The American International Club (AIC) is a Nerja-based club whose members live locally, from Almuñécar to Torrox, but originally come from all different corners of the globe.
The club says it is "open to all nationalities" and at the moment boasts a diverse membership of over one hundred people from USA, UK, Germany, Netherlands, Ireland, Spain and Argentina.
According to Publicity Chair, Katherine Bradley, in fact "very few" of the current 125 members are actually American. Current president Don Foster is British and has lived in Spain for just under two years while Katherine and her husband Neil are both American.
Katherine is originally from Georgia, but the couple moved to Spain having lived in Abu Dhabi, which is where they met. She says, "We came to Spain in 2016 to retire. We decided on Spain because we love the weather, the economy and the accessibility to Europe that Spain offers. We fell in love with Nerja immediately, even though we visited all along the Costa del Sol."
On a social level, the club hosts boules matches, walks, holiday dinners and a variety of outings. They meet on the first Saturday of every month at the Hotel Nerja Club in the town for a coffee morning. "We are always looking for new ideas and activities for fun," says Katherine.
Of course the club celebrates traditional US holidays, such as Thanksgiving in November and Independence Day on 4 July. But they also make sure there's a party for other international events, such as Chinese New Year and Oktoberfest, which is celebrated every year in Torrox, where there has been a large German community for many years.
The club explains that it also has a philanthropic focus, "working hard to raise funds for Spanish charities". Each year members raise money for local Spanish organisations "as a way of saying thank you to our host country", explains Katherine.
They have donated to a variety of causes since the club was first established in 2008. Over the last ten years they have made donations to the Ciudad de los Niños, Nerja's Taller de Amistad, Red Cross Vélez and Solidario, Drug Rehab Almuñécar and the Cancer Support Group Nerja, Alcoholic Support Group Almuñécar and the Asociación de Nerja de Acción Cultural (ANAC), to mention a few.
Every year at Nerja's Residents' Day the club makes a donation by cheque to a local charity. As the event had to be cancelled this year due to bad weather, a smaller gathering took place on the town's iconic Balcón de Europa in April, where a cheque for 2,000 euros was presented to the local Red Cross.
At the same time, former Nerja mayor Rosa Arrabal along with the then councillor for foreigners, José Bravo, gave a paperweight bearing an image of the iconic balcony to the American International Club, in recognition of their hard work in the local community over the last 11 years.
Katherine says that the club is always looking for new members: "AIC provides members an opportunity to meet new people, get acclimated to the country and culture and participate in a variety of fun and interesting activities."