Some of the biggest expat associations in Spain include:
This is an association for people over 50, retired or semi-retired and who speak English. The members organise and run numerous activities, both for leisure and to gain knowledge. You may already have a U3A association in the town where you live in the UK. There are currently five U3A associations in Spain, in Calpe, Denia, Javea, Oliva and on the Costa Brava. This can be a wonderful way to make friends and to learn about your region, engage in sports and discover new things.
There are around 30 different groups with activities ranging from cycling for pleasure to family history, coastal appreciation to local interest and wine appreciation to art - you pay an annual subscription of €14 and then a little bit in addition for some of the events. The Costa Brava branch currently has over 400 members, of all nationalities but all of whom speak English. Members comprise both those who live permanently in Spain and those who are there part time.
The British Ladies Association, Madrid
This association is very active and engages in raising funds for charities in the capital City. They organise all sorts of fundraising events and also arrange visits to local places of interest. They meet on the last Tuesday of each month from September to June and friends, husbands and partners are also welcome.
British Society of Catalunya
Originally founded in Barcelona, the Society now has a second branch in the Empordà area of the Costa Brava, based around L’Escala. The aims are to help newcomers, enhance community relations between the British and locals, to provide communication for British people and to be involved in charity fundraising for local and other worthy causes. The Society welcomes both fulltime and part-time residents and membership is €15 a year.
Royal British Legion
There are branches throughout Spain, in Mijas, Estepona, Nerja, Alicante and Costa Brava, for example. The Legion is there to give support and welfare help and holds events to raise funds. Anyone of any nationality is welcome to join and you do not have to have been in the armed forces. You will find locally based clubs for music, art, dance, Anglo-Spanish activities and sports. The majority organise social events, card schools, visits to places of interest and some have book exchange clubs or engage in amateur dramatics.
Joining one or more society or association is undoubtedly the best way to settle into your new life in Spain, and there is so much choice that couples will find common and separate interests in the process of making friends. For single people, it is really important to get out and about and expat clubs are there for you. If you can, try to get involved in activities with the local community as well as expats. There is a wonderful world out there and all people of all nationalities have something to bring to others.
However tempting it may be to spend most of your time with members, you should also make a real effort to get to know and talk to the local people in their language as well, so enrolling in Spanish classes should be a priority. There are adult classes for all levels, so if you have already started to learn Spanish you can comfortably continue roughly where you left off in the UK. Your children will be taught in Spanish and they will assimilate their new language quickly, so it is important for you to make an effort to learn it with a view to understanding their school work.