Brit expats versus Spaniards on stereotyping

Published:  8 Apr at 6 PM
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Tagged: Spain, UK, Euro, England
One of the most difficult adjustments UK expats in the Costas have to make concerns the cultural differences between the British way of life and that of Spain.

Living overseas may well be the adventure of a lifetime but it’s also fraught with challenges, especially for older expats who’ve decided to retire in sunny climes. Spain is one of Europe’s most popular expat hubs, perhaps due to the fact that it was one of the first European countries to jump on the bandwagon of cheap flights. For holidaymakers from chilly countries such as the UK, the decision to retire on the Mediterranean coast was a no-brainer.

However, whilst the weather warms expat hearts, the chill of cultural differences and the clashes they cause cast shadows over the new experience for many new arrivals. Spaniards, for example, see Brits as hardworking and serious, whilst most Brits find fault with the Spanish education system, especially if they’ve retired early and still have secondary school-aged children.Trying to get an explanation from anyone of whatever nationality can be tricky, especially when it concerns cultural stereotypes.

Spaniards, it seems, always have time for a coffee and a relaxation session in a local café, and can’t understand the British obsession with time being of the essence. Rushing around between activities, meetings and suchlike simply isn’t on. The Spanish way is more likely to include the word ‘manyana’, beloved by Mexicans who, of course, got it from the Spanish several centuries ago.

One stereotypical Spanish view impossible for any British expat to deny is the statement that the UK has appalling weather. Let’s face it, that’s why 761,000 Brits are holed up in Southern Spain knocking back lager whilst the sun sets. Sadly, the British invasion has all but wrecked the formerly lovely Malaga coastline, with monstrous hotels and streets of bars invading the mysterious land of Andalus with its matadors and sensual Spanish dancers.

As regards Brit views of Spaniards, laziness comes at the head of the list, followed immediately by Spanish banking hours. Bank workers in Spain clock off at an incredible 13.00 in the afternoon, leaving anyone who needs their services totally bereft. The siesta may well be a Spanish invention, but many Brits see it as pure self-indulgence on the part of an entire race.
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