Was article fair or unfair to the Brits?

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© William Helsen.
MARKET SHOPPING: Very Spanish way of life in La Cala.

AN Alicante newspaper recently wrote about British residents. It quoted claims from ‘various sources’ that despite being home to tens of thousands of Britons only 10 per cent are integrated into local society.

“The rest live in an archipelago of settlements where the foreigners speak Spanish, where shops display prices in pounds sterling and all services – from plumbers to legal advisers – are advertised and conducted in English.”

Curiosity aroused, the Euro Weekly News asked around amongst long-term expats if they agreed.

“It depends where you go,” said Angela Bruce from Altea after a moment’s reflection.  “I’ve never come across it myself. But I’ve lived here a long time and have Spanish friends.”

She reads the Spanish press along with morning coffee in her favourite Spanish-owned bar and saw the article.  As she and other expats who read or heard about it pointed out, the views of Spanish bureaucracy were inaccurate.  

6 COMMENTS

  1. Having Valencia Life Magazine for a number of years, and lived on the Costa Blanca for well over 20, to some extent the article is right.. What doesn’t help the situation is that they cram themselves together in UK enclaves where no Spanish is spoken, so they don’t see why they should bother when they go out – grabbing things off a supermarket shelf hardly requires any Spanish, whilst all they need to do is look at the till to find out how much they’ve spent. In a bar? No problem point to that or this and put up as many fingers as there are people in the group. Do the Spaniards find this insulting? Yes highly, but the colour of their money is OK.

  2. I’d like to see the percentages for the other nationalities before I comment fully although it is worth bearing in mind that a lot of non-English expats use their own language too and English is widely spoken around the world. Unless fluent, it is pretty difficult to have an in-depth discussion in any language that is not your own.

    My experience contradicts the assertion but a large percentage of British expats are pensioners and learning a new language when you’re older is extremely difficult. The younger British people I know who work over here, all speak Spanish.

  3. I could never live in another country without learning the language and adapting to the culture and way of life, otherwise what’s the point. But it is the fault of the Government or local authorities who do not make an effort to change the ways of the foreign residents, help them integrate instead of sitting back and watch the cash roll in.

  4. In many areas with a large percentage of British residents the article would have been genwerally true and rarely is integration likely to be more than 20%
    Integration implies speaking spanish reasonably, shopping in spanish shops, eating spanish foods in spanish restaurants, joining spanish organisations and going on trips and day outs as minority of members of spanish groups suchas as Amas de Casas or Pensionistas, entertaining Spanish as well as British neighbours and being asked to eat iwith Spanish families.

  5. we first came here in 1987- my husband spoke 8 languages- spanish being one as he had worked here for UBS. our son was 8yrs when we came here and he went to spanish school – valenciano and castellon. it was hard for him but he got there.
    I was happier speaking valenciano having done and forgotten french at school. I tried- I got by- enjoyed life.
    it was a multi national area. My husband died in 1997 and I moved to another area multi national
    everything was fine untill more and more brits moved in and tried to change everything as they had in thelast place. Very few learnt the language- I went back to the uk for 15months and now (in a spanish village am trying to remember what I did once know!!!
    kay

  6. Just go to Benidorm if you dare.It is worse than any sink estate in Britain.The poor Spanish must be traumatised every time thet see a man in high heels,wig
    and shorts going around Mercadonna with his bottle of Vodka tucked down his vest displaying his pierced nipples at 10.00am in the morning.
    Integration you ask?
    Well how many Spaniards have you tripped over rececently in this attire and what is more this is the norm!
    The poor Maria gets a mouthful of abuse if she looks sideways.
    And we decry bullfighting?
    what audacity?

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