I’m finally started to get comfortable in Spain after being here for 2.5 weeks now. It’s definitely different than the U.S. There is so much we take for granted. Just simple things like A/C & water are luxuries here. It’s near impossible to get a cold drink around here because ice is rarely used. Public bathrooms also are nonexistant. If you need to go to the bathroom, you will usually only find them in restaurants, in which case you are going to have to buy something to use it.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a 3rd world country, it’s just different than the U.S. It’s not impossible to get used to, just difficult. Slowly but surely I’m adapting to the culture.
This weekend, I went to Costa Brava with ISA, which is the stretch of coast line that starts north of barcelona and continues all the way to France. It’s absolutely gorgeous. We took a boat up and down the coast line and saw some of the most beautiful houses built into the hills like you typically think of being in Greece or someplace like Cinque Terre. The water was absolutely gorgeous. Torquiose blue.
One of the biggest things I have noticed here is that you walk everywhere. & don’t think taking the metro helps you to avoid the extravagant amounts of walking, it doesn’t. I found that out the hard way. First of all, you have to walk to and from the metro, and you also have to walk several flights of stairs and down many long hallways to even get to the metro…. then you have to walk more when you switch metro lines. Needless to say, it’s impossible to avoid walking when in Barcelona, it’s just an unavoidable part of their life here. On the plus side, I’m getting tons of exercise!
The eating schedule has been one of the hardest things for me to adjust to. They eat a light breakfast as soon as they get up and then don’t eat anything, not even a snack, until lunch around 2 or 3 o clock. Then, one again, they don’t typically snack, and don’t eat dinner until around 10 o clock at night. Sometimes even later!
I’m taking 2 business classes over here (International Business & Cross-Cultural Management). They have been extremely interesting and insightful into the cultural differences between the different countries of the world, and of course the different norms of business and the way it is conducted. The classes have been extremely helpful for gaining insight into the way one should do business with a person of another country. Overall, very valuable to my business education.
I still have 3.5 weeks to go, and I’ve already learned so much about not only the country of Spain, but the people, the culture, and even about myself. It has been an extreme challenge to adapt, but such an incredibly rewarding and eye-opening experience.