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Mac's Poll - Let's Vote

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POLL : Speaking Spanish delays dementia! - How well do you speak?
31 January 2013

 

 381 unique participants - 15 comments. first week of voting

Surprising result ! According to the poll,  62,17% of the participants can speak atleast enough Spanish to get by and be understood. 

 

George Orwell wrote in 1938: "The only way I could get along was to carry everywhere a small dictionary which I whipped out of my pocket at moments of crisis. But I would sooner be a foreigner in Spain than in most countries. How easy it is to make friends in Spain!"

 More than 70 years after the publication of Homage to Catalonia, a million of Orwell's fellow countrymen have followed his lead, eventhough many have now returned due to the crisis. The British are the largest contingent of foreigners in Spain and 2% of the population. But does that 2% of the population speak Spanish? 

 

These are a few views of expat journalists, expat politicians and locals on the subject:

 

"Brits tends to live in a bubble. With more and more information available in English, there's less reason to learn Spanish and, as a consequence, less opportunity to understand the local culture. Many residents speak no more than 10 Spanish words in an average week – usually restaurant Spanish – and they pride themselves on 'getting by'.”

 "By moving to Spain, most have opted out of the rat race, substituting social responsibility for social activity within the numerous Brit clubs, amateur theatre and charity groups that have mushroomed over the entire Costa Blanca."

 "It's difficult. I try to practise my Spanish but people come back to me in English."

"British people do not seem to integrate terribly well.They are very good at societies, book clubs, social organisations of different kinds but, in general, they seem to associate with themselves more often with other expats.”

 

 

"In my personal experience, many Britons seem to have many things to complain about – the madness of the property market and rental prices, the even madder madness of red tape and paperwork when they need to deal with government offices and funcionarios. This is partly due to the culture shock and the contrast between the Anglo-Saxon and Latin mentalities but it does make some things difficult when it comes to integration and learning the language."

 

 

Recent research has shown,  using Spanish in everyday situations and sticking to regular classes can help prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease, say doctors.

Learning a foreign language could put back the first signs of dementia by at least five years,

Expatriates in Spain are at a particular advantage, since those who regularly use the language they have learnt are even more likely to fight off Alzheimer's than those who have merely studied one and let it lay dormant. Whilst crosswords, sudokus and other 'thinking' puzzles have long been lauded as a tool for fighting off memory loss and confusion in old age, experts believe that those who speak two or more languages have even more chance of retaining their mental faculties.

They say learning a language is a more powerful type of mental exercise, and builds up a bank of 'spare' brainpower which helps the mind to keep working for longer and more effectively, slowing down the debilitating effects of Alzheimer's.

Medics behind the research, which took place at York University in Toronto, Canada, say this is rather like keeping a spare battery for your mobile phone or an emergency tank of petrol in your car.

"It means your brain can keep going for longer because there is more in the safety tank," they say.

The part of the brain that controls memory, decision-making, reasoning and expressing oneself in words is made stronger, more flexible and more resistant to damage by learning and using a foreign language.

Doctors claim the sooner a person starts to learn a language, the more beneficial it is for slowing down the process of dementia and age-related confusion.

Researchers found that the average Alzheimer's sufferer began to see the early symptoms of their condition in their mid-70s, or younger, where they only spoke one language.

But those who spoke two or more languages - or were actively learning one - tended to be in their 80s before they were diagnosed with dementia.

Additionally, the process of the mind breaking down - including loss of short-term memory - took hold much more rapidly in monolingual patients.

However, they warn that learning a language will not actually prevent Alzheimer's - it will simply slow down the associated mental deterioration and stop the condition from manifesting itself for much longer.

 

 

So how well do you speak Spanish? Are you fighting off dementia or have you already gone mad trying to get to grips with it?

 

 

 

Please participate, it will be interesting to see how many of the memebers of  Eye on Spain, actually get by in Spanish. Please leave a comment and let us know how your learning experience was and how you are getting on!

 

 

Sources : Costa News / The Guardian



Like 0        Published at 17:26   Comments (18)


POLL: Should Britain leave the EU?
25 January 2013

 

 591 unique participants from 19 different countries and 36 comments. first week of voting

Thanks to everyone for participating in this poll, it was really interesting reading everyone's view on this subject. Please feel free to keep leaving comments. I was rather suprised at the results, I thought initially the vast majority would vote for the UK to stay in the EU but 41,43% voted that it should leave and 7,93% weren't sure, leaving 50,64% wanting to stay in the EU. When the referendum comes around it will be very interesting to see how this really turns out!! 

 

When David Cameron addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos, giving more details about how he plans to renegotiate Britain's position within the EU.Cameron said Europe must do more to compete and succeed in a changing world, and brushed aside criticism about the impact of the prospect of an EU referendum, claiming it would be more risky to stand back and do nothing than tackle the issue head-on.He also warned other European leaders that any attempt to "shoehorn countries" into ever deeper union, was a mistake that Britain wouldn't be part of. The prime minister's plan for a referendum on Britain's membership of the union received a mixed response from European leaders and businesses, with some saying a referendum will harm investment. 

This subject has been all over the news since Cameron's speech the other day and also the topic of a very popular thread this week so I thought it apt to carry out our own poll just to get a taster of where we might be heading!

For those who have not heard the speech on Europe... here it is

 

Should Britain stay in the EU or get out?  Please cast your vote and leave a comment!



