February 2, 2014, by Guest blog

The Spanish…they’re noisy but refreshingly relaxed

Just over 2 hours away from the UK lies Spain; familiar, sunny and an obvious tourist destination for many Brits. I always thought I knew Spain and its culture quite well after various holidays here as well as studying it throughout school and university. However it has only been since living here for a prolonged period of time that the stark cultural differences between our countries has come apparent to me. Although of course in many ways we share similarities due to being European nations, both developed and westernised, it’s the small day-to-day differences that still baffle me and are what I would call cultural challenges.

For example, the noise level. As I write this I am trying to drown out the noise of club anthems being blasted from both my flatmate’s computer as well as the TV. We live in a flat, so as you can imagine this is pretty loud. Being a Londoner I am of course used to more noise than most people, but the noise levels here are just something else. From the TV being on at a deafening, unnecessary level, to offensively loud voices during casual conversation, I can easily say that this particular cultural difference is one which I won’t look back on too favourably.

Example B: the mañana attitude. On the one hand, the relaxed way in which people go about their business is refreshing compared to England, more spontaneity, less stress and arguably no worries. However when you actually need to get things done, run errands, get in touch with people and sort out important details, this cultural difference is particularly frustrating. The lack of urgency here combined with the overwhelming chilled (lazy) attitude of the people means that unfortunately it is quite easy to see where it all went wrong in terms of the economic crisis. A little bit of motivation would go a long way.

Of course, this is just how I see these differences. Despite being an annoyance to me now, from a more positive point of view it definitely makes me appreciate how things are done in England. I also just try to take these challenges at face value and not try to let them get to me as well as trying to adapt to the way of life here, otherwise I probably would have gone a bit loca. After 5 months I can appreciate our cultural differences and understand that these variances are what makes us all interesting in our own ways.

Posted in Cultural challenges