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An Expat Talks about Living in Madrid, Spain

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Madrid

How long have you lived there?

2 and 1/2 years

What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?

Definitely try out the International Newcomers Club. Though they have one or two men in the group...they are very open to more. They do many fun things during the week and have activities such as wine tasting parties on weekends. There is at least one event monthly and you meet many fantastic people. The American Women's Club is also nice, but they are oriented towards community service and raising funds for charities. They do have monthly meetings and have a club house with a large lending library.

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In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.

This is a Catholic country. Most individuals seem accepting of differences unless you are from a Latin country. As an American with very little Spanish language capability, they are very helpful and go out of their way to help me. Typically Latins are thought of and treated as the hired help. It does not matter how they are dressed or how much jewelry they have on...still just hired help. Fortunately if problems arise in stores or restaurants, each establishment has a complaint book. If you ask to make a complaint, they must give it to you. Normally, the attitude changes when you ask for this book. They police can shut the place down if they do not have the book to give you.

In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?

Typically the Spaniards priority is family. They have extended family near by and visit quite often. You may be friends at work, but once the work day is over the friendship normally does not extend to socializing outside the office. Soccer (or futbol) is big and a good topic of conversation. Additionally people enjoy travelling from one side of the country to the other on holiday. If Spain has a holiday on Thursday, schools will give the children off on the Friday too so that families can travel. The winter and spring breaks are very long...again so people can travel. Folks are always going somewhere.

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If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.

Number one advice...learn Spanish. This is one of the few places in Europe where no one speaks English.

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