Before moving to Spain, a lot of expats start worrying about the language barrier that might hinder their lives’ progress in Spain and become a burden for them. It is, however, important to understand the complexity of language and whether English is widely spoken in Spain or not.
How well is English Spoken in Spain?
Generally, the Spanish do not speak English, no. In fact, according to the latest poll from Spain’s CIS state research institute, 60% of Spaniards recognize that they can’t speak, read or write in English. This may sound discouraging at first, but it is not as bad as it sounds.
Firstly, if you’re going to move to either Barcelona or Madrid, not speaking Spanish will not be a problem. You will need a few handy phrases to help you get by, but the general daily activities can be done, albeit with a little bit of hassle, without needing to speak Spanish. In Barcelona, people do not even speak Spanish as their main language, but a lot of the locals who work at restaurants, bars, cafes, and shopping malls know a few phrases.
In Barcelona, however, you can easily get back and make friends from all over the world and not feel like you’re missing out on anything, while in Madrid, you might feel like a bit of a foreigner.
You’ll have to choose whether you’re going to learn the language and start hanging out with locals to help you advance linguistically, or you can choose to be in your own expat-bubble and only make English-speaking friends.
English Levels in Different Spanish Cities
If you’re going to be moving to cities like Valencia, Malaga, Granada, Alicante or Seville for example, English is not widely spoken, and you will need to at least take a basic course in Spanish to help you get by.
You would probably feel a little bit isolated as there aren’t as much expats and tourists there. The inland towns, the villages, the coastal areas – any cities with less tourists – will need you to speak either Spanish or even their own dialects like Catalan or Andaluz.
According to most studies, Spain has the least number of English speakers than most other European countries, and you’ll have to come prepared.
Dating In Spain–English Isn’t Enough
Spain is known for very beautiful people. Both the men and women are adored by travelers.
However, Spanish culture can be very cliquey. Especially the women, who are known to be cold at first. Not knowing the language will make getting past this barrier even harder! And if you’re looking to develop a long-term relationship in Spain, then learning the language is essential.
Why is English not widely Spoken in Spain?
First, you’ll come to realize after living in Spain for a while that everything is dubbed. From the websites, to the magazines, to the series, to the movies, everything is dubbed over in Spanish, so they never watch any movies or series in English (which is one of the most effective ways of learning a language). Moreover, even though, a lot of them have taken English for years in school, it was never taught seriously, and a lot of people did not end up taking these classes seriously.
Here’s Our Advice:
Don’t rush, and don’t panic, a few Spanish words will get you through most situations until you learn some basic Spanish (which you will be picking up easily!) and keep in mind that all of the touristy places and a lot of the people under 30 are much better in English than other Spanish people. Do not be afraid to ask for help, everyone (no matter how bad their English is) is more than willing to help.
P.S. Looking to learn Spanish?
Then check out the Rocket Spanish language course. It’s the most effective course we’ve found to take you from no Spanish to having conversations with natives. They have a free-trial, so no worries if you don’t want to commit right away.