Integration into Spanish Society: Can Foreigners Feel Like They Belong?


Do you feel you can integrate into the Spanish society well and be accepted there (and even you feel you are one of them)? Do you feel Spanish welcome and accept you? How is Integration into Spanish Society overall?


These are the answers of some Facebook group members:

Economic and Social Factors Matter

“I speak functional Spanish. But there are so many different factors at play here. What is your economic class? What is your race? Are you straight? What is your religion? Are you perceived as an American or some other nationality? Do you have kids? Where are you living? Certain situations where yes, very accepting but others less so.”

Novelty in Small Towns

“My husband (who is not fluent at all) and myself (fairly fluent) have lived in Spain for 5 years. We are considered a bit of a novelty as there aren’t really any Americans (that we are aware of) in our area. The Spanish have always been accepting and very outgoing with us.”

Childhood Friendships Dominate

“Spanish people don’t move a lot so most Spaniards make their friends in elementary school and keep them forever. They also have their families close by. I do have a couple of Spanish friends but my closest friends are international and Mexican.”

Valencian Closed Circles

“No, it’s very difficult to integrate with Valencians. They will welcome you with open arms, but they will never close them, if you know what I mean… For Valencians, family is 300% of their lives, they don’t have time for friends, let alone new friends.”

Immigrant Bonds

“I’ve been here for 12 years, my closest friends have always been fellow immigrants (from all over world) as those are the people I now closely connect with the most.”

Full Integration in Small Towns

“I live in a town of pop 28000. I have been here 11 years and have been accepted since day 1. I am fully integrated. It depends on your attitude, if you speak or are at least trying to speak Spanish and your willingness to become involved in social and cultural life.”

Bilingual Experiences Vary

“It’s situational. If you’re Latino (from the States for example) and are brown, your experiences are going to be different from a white expat on the get-go. If you’re a native Spanish speaker, then those experiences are going to be different as well.”

Learning Spanish Opens Doors

“I have met so many lovely people. I start out apologizing and letting them know that I am learning Spanish. And the people that I’ve run into are excited to try out their English on me lol.”

The Importance of Making Friends

“This post should be pinned for its importance. Developing a circle of close friends is essential to longevity. Anyone considering moving to Spain needs to understand the dynamics of developing those friendships.”

Cultural and Linguistic Challenges

“I have a strong command of Spanish and can navigate throughout most situations, but I am also mindful that I’m a very visible foreigner. That’s compounded by the fact that many Filipinos in Spain are not fluent in Spanish, and so for many Asians in this country the friend circles are already self-limiting to begin with.”


The ability to integrate into Spanish society as a foreigner varies widely based on several factors, including location, social and economic status, and effort to engage with the community.

While some expatriates find a warm welcome and deep connections, others face challenges in breaking into tightly-knit social circles that have existed since childhood. The experiences shared highlight the complexity of integration, with language fluency being just one piece of the puzzle.

Efforts to engage with local culture, openness from both sides, and finding common ground through shared interests are key to forming lasting friendships and feeling at home in Spain.