I’ve been in Spain for 21 days and to be honest, I got super comfortable the first week. The people here are so amazing and they definitely know how to fiesta! I’m still getting used to it because leaving your house at 1:20 a.m. is apparently way too early.
Another hard adjustment was dinner time. You know how you normally eat around 5pm? That doesn’t exist here. That’s siesta (nap)time and dinner time is around 9-10pm. It sounds crazy but, now I’ve become so accustomed to it and I’d probably cry if I don’t get my siesta time!
An adjustment that I’ve struggled so hard with since I have arrived in Spain is the fact that tipping is not a thing here. Since I am the type of person who tips a LOT and even over-tips (Does that even exist?) all the time, it has not been easy. I was speaking with my friend from Spain and she said that the maximum that people give is around 10-20¢. Who does that? If you were in New York, people would definitely spit in your food the next time you went. Right? I am constantly tempted to leave at least 1 euro and it is just unheard of. I tried to do this at a bar while it was really busy and the bartender gave me the most confused look EVER. So yeah, don’t tip while you’re in Spain.
Below I am going to put my personal tips on cultural norms in Spain and adjusting to studying abroad:
- Don’t tip.
- Do not skip siesta.
- Do not walk in the biking lane, they will hit you.
- It’s okay to talk to a stranger, you might make a friend.
- Don’t get freaked out if you see people openly partying in the streets.
- It’s okay, you can wear the same outfit… no one cares.
- Walk slow, you’re not in the concrete jungle anymore.
- I hope you have someone like Alyssa as your partner in crime.
- Give your body some time to adjust to the food, I am still trying to.
- All you have to say is “I’m from New York.”
- Don’t book three trips in one week. You’ll want to die. I almost did.
- Ask questions, remember, just like your first-grade teacher told you, “there is no such thing as a stupid question.”
- Speak with other internationals, they’re having similar experiences too!
- DO NOT EAT OUT EVERYDAY.
- Don’t leave your friends and family at home completely out of the loop, they miss you.
- When it comes to ordering food at a restaurant, I am bilingual and I don’t understand half of the food options.
- Get Sprint, the international service is beyond amazing. Seriously, I had to ask three times to make sure that there will be no international fees.
- Well, this is all I have so far and considering it’s only my third week abroad, I’m sure things will change. However, I will keep you guys updated.
P.S. shout out to Alyssa for helping make this list!