Living Like a Local in Spain by Ryan Parham

The first difference you’ll notice between American and Spanish culture is the food. The food culture in Spain is totally different than how we eat in America. My favorite dish I’ve tried here is what they call Paella. It is an assortment of many different types of sea food with grilled vegetables over brown rice. I have never been a fan of fish food but when I tried paella for the first time, I told myself it would be served at my wedding, it’s that delicious. Also get use to bread, a loaf of bread is served with every meal here. The wine culture is something totally different as well. At most restaurants, a glass of house wine is the cheapest beverage on the menu. At first, it may seem a little strange to try the different traditions of food culture abroad but after a few practice rounds you’ll find yourself totally in love with how the food and drink culture is here in Spain. I miss home, but I definitely don’t want to say goodbye to the culinary customs I’ve experienced in Spain.

Once you overcome the language barrier between you and the locals, connecting with them is as easy as you make it. You don’t even have to be proficient in Spanish to carry a conversation with Spaniards. Some know a good amount of English and others know enough, and the rest that don’t know any can still give you some of the best conversations you can have. Their social techniques are very different, facial expressions and using hands are very common. Even in big cities, such as Madrid or Sevilla, talking to strangers and making eye contact with people is very common for socializing. Like the food culture, it may seem a little strange at first, but once you remove the social norms you’ve been used to your whole life, you’ll be able to experience a social environment that is extremely rare in the United States.

Don’t be scared to try new things while your abroad. Part of your reason for coming should have been to escape the mundane routine you were experiencing back home at college. Try the food you thought you never would back home, enjoy a glass of wine for lunch, and make some friends who don’t speak English. Going to college isn’t only about school, it’s the time where you grow academically but also mentally. Going abroad will challenge what you think it means to be cultured and change the person you see when you look in the mirror. Be brave and make the change happen.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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