15 Mini Culture Shocks in Spain

Authored by:
Dana H.

Dana H.

​It's hard to believe, but I've been in Spain for nearly two months now. While there hasn't been too big of a "culture shock," perhaps because I've already been here multiple times, there are some things I've noticed to be quite different here.

  1. Many people wear fanny packs, often over their shoulders.
  2. They call erasers "rubbers..." 'nuff said.
  3. Men wear espadrilles.
  4. People are short-- thus, the infrastructure is made accordingly. The transport stations and metro cars often have very low ceilings. My favorite thing to do is watch the occasional tall person have to duck as he walks through the station.
  5. Kids call teachers by their first names.
  6. It often takes a solid ten minutes to get a classroom of kids to sit down and be quiet. Don't get me wrong, there are definitely some teachers who lay down the law, but the children are often very rambuctious.
  7. 100 Montaditos is the equivalent of Starbucks in terms of getting people's names right. So far I've been Tina, Yana, and Jana.
  8. Some people have mullets. It hurts me.
  9. The 90's are back here. We're talkin overalls, converse, choker necklaces, oversized denim jackets, the whole nine. And I'm about it.
  10. The kids are very affectionate. They hug you and hold your hand after knowing you for a mere 40 minutes. It's adorable and it warms my icy heart.
  11. The dogs here are CHILL. They walk unleashed along the city sidewalk and don't bother anyone. Often, you can't even tell who the owner is until you see a random person quite far ahead of the dog look back with the classic "you still there?" look and then keep on walking. Who trains these dogs to be so well-behaved and chill?
  12. People don't wipe down the machines at the gym... Why?
  13. The kids are obsessed with The Big Bang Theory. I would say 90% of the kids I ask consider it their favorite show.
  14. They're really into family here. All the kids refer to going to their "village," on weekends or holidays, or say that they have a dog or a pool in their "village". I asked a Spaniard what this meant-- do they all live in the city and have separate houses in outlying pueblos? She explained that many people's grandparents and relatives don't live in the city and as Spaniards are very family-oriented, they often return to these homes.
  15. People become nocturnal on weekends. Clubs don't start poppin' until about 2 a.m and don't expect to get home until at least 6 a.m.


Overall, I love each and every little difference Spain has and I'm embracing them all.

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