They speak Spainish in Spain.

Cultural Experiences of International Students in Spain

Spainish; Initial thoughts

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This is not my first time living in a new culture.  The United States itself has uniquely different cultures within it.  This would make sense, as the size of the United States is over twice the size of the European Union.  (Look here:   http://goeurope.about.com/od/europeanmaps/l/bl-country-size-comparison-map.htm)  I experienced this first hand when, post college, I moved from the mid-west to the west coast, and then shortly after from the west coast to the east coast.  Even though I was still in the same country and under the same overlying political structure, each place had a very different dynamic to it.

But this blog is not about my cultural experiences within the United States.  This blog is about the cultural differences I face as an American living here in Spain.  I hope to tell anecdotes that give a peek into Spanish culture as well as into my own.

A few small things to begin with:

Washing machines in Spain are in the kitchen.  Not in the basement.  People here do not have basements.  Most people live in pisos, or apartments.  That would explain no basements.  But the few houses I have seen maintain the no basement rule.

My piso is on the first floor.  In the United States first floor means the same thing as ground floor.  In Spain they have floor zero.  My first floor piso is therefore up one flight of stairs.  I don’t know anyone who lives on floor zero, but I imagine it would be strange to say that you live on the zero’th floor.

In Spain milk comes in cartons.  It is not sold in the refrigerated section.  It is on the shelf with the rest of the dried and canned goods.  People usually buy these cartons in eight packs and store the extras in the cupboard.

Spanish people speak very loud on cell phones.  My roommates are like mice and rarely come out of their bedrooms, but on their cell phones they are loud.  I can hear them anywhere in the house.   I have no idea why this is.

Spanish people do not get thirsty the way Americans do.  My friend told me that Americans are easy to spot in Europe.  They are always carrying great big bottles of water, he says. This is true from what I have seen at the University.  The American students  carry with them  small plastic (or tin reusable) water bottles; and they sip during class.

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Written by iamandreaholm

September 19, 2009 at 5:04 PM

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