How was your adaptation process in Spain?

Everyone goes through an adjustment process when  moving to a new city. Adjusting to a new culture and country is like other transitions, but often a little more involved because of the culture and language differences. Being able to adjust to your new environment and culture is perhaps one of the most crucial facets of your experience abroad.

How was your experience? How long did it take to be fully adapted?

Great topic for discussion. I've been in Spain for only 1 month. Still sorting out my work visa but here with my boyfriend (Spanish). The adaption process has had it's highs and lows. The positive side of things: I'm in a small city and my boyfriend has lots of friends in the city and introduced me to many people. It's a small community where people always greet you when they see you, neighbours or even strangers in the street. They will always say good morning or hello, which makes me feel good about being here. I can't say whether it's the same in larger cities. Maybe with older people. This part of Spanish culture is great for helping expats feel welcome.
In small cities there is a stronger sense of community. People like to look out for each other. My boyfriend is in the military and recently had to return to full time work in another city 4.5 hours away, so I'm on my own for the weekdays and left to fend for myself. It means I have to spend a lot of time on my own and whilst I keep myself busy, it has be tough as well. 
My boyfriend's family are extremely warm and friendly which has been helpful. They go out of their way to make sure I'm not on my own too much and that we have lunch once or twice in the week. They don't speak English at all and I have to go through total immersion in the Spanish language. It's good but if I haven't been practising or if I'm tired or not in the mood to speak Spanish it's a challenge. I think as an expat you have to know there are going to be good days and bad days. There was one day when my data on my mobile phone was finished and I had to have lunch with my boyfriend's parents. I was helpless without it google translate. I can speak Spanish very basically but occasionally need help from the translator if I don't know a word. On that particular day I simply wanted to tell them that I wanted to print my bus ticket (to go to my boyfriend's city). Such a simple sentence left us all confused and me feeling flustered an down. It involved walking down the street to ask a neighbour who vaguely spoke English to find out what I was trying to say. It's embarrassing, especially because I'm educated and I feel very dumb not being able to express myself. As I said, there are highs and lows, good and bad days. It was one of those moments which disheartened me very much. I felt like giving up and flying back home. But then the following week my brain was working, I made sure I had data on my mobile phone in case I needed it for some words and it was a much better day. Spanish people are very warm and I've been amazing how patient and open my boyfriend's parents are towards me and the language barrier.
I'm not one to suffer homesickness, since I've traveled a lot and I've lived away for long periods of time from my family a friends. I don't know if it's because I'm getting older and more comfortable in my home city with my family but I am now facing the prospect of permanently moving to Spain. My boyfriend want to eventually to get married and start a family. While sitting around in Australia I daydreamed how great it will be, but now that I am here, the reality of leaving Australia permanently is sinking in. I plan to return to Australia yearly and I know that at least one family member will visit me once a year. However, I think about how easy the most basic daily things are back home and how there are many more hurdles and challenges here for me. Indeed it's a great sacrifice but on the other side, I am with a beautiful, loving, humble man, who makes me laugh and small all the time. Despite the challenges I am actually so lucky to be in an incredibly beautiful little city on the Mediterranean with great weather, fabulous people, and so many little towns to discover on weekends. My close friendship with my boyfriend's mother and aunt has been fantastic. I am learning traditional Spanish cooking and baking - I love cooking so it's excellent!
I'm not sure how long its going to take me to adapt. I think after one year of being immersed in the language, things could be a little easier.

Here is another perspective....
My wife and I live in Cordoba, a nice calm city where nobody speaks English.
I am retired and she is working as a Montessori teacher.
Neither of us speak Spanish yet and so don't have many friends.
Getting legal here with NIE/residency permits was a bit of a nightmare but has been achieved.
I love the natural environment and spend as much time in it as I can - being a photographer keeps me busy.
We have adapted quite well, although we have both lived abroad before and are used to being flexible and adapting to the local culture.
We can live well here on my modest UK pension and her equally modest salary.
So adaptation is a personal issue based on your situation, focus and temperament.
Good luck, I hope you achieve your dreams.

