Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Has the Costa del Sol lost its expat charm?

Many locations divide opinion but few as dramatically as the Costa del Sol. As George Orwell once wrote in 1938: "The only way I could get along was to carry everywhere a small dictionary which I whipped out of my pocket at moments of crisis. But I would sooner be a foreigner in Spain than in most countries. How easy it is to make friends in Spain!"

Source Damejiar

For many years expats and in particular those from Britain have tended to hold the same view, tempted to the region Sol by sun, sangria and a laid back lifestyle. Recently however, this charming coast has been more widely a recognised as the Costa Del Crime due to its reputation as a hotspot for gangsters and crooks. The result of this has been speculation about how welcome the expat population remains in the region with The Guardian suggesting that many make very little attempt to integrate with the local community.

Integration is one of the biggest issues facing expats and is something that we’ve blogged about previously on several occasions. So is it that Spanish locals are just much less willing to embrace expats or is there just a lack of effort on the expat part?

According to the HSBC Expat Explorer survey and its (snazzy new tool) Spain is the 3rd easiest country in the world to integrate especially when compared to some of its European neighbours. What’s more it’s also ranked 9th in the world in terms of ease of making friends which makes the Guardian’s article all the more surprising. Perhaps the issue is that with such a large number of expats living in the region the temptation is to stay within the familiar expat community rather than experience the local culture and traditions.

Undoubtedly the integration hurdle is one of the most challenging for many expats but equally once overcome can lead to lifelong friendships and a more enriched experience of life overseas. Tell us your thoughts!

1 comment:

  1. We have lived in in different parts of Spain and the islands for almost 20 years. Our children were born here. They are now in school here and we have just purchased our family home near the beautiful village of Mijas.
    Myself and my husband have lived all around the world and we have chosen Mijas on the Costa Del Sol as our family home as we believe it is a perfect place for our children to grow up.
    The biggest problem with mainly foreigners (mainly Brits) is that they move to Spain in a bubble.
    Be warned, that bubble will burst! Do your research, get advice and don't be influenced by people selling things to you ... they will always paint the perfect picture.
    Move to Spain with your eyes wide open and you will hopefully love what you discover ... the warmth, not only of the climate but also of the people and their customs and traditions.


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