“You can take people out of their home, but not home out of people”. I don´t know whose words those were or if they go exactly like that. All I know is that I couldn´t agree more.
Even in the happiest cases, expats do not fully adapt to their new country. Each culture is unique, and there´s also this practically unbreakable bond between people and the land they were born in. For this reason, just like their predecessors decades ago, Spanish expats in the 21st century keep strong bonds with their homeland and their culture, which grow even stronger thanks to new technologies and, of course, social networks.
From the second half of the 20th century, Spanish immigrants founded cultural associations in their host countries (especially in Europe) to keep their traditions alive away from home. These were places where they would share many happy moments –also some bad ones– and enjoy the recipes and the wines they missed so much. Expats nowadays continue easing their homesickness by visiting many of these associations, but new generations have found new meeting points: social network groups. You only need to look for the words “españoles en” (Spaniards in) followed by almost any big city or country in the world and you will find groups of expats –sometimes thousands of them– who get in touch and communicate through these means. All kind of questions about living abroad are asked and solved, meetings are arranged, activities are recommended and current news are discussed, sometimes even leading to heated debates.
Social networks, along with free video conference and instant messaging systems, also enable expats to keep in touch with their closest friends and loved ones. The possibility to talk with them at any time and even share pictures or videos makes it easy to forget for a moment about the distance between them. Furthermore, thanks to the digital media, they can keep up-to-date with all the news about a country that they were supposed to leave behind.
All this does not seem to be helpful when striving for the aforementioned adaptation to a new country, but how could they just give up on something so easy to reach? The key to a fully adaptation might be the almost utopian balance between the homesick for what they left behind and the excitement for what´s ahead of them. However, to be honest, nothing works better than a local boyfriend or girlfriend. So, if you´re an expat and still single, start looking for yours!