January 20, 2014, by Guest blog

Spanish culture is making me more relaxed

Luckily I have not experienced an enormous amount of times when I have felt frustrated with the culture and ready to pack my bags to head home. I am thoroughly enjoying my time here and I feel I have adapted well to the cultural changes, most probably because I love the relaxed way of Spanish life here.

There are many positives of Spanish culture which include the relaxed work schedule that I have. My timetable is only 4 days a week and if that was not amazing enough, I only work from 9 until 2 each day because as it so happens that is the school timetable here. Therefore, this cultural difference from the English 9 until 5 has not affected me in a negative way, naturally!

Additionally, the general relaxed mentality has rubbed off on me and people who know me well are going to sigh a huge sigh of relief for this due to my previous stressed personality. Therefore this is definitely the most predominant cultural aspect which I hope to take home with me at the end of the year.

However, there have been cultural challenges with regard to the Spanish daily routine. Shops are not open 9 until 5, instead they are open from 9 until 2 and then again from 5 until 8. This difference can be very frustrating at times, but mainly at the beginning of my time here when I needed to organise the internet in the house, among other things.

spain friends2The fact that there is no native British English speakers in my town and only 5 other Americans has, at times, made me miss the language and accent from back home. When I Skype my family or friends I suddenly realise that I’ve not heard the language for a long time and it does make me feel slightly homesick. Some days when all you hear walking down the street, in the staff room, in the local shop and on the television is Spanish it can make you feel a little isolated and out of your comfort zone.

Also, not having home comforts is definitely a major challenge, simple objects such as not having a kettle to boil water for a cup of tea and also not being able to drink juice because they don’t drink anything like Robinsons here have been the two main obstacles. Even though these are simple things they make me miss home.

Differences in dress code and behaviour at the Primary school where I work were initially the greatest cultural challenges to accept. It is significantly more relaxed; teachers wear see-through tops and leggings, the health and safety is definitely less apparent and the teacher-pupil relationship is different. Although it is still strange and at first it took some time to get used to, it feels more normal now.

There may be more cultural obstacles to come but for now I feel accustomed to the differences that Spain holds.

Posted in Cultural challenges