I am from the UK and therefore living in Spain was not the biggest culture shock I ever got. But still, being the only country I really lived abroad there are a few things I noticed that take a little bit of getting used to. I decided to write a list of the things that struck me the most about the Spanish Culture and what I love and maybe don’t love so much compared to that of UK culture.
Spain is a very ‘touchy feely’ country in a welcoming and friendly way, but sometimes, since being cold and English, it can be a bit uncomfortable when someone you just met can’t take their hands off your arm when they talk to you about the sandwich they are eating at the party or something equally unimportant. I like it, most of the time but sometimes I prefer people to just stay there distance, especially new people. Obviously there is also the typical 2 kisses which the Spaniards do as a greeting. When I go to a party sometimes I try to escape so no one sees me and I don’t have to give about 60 kisses in total to the 30 people I’m saying goodbye to.
Abruptness? Spanish people? Yes they can be very ‘to the point’ with their words and their language, but that doesn’t mean that they are being rude or they don’t want to talk to you. English can sometimes get a little bit more complicated and we often add pointless words such as ‘Do you mind if’ ‘Would it be OK if I’ ‘Excuse me but maybe this could be if that would’ etc. This is one thing I prefer in Spain and we should cut the crap more in the UK.
3. Laid back lifestyle
This is clearly a very stereotypical view of Spain but sorry I have to say in many way it is true, compared to other cultures. Whether it’s building work happening in the middle of a busy street or turning up 10 minutes late and being the normality, or not caring who has to pay what part of the bill, the Spainards can be much more laid back( and probably happier in this sense) than the rest of us.
4. The importance of food
Food in Spain seems very important to me. It is the pinnacle of everything and how they decide what to do with their day. Normally in the UK the evening meal is the most important one but in Spain it’s all about Lunch, and it should be big. This makes more sense to me as you probably need the energy more when you still have half the day to go through but also can make you extremely sleepy in the afternoon. (Now I understand those siestas) Sitting down with family on the weekend and enjoying a meal together is very important for Spanish people, which I think is nice, it’s important to spend time together eating and not sit in front of the TV and ignore one another… I also noticed it is very rude to begin eating before someone else at the table has, which I found out when my boyfriend got upset as I shoved a piece of tortilla into my mouth while he was still standing.
Maybe another stereotype which I find to be true. The Spanish are very open and friendly and talkative, no awkward Britishness going on here. Everybody is happy to talk to each other (not everyone I am generalizing remember) and they will always be happy to meet new people. They can also be very LOUD and shouting all the type when they are just talking about what their grandma had for dinner last night. Sometimes I think that my boyfriend and his mum are arguing but they’re actually just talking about their day, the Spanish can be very passionate.
What cultural differences have you found in Spain and what do you and don’t you like about them? I’d love to hear them, leave a comment below or shout your thoughts into the wind and hope they get to me somehow. Have a lovely day guys!