¡Hola desde España!
I am very excited to tell you all about my travels!
I began my journey in Madrid, then visited the mystical city of Toledo and finally settled into my new home: Sevilla, España. Over the past couple of days, I have encountered many cultural differences. The biggest difference is the time that I eat. Breakfast is around the same time as the United States- at 8 or 9 in the morning- but lunch is much later than normal. Normally in the United States I eat lunch around 12:00, noon, but here in España I eat around 2:30 in the afternoon. Because I eat lunch later, I also eat dinner much later. In España, the people typically eat dinner around 9:30 or 10:00 at night! This is very different from the United States where I eat around 5-6 in the evening.
When I met my Spanish host family, I was greeted with a kiss on each cheek, very different from an American greeting. As you know, Americans do not kiss each other when they meet; they shake hands. Believe it or not, the difference in greeting says a lot about the culture. When Americans shake hands it shows our valued concept of “personal space.” We place a lot of space between one another, and we do not touch each other much when we talk. Spaniards, on the other hand, do not have a strict concept of “personal space.” Spaniards often speak very closely to one another as well as touch each other while in conversation.
As I got settled into my Spanish home I noticed a small cultural difference in the way to keep warm. In the United States, many homes have central heating; this means there is heat throughout the whole house. In España, my house does not have this. Instead, some rooms have a small heater for only that room. Because heat does not go throughout the entire house, the inside of the house is very chilly. However, the Spaniards have a unique way of keeping themselves warm. They place a small heater underneath a table, then they place long warm blankets over the top of the table. Normally, the blankets will cover the entire table and touch the floor. Then to keep warm, they sit around the table and pull the blanket over their legs. I tried it; my legs felt the heat from both the blankets and the heater. It was a great idea; it keeps you very warm!
These are a few of the major differences I’ve encountered my first few days in España. Even though they seem very odd, they are charming characteristics of the Spanish culture. I enjoy learning the different ways of life many miles away from home! I am looking forward to hearing from you all!
Classmates Connecting Cultures