8 Quotes Tips for the Foreigner in Spain

16 September 2016 1 Comments Category: Ali Meehan, blog, Living in Spain

Life overseas isn’t for everyone – you leave behind many things as you cast off to a foreign shore.  Friends, family, language, scenery will all change, and maybe you will.  Keeping positive, finding ways to enhance your life through the tough parts and getting “ah-ha” moments can all come through things we see, hear, read, or create.  Here’s some of my favourite travel / Spain quotes which might help you on your journey to and around Spain.

Foreigners need to plan

Quotes for an Expat in Spain

‘Someday’ is not a day of the week – Janet Dailey

There are 7 days in the week and ‘Someday’ is not one of them!  This is one of my favourite quotes; inspiring people everywhere to live TODAY rather than setting sail to the ‘Someday Islands’ where you may never arrive.  If you are thinking about relocating to Spain, my advice is that you start by making your plans (with dates) for your move.  Do your research, research, research and work out whether life in Spain is viable (financially as well as emotionally).

Expats are transformers!


“Life might be difficult for a while, but I would tough it out because living in a foreign country is one of those things that everyone should try at least once. My understanding was that it completed a person, sanding down the rough provincial edges and transforming you into a citizen of the world. “ – David Sedaris

Excitement ahead – get ready to transform yourself into a resident of Spain!  One of the main gripes I hear from foreigners about Spain is the bureaucracy.  My advice – ‘It’s not wrong, it just is’ – there is no point in fighting a system that won’t change overnight.  Accept that it could take you a whole day to get something organised, stamped, approved.  When it goes right it’s a bonus!  In these post BREXIT vote days, make sure you are legally registered in Spain and have your paperwork in order.

Expats make Friends


I would sooner be a foreigner in Spain than in most countries. How easy it is to make friends in Spain!” – George Orwell

Spain is a very friendly, multicultural country.  Whilst I have to meet my grandchildren via an ethernet cable plugged in to Skype or WhatsApp, I have learnt about the importance of local support.  Having an attitude of friendliness and being open to making new friends and connections outside of your immediate network (and language) has worked for me.  There are many other foreigners around who have lived through the process and they are happy to share their tips!  The important thing for me was to find friends via local meet ups, coffee mornings, social gatherings, clubs, or sports events to make friends, including amongst the Spanish community.  If you are a parent, this can be easier as you connect with other parents via the school gate.  And don’t be afraid to say hello, or hola for the first time; we were all new here once!

Expats Adapt


“Live where you are planted, or plant yourself where you are living.  Such is the life of the long-term expat. We need to learn to live with uncertainty. We must use the ability to adapt and be flexible, required characteristics of all successful expats, to be at home and make a home wherever we are.”

For me, when I first suffered “expat overwhelm” I decided to take a short visit back to the UK.  When in the UK, I realised that, within a short few months, I had changed and my life was now in Spain.   It doesn’t take long to adapt to life in the sunshine.   You soon discover that as Expats we have our own language and understanding of life “overseas”.  After the first initial interest from friends and family, it can be hard for them to understand life in another country and in my experience, makes it difficult to get the same level of support you would get from someone else who has been a foreigner.

Expats learn to Integrate


A year from now you will wish you had started TODAY! – Karen Lamb

My top tip for anyone looking at moving to Spain would be learn the language as soon as you make a decision to move.  There’s no better way to integrate than to speak to your hosts in their language, no matter how poor you feel your Spanish might be.  Whilst learning hundreds of verbs may be the “correct” way to go, jumping in and joining in a conversation, even in the present tense makes you feel like you are integrating.  Some thing I have enjoyed include going to sevillanas classes, pilates and reading magazines (all in Spanish of course).

They’re operating with the understanding that without reaching out and making connections with the people around them, they’re unlikely to have rewarding interactions. They realize that the friendliness and openness of a country is strongly influenced by their own attitude. – Claudia Gonella

And whatever you do – have fun!


“It is not the destination where you end up but the mishaps and memories you create along the way!” Penelope Riley

One Comment

  1. Sam

    All so true and a fitting tribute to the warmth, welcome and generosity of the Spanish in general, they will share a cup of water, bread and stories with you if that is all they have. In Spain the curtains are never closed. Lovely Ali x

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