One of the biggest differences between American and Spanish culture, is that Spaniards love to talk. Of course, Americans like to talk too, there’s just a time and a place. Spaniards strike up conversations wherever you are, whether it be a street corner, the park, a cervecería, etc. So my biggest tip to being happy and integrating yourself in Spain? ¡Habla!
Talk to the natives and talk to your friends!
Talking to native Spaniards will give you a good idea of what to expect in your new country and let you brush up on your high school Spanish skills, if that’s the case. Ordering in Spanish is an easy way to get to know the food better and give you some confidence, since no simple order is going to turn into a long monologue that leaves you scratching your head and scrunching your face as you work to conjugate verbs on the spot. The simplest part of speaking is to just say hello. Spaniards love to be acknowledged, so a simple Hola, buenas or ¿Qué tal? as you pass by someone or walk into an alimentación goes a long way.
Most importantly, talk to your friends! You have all the time in the world in Spain, so don’t be afraid to indulge in the lifestyle and turn your casual lunch into a three-hour long rendez-vous. A café con leche followed by stimulating conversation is a great way to become closer to your new acquaintances and embrace the culture. Misery loves company, but so does happiness. I promise, a late night walk through the metropolitan area full of loud laughs and conversation is mejor que nada.