The “Difference List”

High School Summer Programs and Gap Year Study Abroad in Salamanca, Spain - Cathedral of Salamanca

The Cathedral of Salamanca from the Las Dueas Convent

When you travel to a different country, it doesn’t take long to start noticing some cultural differences. It’s not that what you’re experiencing or seeing is wrong, it’s just noticeably different from what you’re used to. When I studied in Salamanca, Spain, I noticed a lot of things that I found to be a little off. The “besos,” for example, are a perfect case in point: not many times in the US will you be greeted by your friends with a kiss on each cheek.

As I began noticing differences like this, I did something I suggest that everyone do. I kept a list of all the foreign customs and norms that I found odd, strange or just plain DIFFERENT! I kept my list stored in my phone, but if you plan to keep a journal, that would also be a perfect place to stash your list. Not only is it fun to have while you’re abroad, but it’s also a great thing to look back on later and have a good laugh.

I’m sure anyone who is studying or has studied abroad in Spain will find this list funny. Hopefully they’ll have some “OH, YEAH!” moments like I did.

So, without further ado, my “USA v. Espana List:”

1. Cars: People don’t bump music in their car.
2. Outlets: Enough said.
3. Besos: everyone greets me with kisses!
4. Meal times: Spanish people eat pretty late, and that includes ALL meals (even dinner!).
5. Stores: You are expected to say hello and goodbye every time you enter or leave.
6. Lights: If you’re staying in a hotel, you have to have your key card in a slot for the lights to work.
7. Tapas: Delicious appetizers that cost less than a euro? Yes please!
8. Siesta: ENTIRE CITIES shut down for a grown-up naptime, every day.
9. Dancing: People rarely touch while dancing, unless it’s a designated partner dance.
10. Check, Please: When it comes to tapas and dinner you get your check and pay for everything AFTER you’re done.  And not being expected to leave a tip is NICE 🙂
11. Fountain Drinks: Don’t exist.
12. Condiments: Salt is not left out on table and you may get a strange look if you ask for it.
13. Water: You have to specify whether you want a bottle or glass of water, or you’re getting charged for a bottle!
14. 1: The number one looks like an American’s J.
15. Home: Your home is the place where your host family gathers.  Hanging out with friends is done outside, at the cafes or in the Plaza Mayor.

 

What will you find when you go abroad?

This post was written by Lo Martinez, who studied with us in Salamanca, Spain during the spring of 2011.

 

Enter your name and email to get new posts by email!

“Best of the Blogs” - Abroad101.com
“Top Study Abroad Blogs” - GoOverseas.com
“Blog of the Week” - GoAbroad.com
“Top 10 Study Abroad Blogs You Should Be Reading” - The Study Abroad Blog
"The Best Meaningful Travel Articles of 2016"-GoAbroad.com
  • We use cookies to personalize content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyze our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners who may combine it with other information that you have provided. Please check out our privacy policy.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Speak Your Mind

*

Pinterest

[fts_pinterest pinterest_name=apiabroad type=boards_list]

Twitter

Join API in engaging on issues of equity, access, and inclusion in global education at the @DiversityAbroad Global Inclusion 2021! #InclusionIsGlobal #ispyapi #apiabroad

Learn more: https://t.co/EcdE7nr9Dq https://t.co/Nv8eEpzQAm
APIabroad photo
Deadlines have been extended! There is still time to apply to Winter and Spring 2022 API programs! Check out the link below for a list of open programs for Winter and Spring that are still accepting applications! #ispyapi #apiabroad

https://t.co/Qwy7Z4Veo3 https://t.co/evF1hNsYND
APIabroad photo
More and more students in STEM, business, or other fields are finding great coursework abroad! Check out our ClassFinder tool to find courses abroad within your major!
https://t.co/gCmo0Hi9TX

#apiabroad #ispyapi #studyabroad @apiabroad https://t.co/DMcTFIAUpm
APIabroad photo
Most API programs include credit-bearing coursework, even our internships count towards your degree. Need an internship to graduate? Think about taking one abroad for credit!
https://t.co/pRuawLmgAL

#apiabroad #ispyapi #studyabrad @apiabroad https://t.co/9L1xa2h5dW
APIabroad photo
Sept 15 to Oct 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month in the U.S., we would like to not only celebrate the culture but also reflect on Hispanic and Latino identity, belonging, and stereotypes and how we can better support Latinx students in their experiential learning programs. https://t.co/9ogXTw0Pnw APIabroad photo
The API Abroad Blog