Spanish Culture

Harmon Perez
February 23, 2022

After spending a few weeks in Spain and getting comfortable in my new home, I have had the time to experience Spanish culture and learn what I love about Spain and what I absolutely cannot get used to. To start, as everyone knows, Spain takes a Siesta at 2 p.m. While I love this idea, almost everything closes at 2 p.m. and will not open until 4 p.m. This means if you wanted to go to a store to buy some clothes, you cannot. However, the coffee shops and food stores tend to stay open during this time. I believe that eventually I will adapt to this inconvenience and even learn to love this break time midday. One other thing about Spanish culture is that being late is being on time. I actually do enjoy this, because it means I am always on time, however, I keep arriving 15 minutes early to events and I end up waiting 30 minutes in the long run. I simply do not know how to arrive late to things! This is a huge break from American standards of arriving 15 minutes early and still being the last one to arrive. The culture here is relaxed and much less stressful, which I enjoy.

Now, there are a plethora of aspects of Spanish culture I have to brag about. For one, “coffee” doesn’t exist here! There is only espresso! This means you can get a café con leche, and you will be awake the entire morning! If you do want a “normal” American coffee, you can order a Café Americano, which is just espresso mixed with water. But when in Rome you do what the Romans do, so I would highly suggest you get a café con leche! Along with this, breakfast isn’t a big thing in Spain, but in the morning when you get your café con leche you can order a Spanish tortilla . This is a delicious breakfast consisting of egg, potatoes, and onion. It is the most delicious breakfast I have ever eaten! If eggs and potatoes are not your thing, you could order a Napoleano, which is a Nutella filled pastry. Here in Spain, the time zone is actually wrong because Franco changed the time zone to match the rest of Europe rather than be an hour behind. This means the sun sets much later. I learned to enjoy that the time zone is wrong. For one, the day feels much longer since the sun doesn’t set for a while. This means you can go out and do more things all day. Because of this time difference, Spain eats lunch at 2 and dinner at 9. I originally hated this and though I would never get used to it. However, if you have to eat lunch at 2 and everything closes at 2, then you get a good buffer time during the Siesta. With the dinner at 9, you actually don’t waste your time eating at 6 when there is still daylight outside. This means you can hang with friends or do homework. Typically for me, my classes end at 5:15, so I have 6 to 9 to do my homework.

Another aspect I love about Spanish culture is the extraversion. Here in Spain, it is totally acceptable to walk up to people and talk to them, or to just join a stranger in the dining hall. Spaniards will be happy to have a conversation and more so to meet un “estadounidense." One very important comment on Spanish culture is that you can be very direct and there will be no hurt feelings. This means that if something bothers you, you can tell them directly that you are bothered. For example, when I go to certain stores, they hear my American accent and try to speak English with me, however, I am here to learn Spanish, so if they refuse to speak Spanish with me even though I am speaking Spanish to them, you can tell them “¿hay un problema con mi español? Estoy aquí para aprender español.” (Is there a problem with my Spanish? I am here to learn Spanish) and they will switch back to Spanish. It is not considered rude, and the store owner is only concerned about making a sale and was speaking English to try to make that sale. Spaniards will be just as direct with you, like if you take too long to order at a restaurant they will start saying “dime, dime, dime” (tell me).

Art is seen everywhere in Spain. You will see statues everywhere, there are murals on the walls, and sometimes they put string around a tree to make the trunk colorful. I enjoy that Spain has this culture of art and that they outwardly share it by placing it in the open for everyone to see. I have never seen this many murals in one place! In America, we usually see one per city. This is not only a must-see place in Spain, but a good example of how important art is to the culture here. This photo I assume represents that the stroke of a brush is as powerful as an army. Meaning, you can represent your opinion through art or inspire people to do things.

Spanish culture is full of differences, there are good differences and weird differences, but you have to give it a try, and you may learn to love the difference. I couldn’t get used the dinner at 9, but now I actually prefer it, and I am sure after a few more weeks here in Spain, I will learn to fully accept the Siesta. My advice to you is to live the culture and when in Spain, you do what the Spaniards do.

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Harmon Perez

<p>My name is Harmon Perez! I am exited that I have the opportunity to study abroad in Salamanca, Spain! My major is Secondary-Spanish education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I grew up in a small town, so even though Salamanca is a smaller city of Spain, it'll be ginormous for me. I cannot wait to further my Spanish fluency in Salamanca this spring-semester!</p>

2022 Spring
Home University:
University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Henderson, NE
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