I've been in Spain for 11 years now and I'll tell you when I'm fully adapted.

As SuperAlbeee says being reduced to stupid by the lack of language is the worst thing but, generally, Spain is a reasonably easy country to adapt to and Spaniards are perfectly welcoming at a superficial level.

It's an interesting place. I have no regrets at all about moving here though I could spend hours complaining about Spain and Spaniards and about the same amount of time singing the praises of Spain and Spaniards

Continued... the adaption process... Months on update.
I'm back in Melbourne, Australia for the month, sorting out my visa and sorting out moving permanently. While I was in Spain there was a social situation with my boyfriend's group of friends involving 2 females in the group. As much as I tried my best to connect with them, I wasn't able to. Unfortunately I have come to learn that  whilst women are generally very warm, friendly, helpful and open (family members), there can also be envy and jealousy towards foreign women who are educated, come from reasonably comfortable back grounds and from a wealthy economically strong country like Australia. If you mix with women who are from working class back grounds, not educated and don't speak much English... unless they really want or need something from you (like they really want to learn English), the probability of making friends is low. .

In Spain not everyone is educated. A lot of people don't go on to do university, nor do they bother to learn or study English. The other frustrating point of life for people there is unemployment. I have work, both from Australia (online) with my architecture job which I set up myself, and I have teaching work in Spain. I can see how it would be frustrating for some local Spaniards to sit back and watch foreigners quickly snap up a job, when they have to work very hard in menial jobs they don't like for very low wages. 

I've had a bit of an unhappy experience dealing with a couple of women who have been rude to me in social situations and after some discussion with a another friend who knows them, and is similar to me (educated working professional), I was told there are jealousy issues.

Socialising has been more challenging than I realised it would be for this reason. I'm still finding my feet. There's a couple of female friends I've made friends with. The things I have in common with them; we're either expats, university educated, speak English or they want to learn/practice their English for free and/or working professional women. Actually all of the people I feel I have a good friendship with are working professional women.

In Australia it's not entirely like that. It doesn't always matter if people don't have the same level of education. My best friend didn't go to university. But we have a solid friendship. For me I've never been interested in classes or levels in society. Spain doesn't appear to be superficial like that, but perhaps I haven't had enough social experience yet. I'm also not a person hung up on classes. I think being friends with people in all different levels of society keeps you grounded and down to earth. So when people reject you and then you're limited to socialising with only people "of your level", it's a little bit disappointing and sad. But let's hope there are other nice people to prove me wrong.

I'd be interested to learn if any other expat women have experienced similar to me? Difficulties socialising?

Socializing  hasn't been easy for me in Spain.  Even though I'm colombian and spanish is my first language, I've found that I share more things in common with the expat community.
I've  lived half of my life in Canada and there you don't see  a society so openly divided based on the socioeconomic status while in Spain you do.  To be absolutely honest, my relationship with spaniards women has been difficult,  this is my personal experience, I don't want to generalize, I find women here with strong characters which it can a good thing but sometimes it goes too far,  they can be really contentious.

I find it really interesting that you use the word 'contentious' because that is my recent experience. I have met some other lovely female friends, but as I mentioned, there is a specific list of criteria which makes a friendship work such as socio economic status, education and English language skills.

I know from conversation with my boyfriend and from my previous experience staying in Alicante, Spain in 2010, there is cultural division between South Americans and Spaniards.

Fingers crossed socialising won't always be so difficult in future.

Fascinating to hear women from one side of the world expressing dissatisfaction or dislike of other women's behavior when . . . *as a woman myself*  . . . I have seen the same types of behavior described above by women from the US, Canada, West Indies, Jamaica, Cuba, Argentina, Haiti, Spain . . . in other words: women can be very disagreeable creatures, no matter where they're from!

We just have to deal with who we are, what our female natures and behaviors are . . . and deal with it the best we can.

Women are the same all over the world!  Hang in there, we all eventually find our own best companions, no matter where we live.


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