For those of you who do not know I have been in Madrid, Spain for the past month and will be studying here until May 26th. It is a beautiful city with an incredibly unique culture. It was a bit of shock when I first came over with my Bostonian roots but after living here for a month I finally do not look like as much of a tourist and am assimilating a bit. The biggest differences I have noticed between Boston and Madrid is
1.You cannot stretch in public. This is considered very rude for some reason.
2.You cannot yawn in public. Again this is considered rude and these 2 differences have been a struggle for me.
3.PDA (public displays of affections) is considered normal and it is an ordinary thing to be making out with your girlfriend right on the train. Stretching in public forget about it but shoving your tongue down your girlfriends throat in a packed area is just fine.
4.They eat dinner around 10 PM and generally eat a light breakfast, heavy lunch and light dinner. This is a cultural difference I am disregarding and I will continue to eat 3 massive meals a day.
5.Staring at people as you walk by or just in public is not considered rude. It is completely normal to be walking down the street and have numerous people stare at you. When I first got here I thought I perpetually had a stain on my first or face because of this.
6.Siestas. One of my favorite things about Spain. The city pretty much shuts down from 2-5 and everyone eats a bit and takes a nap. I can definitely get used to a mid day nap every day.
7.Fashion. Everyone wears a scarf and tight pants. In my attempt at assimilation I have bought a scarf but am holding out on the tight pants. They also NEVER wear sweats pants.
8.The portion size of food. The portions are NOWHERE close to the portions in Boston. At the same time I do not see many overweight people in Madrid.
9.Prices of goods. Pretty much everything is more expensive in Madrid except for the bread and wine. There is no dollar menu at Burger King and Mcdonalds and for example a single notebook will cost you roughly 3 euros which is about 4 dollars.
10.Nightlife. The clubs do not open until midnight and generally one show’s up to the club around 2 AM. On a typical night your back at your house by about 6. Now you see why Spaniards need their siestas!
So far these are the biggest differences I have noticed. I have absolutely loved my time in Madrid and as I continue to learn the language I am sure my time will only get better. I came into Madrid barely speaking any Spanish and in one short month I can actually converse with Spaniards which is awesome. If there is any questions you would like me to answer about Spain tweet me @aghanomics212.
In your travels abroad what are the biggest culture differences from America you have noticed?