Hi, my name is Ellis Ware, and this is my view on the pros and cons of being an English person living in Spain.
Straight off the bat, cons (bad things) out-weighed pros (good things) by quite a margin. The first couple of months after moving to Spain were very stressful. Not speaking a single word of Spanish was terrifying, to be frank and it took me a while to feel comfortable in my new surroundings. I didn’t feel unwelcome, in fact quite the opposite. Everyone I met was kind and as helpful as they could be. In short, despite a few hiccups, I managed to incorporate myself quite well into life in Spain.
Later on, as I established solid relationships with friends and my grasp of the language grew firmer, many advantages became apparent. Most importantly I am able to switch between the two languages at will... that is very useful and has sometimes been a neat party trick!
Other benefits such as understanding words in Spanish, because of their similarity to English, have helped me to learn the language faster. With my understanding of these two languages many others open up. For example, I can understand written French quite well although when it is spoken I soon get lost!
Lately however, I have been experiencing other things. A desire for conversation in greater depth about the things that interest me, in the freedom of my first language, is something I’ve never had. I spend a lot of time online, speaking with dozens of friends I have in the UK and America. This helps me to exercise my English.
I generally don’t mix with the other English students. I don’t like the idea of emphasizing the fact that I’m English… I have spent over half of my life trying to prevent exactly that. I have yet to find another English speaker interested in the same things as me, so I have mingled and still mix with Spanish people far more. The rest of my family think along the same lines and are keen to be part of our local society.
I could tell you much more, but these are the things that have come immediately to mind.
Despite coming originally from a different country, I feel Spanish as well as English and I admit that I have enjoyed and appreciated the opportunity to tell a simplified version of my experiences in Spanish school (but in English for a change!).
Ellis Ware 3ºB