Spain Speaks

Living in Spain is not for everyone

I came across an article on a Spain expat blog about a guy that had decided that Spain was not the country for him. 

The article, titled “I hate Spain – Why I hate living in Spain and why I am leaving” and written by Nick Anders, disillusioned expat, is a list of gripes that caused him to leave the country and go back to the UK. 

Obviously, Spain is not going to please everyone. 

There are many things that frustrate me about living in this country. In fact, I recently made a video on the topic

It’s not easy to move from the place that have known all your life to a place that, in some ways, is very different. 

I’d say that it takes the average foreigner at least a few years to get used to living here. 

And some of the points he made do frustrate me. But I reckon that I could easily come up with a similar list for Australia if I had to.

Here are some of his main complaints. 

  • Crime. 
  • Living and working
  • Customer service
  • Getting ripped off
  • Poor roads/facilities

I can agree with him on two of the points – Customer Service and Poor Roads

Customer service in Spain can be shocking. Rarely will you get a smile from a waiter, barperson, shop assistant, or nearly anybody in a service job. 

Very few people are willing to do that little bit extra. 

A  recent visit to Australia further strengthened my opinion on this subject. 

Waiters were, in general, polite, talkative, smiling, attentive and ready to refill your glass of water without having to ask. 

When you do get a smile in Spain it’s only if you frequent the place and get to know the person. 

Poor roads have also become the norm in recent years. At least in the area that I live, which is about 20km from the centre of Madrid. 

In fact, one pothole has been there for about five years. And it is in the middle of a very busy shopping area. 

The fact is that government spending had been slashed since 2009 and there has been no money for road maintenance, so driving can be a bumpy experience. 

The other things he mentioned are not so much of an issue for me. 

Living in Spain is not for everyone

Crime exists but I don’t think it’s a problem. In fact, I feel safer here than I do in Australia. At least when it comes to going out at night. 

There is only a fraction of the alcohol-related violence here compared to Australia. 

People go out to enjoy themselves. They drink and eat, talk loudly, but I have hardly ever seen a physical fight. Most arguments end at the verbal stage. 

Street crimes are the most common. But if you keep your wits about you, you should be able to avoid problems. 

Living and (especially) working in Spain takes a little longer to get used to. 

The job market sucks and work hours can be long. Salaries are low but in line with the cost of living. 

I have adapted to the timetable here and it’s not all that bad. My particular line of work is unlike the main market because of the demand. It could change in the future. 

The last point, Getting Ripped Off, is part of life anywhere. Spain is no different. Don’t give your money to the first person you meet. Do your due diligence if you are going to invest here, and learn to speak the language to understand what is going on around you. 

Not learning the language could lead to the sensation of thinking that people are trying to take advantage of you. 

It can happen, but It’s not the norm. 

Leave a comment below if you have an opinion on the topic. 

Hasta luego!


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