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Greg Gunter of Dream Pro Homes – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
speaking Spanish in San Miguel de Allende – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingReaders, when I first moved here to San Miguel de Allende, I spoke about as much Spanish as you.  "Una cerveza, por favor," was my best phrase, obviously learned on the beaches of Mexico.
 
Part of what attracted me to San Miguel de Allende over other tourist destinations is that the waiter at most any restaurant here will approach you first in Spanish, but if he realizes you are struggling with your Spanish skills, will switch to English for you. So yes, you can get by with limited Spanish skills, but the poorer your Spanish skills, the more of a barrier you will have with the local population, and therefore the higher your cost of living (bilingual staff are always able to charge more for their language skills). However, practicing your "Spanglish" will take you a long way here!
Judy Newell of Perfect Journeys – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Warren Hardy Spanish class, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingAn American can get by just speaking English in San Miguel de Allende. However, it would be a shame not to try to learn Spanish because you would miss a great deal of the culture and life here without speaking Spanish. 
 
Throughout the city of San Miguel de Allende, there are many people who have been here for 30 years and still speak very little Spanis
h. There is no really no place in San Miguel de Allende that you would go that you're not going to find people who speak English. When you have problems on the road, people who would stop would always do their very best to help you in their broken English and your broken Spanish. 
 
Learning the English language is mandatory in the public school systems in San Miguel de Allende. 
 
When my husband, Jim, and I moved to San Miguel de Allende, I spoke Spanish, but Jim did not. Things have been going very well for Jim and he's picked up Spanish quite easily. He's never really formally studied Spanish and has not taken classes for it, but his Spanish now is pretty fluent. 
 
Most foreigners take Spanish classes. There are many different Spanish language schools in San Miguel de Allende. 
 
One of the most popular Spanish language schools with the gringos is Warren Hardy. Warren Hardy is the name of an American who has retired in San Miguel de Allende. He established his own school to teach Spanish and he has his own system for teaching Spanish, which is quite good. 
 
Instituto Allende has Spanish classes for foreigners. They ask you to take a test first to find out where your level of Spanish is. 
 
The "biblioteca" (library) in San Miguel de Allende that's founded and run by gringos has the largest collection of English books in Mexico. They have formal Spanish classes. They also offer conversational Spanish practice sessions where the library staff set you up with someone of your age and similar interests, who later on becomes your friend. You meet once a week, have a cup of coffee, and talk for an hour. You help each other out by the other person talking in English and you talking in Spanish.
 
(Warren Hardy Spanish class, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, courtesy of Niamh Daily, pictured.)
Jim Castro of Agave Rentals – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Rental with a pool and view, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingUnfortunately yes, you can get by in San Miguel de Allende even if you just speak English. Most of the people that you will interact with here will put all their energy into understanding whether or not they understand the language – English or not. They try to understand what it is you’re trying to communicate so the locals are a very open group of people. That is why so many expats love it here in San Miguel.  Tourists feel loved and welcome. Some of my in laws’ friends have been coming here for 50 years and can barely say “una” or “uno”.
 
We are not proud of that. In business I don’t make as much effort as I should to speak Spanish but I can get by. I can do a full rental transaction with somebody who is fluent in Spanish and speaks no English and get by. It is a little tough. I have to be very careful and make sure that I am not missing anything but when you do that, it is appreciated just like anywhere where the first language is not English. If I spoke no Spanish, I would lose some business. There are some Mexicans who do not like the fact that you live in their country but you don’t speak their language. Not as many Americans feel the same but there are some. 
 
I exclusively do rentals and the large part of what I do is vacation rentals. So we deal with people for a long weekend, for a week, or for a month at a time. Usually, if somebody has not been here before, they are nervous for the first couple of days. They call us and they ask us for help and ask us how to say things. But once they relax and understand that people want to help, listen, send them to the right direction, and not take advantage of them, and are supportive, everyone relaxes. So it is good. San Miguel is that kind of place.
 
I have never seen anyone who has struggled to the point where they just couldn’t do it. I have been running my business here for 5 years now. There are people who come here and get stressed out because they can’t find their way in the Mexican culture or the gringo culture, which is particular type of person. There are some people who come here and decide that San Miguel is not for them. They don’t golf, they don’t shop, they don’t want to sit and paint, or learn the language, or they look for the mall and the beach. There are just some people who fit better in another place. But generally speaking, it is not their inability to speak Spanish that would cause them to leave.
 
(Rental with a pool and view, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, pictured.)
Ivy Del Pozzo of Coldwell Banker SMART – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
A previous mansion, Hotel Pozos for sale, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico  – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingYes, you can get by in San Miguel de Allende even if you just speak English. Your life experience will probably not be as rich as you would if you spoke Spanish but you certainly do not need it to get the job done. There are some people who have lived in this town and run businesses for 20 years that can barely string two sentences of Spanish together.
 
Your housing would be one of two possibilities. Either you are going to do a short-term rental, which is probably to go through an Airbnb or a VRBO or something like that so you don’t need to worry about anything. Or you could do a long-term rental. However there are not a lot of long term rentals in San Miguel de Allende anymore because the town has gotten so popular that everything is pretty much up for short term rentals only. But if you were to do a long term rental you would probably walk into a property that already had all of the utilities included and/or it would be managed by a property manager that would see to it that that was organized for you and they are going to be bilingual. If you are buying a property and those things are not already set up, the agent, I would imagine, would be able to assist you with somebody that would set all of those utilities for you if you didn’t speak Spanish. We know somebody that we connect the client to that will go down and set up all of their utilities for them.
 
(A previous mansion, Hotel Pozos for sale, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, pictured.)
Melanie Lansing of Mexico Insurance Advisors – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
A man with his burro, San Miguel de Allende, MexicoEnglish-speaking expats constitute only 10% of the total population here. So, yes, most people do speak Spanish.  However, since tourism is the most profitable business here, more and more Mexican adults and children are learning to speak English.  Expats can and do get by with just English in San Miguel. Many have no interest in learning Spanish. In contrast, Mexicans, especially those who work in restaurants, bars, and hotels; go out of their way to learn English. 
 
Normally, expats who do not speak Spanish rely on their gardener, housekeeper, or handyman to help them with make connections to local services. It is usually somebody that they have met through some type of a work contract who has a good command of English and Spanish. These Mexicans become their “go to” people for everything from hardware store purchases to caterers & dog walkers.  Legal, medical and immigration services require the assistance of a professional, bilingual consultant. I offer this kind of support when clients need this kind of assistance.
 
(Pictured: a man with his burro, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.)

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