Like 0        Published at 00:00   Comments (43)


POLL : Is expat life more appealing or less appealing than it was 10 years ago?
16 January 2013

 

493 PARTICIPANTS. 14 VERY DETAILED COMMENTS. first week of voting. THANKS FOR PARTICIPATING! 

Somehow I kind of thought this would have been the result but it was very encouraging to see people defending the postion :  "more appealing than 10 years ago" 

See you all on the next poll! :)

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When thinking about expat life in general, I don't just mean retiring abroad to Spain but also working abroad and in any country, I feel that it was probably more appealing a decade ago than it is now. Obviously exchange rates were better, money went further but from a working point of view I think companies, at least companies here in Spain and I think in the UK too offered many more perks for moving abroad than they do now, making it a very attractive option and enabling people to save decent sums. For those who have been considering living abroad for the past ten years and those who have been living abroad for ten years, for whatever reason, what's your view on this? Is it still as appealing as it has always been?

Please cast your vote and leave a comment.

 

 

 

 



Like 0        Published at 23:53   Comments (14)


POLL : Has the Spanish property market hit rock bottom yet?
09 January 2013

 

455 Participants.  32 Comments - first week of voting .  Thank you all for participating, this was an extremely interesting poll and the results were not what I had personally expected. 

 

 This is a daily question that is being asked by so many people and it is a topic of discussion in several threads, but as there are many members that don't normally post their opinions in threads on a regular basis and many that are still interested in knowing how the market is going I thought it would be an interesting poll to get a general idea of how the market feels at the moment and if it hasn't hit rock bottom, when will it?

Please cast your vote.... and leave a comment



Like 0        Published at 17:10   Comments (34)


POLL: Was Europe better off before the single currency came in?
03 January 2013

 

 362 PARTICIPANTS  first week of voting // SEE RESULTS BY "CLICKING" ON 'VIEW RESULTS' BELOW

I have been giving this some thought and trying to remember how life was before the Euro came in and how astute the UK was in not joining the Euro, well it appears that way now anyway. And it poses the question, was it really the best thing for Europe? or is it now a big problem that can't be put in reverse? Please cast your vote and leave a comment!

Here I have posted some  of the advantages and disadvantages that were being weighed up before the Euro was launched....

Advantages:

1. A single currency should end currency instability in the participating countries (by irrevocably fixing exchange rates) and reduce it outside them. Because the Euro would have the enhanced credibility of being used in a large currency zone, it would be more stable against speculation than individual currencies are now. An end to internal currency instability and a reduction of external currency instability would enable exporters to project future markets with greater certainty. This will unleash a greater potential for growth.

2. Consumers would not have to change money when travelling and would encounter less red tape when transferring large sums of money across borders. It was estimated that a traveller visiting all twelve member states of the (then) EC would lose 40% of the value of his money in transaction charges alone. Once in a lifetime a family might make one large purchase or transaction across a European border such as buying a holiday home or a piece of furniture. A single currency would help that transaction pass smoothly.

3. Likewise, businesses would no longer have to pay hedging costs which they do today in order to insure themselves against the threat of currency fluctuations. Businesses, involved in commercial transactions in different member states, would no longer have to face administrative costs of accounting for the changes of currencies, plus the time involved. It is estimated that the currency cost of exports to small companies is 10 times the cost to the multi-nationals, who offset sales against purchases and can command the best rates.

4. A single currency should result in lower interest rates as all European countries would be locking into German monetary credibility. The stability pact (the main points of which were agreed at the Dublin summit of European heads of state or government in December 1996) will force EU countries into a system of fiscal responsibility which will enhance the Euro's international credibility. This should lead to more investment, more jobs and lower mortgages.

Disadvantages:

1. Fifteen separate countries with widely differing economic performances and different languages have never before attempted to form a monetary union. It works in the United States because the labour market is mobile, helped by the common language and portability of pensions etc. across a large geographical area. Language in Europe is a huge barrier to labour force mobility. This may lead to pockets of deeply depressed areas in which people cannot find work and areas where the economy flourishes and wages increase. While the cohesion funds attempt to address this, there are still great differences across the EU in economic performance.

2. If governments were obliged through a stability pact to keep to the Maastricht criteria for perpetuity, no matter what their individual economic circumstances dictate, some countries may find that they are unable to combat recession by loosening their fiscal stance. They would be unable to devalue to boost exports, to borrow more to boost job creation or cut taxes when they see fit because of the public deficit criterion. In the United States, Texas could not avoid a recession in the wake of the 1986 oil price fall, whereas demand for Sterling changed in the light of the new oil price, adjusting the exchange rate downwards.

3. All the EU countries have different cycles or are at different stages in their cycles. The UK is growing reasonably well, Germany is having problems. This is the reverse of the position in 1990. Since the war the UK economy has tended to have an economic cycle closer to the US than the EU. It has changed because interest rates are set in each country at the appropriate level for it. One central bank cannot set inflation at the appropriate level for each member state.

4. Loss of national sovereignty is the most often mentioned disadvantage of monetary union. The transfer of money and fiscal competencies from national to community level, would mean economically strong and stable countries would have to co-operate in the field of economic policy with other, weaker, countries, which are more tolerant to higher inflation. 

 source : BBC



Like 0        Published at 16:45   Comments (17)


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