Parnell Academy is running a course designed specifically for those who want to pass the test of Spanish nationality. It is supported by the association Brexpats in Spain.
Since the outcome of the referendum, whether or not to obtain Spanish nationality has been one of the key questions formulated by British residents on the Costa del Sol, one of the largest British communities in Spain. The interest generated in obtaining Spanish nationality has led to this pioneering academy to offer a specially designed course in this area.
In the centre of La Cala de Mijas, one of the three towns of this municipality of 84,000 inhabitants where the largest number of foreign residents on the Costa del Sol (10,000 are British) is stood Parnell Academy. Its director is Richard Parnell, one of the founders with his daughter Natasha and Anne Hernandez, 63, president of Brexpats in Spain, an association which now has 1,900 members and hopes to extend to other European countries, including France, which have shown interest in the initiative. Brexpats was established on 29 July. The group membership quickly spread throughout Spain to Barcelona, Mallorca and Alicante. This type of specific course to pass the exam to obtain Spanish nationality has no precedent in Spain. The Brexit effect has led to an intense and growing demand on the Costa del Sol in those interested in learning the necessary steps to obtain Spanish nationality. Parnell predicts that an average profile, is British about 60 years old with residence in Mijas, Fuengirola and Marbella, without having any prior knowledge of speaking Spanish.
To meet this objective, the student should devote two hours a week for classes, plus another extra hour lesson in Spanish culture with knowledge of geography, history and politics. “Of course, also you have to study at home and find ways to relate to the Spanish,” one of the great problems of the Brits, according to the owner of the academy is that at developments such as Riviera del Sol and Calahonda the British can run smoothly in their everyday life without speaking a single syllable of Spanish.
The monthly price of the academy is around 50 euros. There is also the possibility of having private lessons at 20 euros per hour.
The learning method is based on modules. The beginner level lasts nine months and then progresses through the next levels “We not only want them to converse in Spanish, but that they know how to write well. It is essential that the British integrate in all ways. We must seek to interact with local people, “Parnell says. The academy also offers English classes for Spanish people and has capacity to accommodate over 120 students one morning. One of the motivating factors to seek Spanish nationality is the concern over health cover. British pensioners use Social Security, but when the UK no longer belongs to Europe, everything will be more complicated. Medical insurers will not accept older people and a very small percentage of the population will be able to afford the expenditure of paying privately hundred percent. The president of Brexpats in Spain highlighted the problem of social security cover for pensioners. “Some are 80 years and with chronic health problems and they cannot afford private insurance. They do not know what they will do, “laments Hernandez who criticises how the British who have been 15 years outside the United Kingdom were unable to vote in the referendum. “We are the forgotten, as if our opinion does not count. Brexit will affect us more than those who live in the UK “.
“There is no turning back”
Brexpats in Spain does not have its own funds. At the moment, it is a non-profit association. Mijas Town Hall itself supports them, as does Estate Agents (Orange Estate), the Excelan of Marbella clinic and De Vere, one of the largest brokers in the world. “What we want is to cover expenses. The Association has been holding meetings and presentations aimed at discussing the implications of Brexit. This was a surprise for everyone. We know almost nothing and there is no turning back. We must respect the decision of the referendum, “said Hernandez.