Noticing the Cultural Differences While Studying in Spain

Noticing the Cultural Differences While Studying in Spain

I met my host family on Thursday night and I absolutely love them! They have a daughter, Blanca, who is my age, and two sons, Fran and Pablo, who are thirteen and ten! The mom is a teacher and the dad is a nurse. Their house is so cute. I have my own bedroom, it is nothing big, but it is nice to be able to get away every once in a while. School starts on Tuesday and I am signed up for swim team and tennis lessons. I am excited to get into a routine.

Here in Spain, the way of life is not even comparable to life in the United States. I do not say that in a bad way or a good way, it just simply isn’t. We often go to sleep at two or three in the morning and wake up at one or two the next afternoon. Lunch is not eaten until three or four in the afternoon- even if you eat breakfast at nine. Dinner is around ten depending on what show is on TV that night that the family wants to watch.

Every meal here is the equivalent to a Thanksgiving in America. They go all out, and we stay at the table for at least an hour. There are normally four courses to every meal. The food is generally pasta, fish, paella, or some kind of Spanish food. My favorite is definitely paella.

There are many differences in everyday life. The one I struggle with the most are the showers. From what I have observed, showers here are considered a luxury. There are no showerheads, instead there are hand-held water sprayers (like the ones in your kitchen sinks), and you turn it off and on when you are showering. You do not keep it on the whole time. For example, you get your hair wet, turn it off, shampoo, turn it on, etc. Also, the water is frigid. Every now and then you get lucky and get a few seconds of lukewarm water. I am already looking forward to a nice warm shower in the US!


Another difference is one that is not surprising, but you walk everywhere. I am not using that word lightly either. Whether it is a step outside of your house or it is five miles away, you walk. If you have to go to a store the next town over then you take public transportation. There are many drastic differences, but too many too explain them all! Then you have the small, everyday changes such as the language barrier, style, and religion.

And now I have arrived to the most drastic change. The language!! Students traveling with my organization are placed in small towns where nobody speaks English. When they say that nobody speaks English, they are not joking the slightest bit. Not being able to speak the same language makes everyday conversation difficult. It is at times very frustrating and can get very annoying, but my Spanish has already improved.

Religion here is Catholic- 98% to be exact. Church does not start until nine at night and ends at 9:45 give or take. First, the language barrier makes going to church difficult and second, me not being catholic. They have so many rituals that they do and I am a step behind everyone. Thankfully, everyone is very understanding and does not get mad or upset.

Since I have been here, I have been very busy. The town I am staying in is not very big, but it has all the necessities. A shock to me has been the lack of trees and grass. It is all dirt. And, the buildings are orange. In my opinion it is not a good mix, but I am sure I will get used to it.

I have been to play tennis with the family three times and we have gone too the pool, also. Yesterday, we attended a dirt bike race, which was actually very entertaining. I am not sure if I would have enjoyed it in the United States, but it was nice to see something somewhat familiar.

Friday, Blanca took me with her to a color concert. It was similar to a color run in the United States, except it was a band playing and they shot out masses of color into the crowd. Here, the only music they listen too is in English. It is not up to date, it is the top hits anywhere from 5-10 years ago.

For example, on the Top 50 countdown yesterday, Soulja Boy was in the top ten. I forget what number one was, but it would be a major throwback if somebody played it in the United States. Regardless, it is nice to listen to English music. For once I know what someone is saying and they don’t!

I am having a blast and will keep everyone updated!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *