5 Spanish Words To Help You Get By As An Expat

For those of you that know me, you’ll know my grasp of the Spanish language hasn’t really come along that much since moving here nine months ago. It’s not that I don’t want to learn, I really do, it’s just that I work in an English speaking company, live in a big expat area and most people generally speak the language on the Costa del Sol.

However, on the occasion when I need to fly solo in Spain, whether it be in the supermarket or in a restaurant, I’ve come across a few words which keep me relatively safe.  So, for those of you who are concerned and are desperate enough for some pointers from a complete amateur like me, then read on.

1. Grande/Pequena – these two words have come in very handy for me when either ordering a kebab or a glass of wine, put simply these are the two words for large and small.

2. Luego – after I picked this word up I felt like one of the locals, put simply it is a casual way to say goodbye. If like me, you feel a little formal saying “Adios” everytime you depart from somewhere, then this word will help you to blend in a little more.

3. Frio – when we first moved in November/December time, every single day was rainy, windy and freezing (even for Brits like us). Frio, or “cold” to you and me, was said by every single Spanish person I came across. It’s true that people do talk about the weather if they have nothing else to say… so now when someone walks up to you saying “Hace frio” you can nod in agreement and join their pain for the chilly weather.

4. Venga – this isn’t a word I’ve used but a word I have heard everywhere! I queried it one day and basically it means “hurry up” or “come on”, which is ironic considering Spain’s laid back approach to everything.

5. Bolsa – and finally if you are at a loss at the checkout in a supermarket, “bolsa” is the term for plastic bag (or any bag, for that matter). I often feel like a Spanish language pro when the checkout lady asks me how many bags I want, and I successfully respond with a number because I actually understand the question. #winning

Lastly, I know this is exceeding the five word lesson, but I have also learnt a valuable lesson about ordering Diet Coke. You must ask for Coca Cola Light… and add a little bit of  a Spanish accent to it… you’ll blend in in no time. Good luck folks!


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