3 Phrases to Learn Before Studying Abroad in Barcelona, Spain

Molly Hancuh is a student at the University of Minnesota Morris and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Barcelona, Spain.

Before traveling to a Spanish speaking country, most people learn simple words such as “hola” (hello), “gracias” (thank you), or “de nada” (you’re welcome). However, there are a few other sayings that the locals in Barcelona use that might be good to know. Incorporating any of these phrases into your daily conversations will help you fit in. Plus, some are just fun to say!

Before you go to Barcelona, here are a few key phrases to learn:

1. No pasa nada

This loosely translates to “don’t worry about it”, and will become part of your daily vocabulary after about a week.

The phrase is extremely versatile. For example, if you knock your fork off the table at a restaurant, your waiter will say “no pasa nada” and bring you a new one. If you bump into someone, they may say “no pasa nada”. If you mispronounce a Spanish word, someone may tell you “no pasa nada” (after they correct you, of course).

Eventually, you’ll start to say it too!

2. Siesta

Nap time! A “siesta” is an afternoon rest or nap that many locals take advantage of.

The Spaniards love their siestas, which usually occur between about 2:00-4:00pm. While most restaurants and shops in tourist areas will stay open, small family run stores tend to close. During this time, the workers might run home, make lunch for their kids, take a quick nap, or just hang out with friends.

Take advantage of your siestas- you’ll need them, especially since Spaniards are known for staying up late!

3. Vale

“Vale” is used the same way we use “okay”.

It’s not uncommon to hear “vale vale vale” when speaking to someone. It’s used as “okay”, “yeah”, or “whatever”. Throw it in your vocab and you’ll fit in with the locals in no time!

Your Discovery. Our People… The World Awaits. 

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