Because you’re happy!

happy graph
Ambassador urges British residents to follow the example of those who are most content

Some of the secrets to happy living in Spain are revealed in a new survey by the British Embassy on how expatriates adjust to a life in the sun.

Integration into the Spanish way of life is the key, the survey reveals. More than half of the British residents who responded say they speak Spanish regularly with friends and neighbours, enjoy Spanish food, use the Spanish healthcare system and employ Spanish tradespeople. The adjective ‘happy’ is the word that they most commonly use to describe their lives in Spain, followed by ‘relaxed’ and ‘content’.

But some Brits admit to getting by without learning Spanish or registering on the padrón, and fail to make Spanish friends or keep up with Spanish news and politics, all things that appear to help others get more out of living in Spain.

Almost 1600 people responded to the British Embassy’s ‘Integrometer’ online survey into levels of resident integration. Two-thirds live in Andalucia or the Comunidad de Valencia, where there are some high concentrations of British residents and integration is often low. Further significant numbers live in the Canaries, Murcia, the Balearics, Catalunya and the Madrid region.*

Commenting on the survey, British ambassador Simon Manley said,“It’s great to see so many Brits saying they are happy and content in Spain as a result of their efforts to integrate into local life. I would definitely urge others to follow their example. If you are settling here, the first and most important thing to do is to register on the padrón. That way you can access the health and social services you may need now or in future.

“If you fail to register, then you can’t expect support from the Spanish system later. Some of the most tragic cases that we see in our Consulates are the consequences of people having moved to Spain – often years earlier – but not signing up on the padrón or integrating into their local Spanish communities.”

Nine out of 10 people say they are registered on the padrón, which implies that one in 10 survey respondents have yet to do so. More than half say they have a Spanish will, and over 50% have a Spanish driving licence.

Two thirds are registered for Spanish healthcare, with another 13% having private medical insurance. But an alarming 16% admit they have failed to provide for their healthcare in Spain, leaving them at serious risk of difficulties in the event of an accident or illness.

Spanish food proves popular. Nearly a quarter say they eat a Spanish meal every day, and eight out of ten do so at least once a week. Only 6% say they eat a Spanish meal less than once a month.

Brits in Spain Facebook Page A Hit!

BLIS - 4000 likes
Since it’s launch in November of last year the British Consular network “Brits Living in Spain” facebook page has been ‘liked by over 4000 people delighted at the easy access to information it gives them.
Unsure how to report a crime to the Spanish Policía Nacional in English? What are your healthcare rights? Know how to renew your passport or get one in an emergency? The answers to these and many other important issues can be found on the page, and, according to the Embassy, “the secret to its popularity is that it offers both factual information and a lively forum for sharing experiences and reliable information about life in Spain.” Some of the comments posted on the page include: “Brilliant..keep up the good work” , “Great page…excellent idea and comments for ex-pats here in Spain”, and “It’s an interesting way to get in touch with other Brits in Spain – and the passport and legal info is good.”
The British Consular network also says, “we encourage British nationals to keep in touch with their local Town hall and our new Facebook page is a way for us to share relevant content from town halls and other organisations more widely”, which makes so much sense for all of us ex-pats living in whatever part of Spain we find ourselves. Here on the English Time site we are always delighted to share information and news from the Embassy and the Consulate, and they are also very helpful when we need information. Everybody wins!
Brits Living in Spain is run and moderated by the British Consular network. It is a sister channel to the British Embassy’s UKinSpain facebook channel, which focuses on institutional and political information.
Residents who are Twitter fans and want to keep up with the latest news from the Consular network can also follow @BritsliveSpain , as well as the comments and thoughts of the British Ambassador on @SimonManleyFCO.
How to: Go to and “like” us. If you don’t already have an account you will be prompted to create one. If you are already on Facebook, then search for the “Brits living in Spain” Facebook page and once on it, click on “like”.

Brits Living in Spain promotion (2)

Charmaine Arbouin, new British Consul

charmaineThe British Embassy today (24 June) announced that Charmaine Arbouin has been appointed as British Consul for the Consulates covering the Canary Islands and Andalucia.
Charmaine has more than 20 years’ experience of managing people and resources in the public and not-for-profit sectors. She was previously a consultant to local and central government organisations in the UK, specialising in public sector performance improvement. She has also developed and managed customer contact services in Nottinghamshire. She has a degree in Hispanic Studies from the University of Hull.
Charmaine said: “I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to work with the British and Spanish communities and authorities in both Andalucia and the Canaries. I am very much looking forward to building on the existing great work undertaken by the Consulates to ensure that Britons living or visiting Andalucia and the Canaries continue to receive excellent support when they most need it.”
Charmaine has lived with her family in Andalucia for the last eight years, first in Alpandeire and now in Ronda. Her engagement with the Spanish public health, administrative and education systems – as an expatriate resident – has given her an insight into many of the challenges and benefits experienced by those visiting or living in Spain.
Dave Thomas, Consular Regional Director for southern Europe, said: “I’m very pleased that we have managed to recruit such a high calibre new Consul. Charmaine has an impressive background in senior management and will play a strategic role in the further development of our consular services in Spain.”
The Consulates that cover southern Spain are among the busiest in the world. The new Consul will oversee the work of teams in Las Palmas, Malaga and Tenerife, who provide on-the-ground assistance to British nationals.
The region covered by the Malaga office sees some five million British visitors every year, and is home to around 350,000 British residents. The Consulates in Tenerife and Las Palmas, together with the Honorary Consul in Lanazarote, serve 3.5 million British visitors and some 85,000 residents.
Charmaine Arbouin replaces Steve Jones, who is now managing the Foreign Office’s global Contact Centre programme.

New British Ambassador to Spain appointed

News just in from the British Embassy in Madrid is that Mr Simon Manley CMG has been appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Spain, and non-resident Ambassador to Andorra. He will succeed Mr Giles Paxman CMG LVO. Mr Manley will take up his appointment during October 2013.

More information here:s300_Simon_Manley