f you’ll be spending a few weeks or months in Spain, or moving there permanently, top of your list of things to do should be meeting and making friends with Spaniards. Living in Spain is amazing but, if you hang out with other foreigners or expats, long-term you’re not experiencing the real Spain or the true Spanish lifestyle. But, if you want to make friends with Spaniards, how do you go about it?
Here are some of the best ways we’ve found:
Learn Spanish and Speak It All the Time – You must speak Spanish to make friends in Spain. Less than 20% of the country speaks English so, if you really wish to make friends with Spaniards, you have no choice.
Plus, Spanish is such a beautiful language and not too difficult to learn (it could be worse — imagine trying to learn Chinese, Japanese or Thai!), and with so many free resources to do so (see this article for free online places to learn Spanish), it won’t even cost you any money.
Don’t forget too, once you’ve picked up a few sentences, use them. On a trip to the grocery store, standing in line at the movie theater, or grabbing a cafe con leche at your local cafe. Speak to anyone and everyone, and you’ll be amazed not only how many Spanish friends you soon have, but how much Spanish you can speak.
Hangout in Cafes – We’ve lived all over the world and, no matter how new we are to a city, we always start hanging out at one or two favorite cafes. They’re awesome places to meet people, whether you’re in Madrid, Barcelona, Bangkok, Shanghai or Los Angeles.
Pick a few cafes you like, and show up at them consistently. Start to talk to the regulars, every cafe has them. Within only a few weeks, we guarantee you’ll have already made a couple of friends and a lot more in a longer period of time.
Get an Intercambio – If you’re not familiar with this fabulous Spanish concept yet, get familiar.
An intercambio is a language exchange and anyone who participates in one is also called an intercambio. So, you can advertise or ask around for someone with similar interests as you to hang out at a cafe or a bar and talk. You’ll learn some Spanish and they’ll learn some English, or whatever other language you speak, and you’ll both be able to do it for free.
Plus, if you hit it off, you may end up meeting their friends and a whole new world will open up to you.
Get a Job – Sitting around feeling sorry for yourself because you don’t know anyone in Spain will get you nowhere. Get a job. Even in Spain’s currently bad economy, you can still pick up a job if you look hard enough and, as Spaniards tend to socialize a lot with workmates, you’l meet tons of new people too.
Volunteer with a Charity – Spain has lots of wonderful charities, everything from children’s charities to those who help stray dogs and cats, old people’s charities, Greenpeace and lots more.
Sign up to do some volunteer work. Not only will you be helping others less fortunate than yourself, but volunteering is an awesome way to meet and make friends with Spaniards. Particularly if Spain is your new home, it’s nice to contribute to its community.