times this can lead to confusion, so be warned.

One very important thing to remember is that after a while once the novelty has worn off and you settle down normal life goes on as it would anywhere else. People get older and people get ill and eventually people die of course with all of the usual stages in between. So now would be the time to ask yourself would you rather be able to tell the doctor personally what ails you or your partner or would you be happy to talk about your health problems through a third person. Of course I have chosen health as an example because it makes the situation very clear but the example can be used to cover all aspects of life in Spain.

Summary

I’m moving to Alicante: Should I learn Spanish?

By now I suppose you have gathered that in my opinion you should try to learn Spanish if you are thinking of coming to live here on a full time basis and now that we have that clear here is a little advice about Spain and the Spanish Language.

Even though Castellano or Español/Spanish is the official language of Spain, there are other languages spoken in this country and whether speaking Spanish will be of much help to you will depend on where you are. In the Valencian Community for example, there is also the Co-Official Language of Valenciano/Valencian, which doesn’t sound much like Spanish and there are some small towns where this is the main language used and some inhabitants have even been known to refuse to speak Spanish at all but don’t worry this is an exception. Other languages in Spain include: Catalan and Aranese in Catalonia, Basque in the Basque Country, and Galician in Galicia. There are more in other regions but these are the co-official languages and thus the most prevalent.

If you’d like to check out the different languages in more detail then click here.

If you’d like to start learning Spanish straight away for free then click here.

Before I go, if you’d like to know more about me and the services I can offer you then click here.

If there’s anything you’d like me to add or change then just leave a comment in the box below.

Cheers and ’till the next time,

JP

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