Viva la Aventura! Navigating Culture Shocks and Making the Most of Your Spanish Study Abroad

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It has been a couple of months since I arrived in Seville, Spain, and I have already experienced some cultural shocks and made some interesting observations. For anyone interested in studying abroad in this country, I have some recommendations and insights that might prove helpful. One of the biggest cultural shocks I experienced was the concept of time. In Spain, time is more relaxed than it is in other countries, and punctuality is only sometimes a top priority. Meetings or classes tend to start later than scheduled, and it is not uncommon for people to arrive late. However, this is not an excuse to disrespect or completely disregard punctuality. It is always important to communicate any delays or changes in plans. Another cultural shock was the siesta, the typical midday break in Spain. During this time, many businesses close so people can go home and rest or spend time with their families. This is a unique part of Spanish culture that takes some getting used to, but I have come to appreciate the importance of taking a break during the day to recharge.

Regarding recommendations for studying abroad in Spain, I highly recommend immersing yourself in the culture and language as much as possible. Take the time to learn Spanish, the idioms or phrases depending on the region, and practice speaking with your host family, professors, or locals. This will help you communicate better and allow you to appreciate and understand the culture entirely. Another recommendation is to try as much Spanish cuisine as possible. The food in Spain is incredibly diverse and delicious, and there are many regional specialties to try. There is something for everyone, from paella in Valencia to tapas in Madrid or any city. Finally, I recommend taking advantage of Spain’s many cultural activities and events. From flamenco dancing to attending a bullfight, there are many unique experiences. These activities provide a deeper understanding of Spanish culture and create lasting memories.

In addition to the above, it’s worth noting that Spanish people care about the environment and sustainability. Walking and taking public transportation are common modes of transportation, and many people save energy in their homes by turning off lights and appliances when not in use. It’s essential to be mindful of these practices and try to adopt them while studying abroad in Spain. Doing so can help reduce your environmental impact and gain a deeper appreciation for Spanish culture and its values.