Becoming a Spaniard: Tips on Fitting into the Spanish Culture


Rebecca Alfaro is a student at the University of Denver and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Sevilla, Spain.

It is no joke when people tell you how beautiful Sevilla is. Everything from the culture, people and to the food has been a new experience for me. Starting on day one of my arrival to Spain I decided to push myself out of my comfort zone and do as much as I can to fit in. Here are the things I figured out along the way that have helped me fit into the Spanish culture.

1.Take it easy.

Coming from the fast-paced American culture, Sevilla has been a breath of fresh air. Everyone, from the students to the older citizens take their time with every aspect of their lives. For example, eating has been the most relaxing parts of my days here. Socializing and eating plates of every tapa imaginable for lunch is the norm here.

Relax and enjoy everything around you. Take long walks with a casual stride while taking in the beauty that is Sevilla. I have been learning to not fret over things and to instead enjoy what I am surrounded with at that very moment.

Spent a day at a beautiful beach in Cadíz with new friends.

2. Dress nice.

In general, Sevillanos look great everyday regardless of what they are doing. Drop the gym clothes and casual day wear that many Americans follow, unless you plan on actually working out. Instead, opt for your nicer, yet casual clothing. For women, blue or colored jeans with a nice blouse is the norm. Men often go for the jeans and plain top, but pair it with leather shoes or casual sneakers. Ladies, don’t be afraid to go all out with your makeup. Wearing red lipstick is considered a casual day look for many. This is your time to dress it up and have fun experimenting with the cool, casual style that Sevillanos rock on a daily basis.

3. Practice, practice, practice your Spanish.

It will be hard at the beginning, but there are so many benefits to practicing rather than sticking to English. First and foremost, you will learn a new language! By doing this you are more likely to meet locals who are often times just as interested to meet you as you are to meet them. I have met amazing locals so far by practicing my Spanish, and they are always willing to help me out when I stumble or forget a few words.

This is a beautiful plaza filled with friendly locals that I was able to practice my Spanish with.

4. Think like a local.

Seeing the tourist areas that Sevilla has to offer has been an adventure in and of itself. However, I have discovered wonderful shops, parks and streets that are just as great by exploring as a local would. Push yourself to hang around popular areas for locals rather than sticking to the touristy areas of Sevilla. That being said, if you want to go out at night, try to focus on bars or night clubs that many Americans do not know of. Practice tip #3 by asking locals where they hang out! You’ll be surprised what you discover.

The world awaits…discover it.

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