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5 things I've learned in my first week studying abroad in Spain

Muy diferente de los Estados Unidos...

5 things I've learned in my first week studying abroad in Spain
Nicolette Giambalvo

While writing this article, I am currently sitting on a terrace overlooking the beautiful city that is Granada, Spain!


I feel so grateful to be able to have the opportunity to spend a month completely immersed in the Spanish culture while studying the Spanish language.

It's only week one of my month-long experience and I've already come to learn so many normalities of the Spanish culture that aren't so normal to us Americans:

1. Alcohol is cheaper than water and I am TOTALLY okay with that.

Let me know why I tried to be healthy by ordering a water at lunch only to realize it was 3 euros more than a beer. You could say my choice to stay healthy flew out the window pretty quickly.

Dos mas cervezas, por favor!

Not to mention there are beer vending machines on almost every corner. America, get hip!

2. "Tapas" is the greatest thing ever and the rest of the world needs to conform ASAP.

Tapas restaurants are essentially restaurants that serve you appetizers for free... what could be better than that?!

Once you sit down and order a drink, the waiter automatically brings over an array of small dishes for you to enjoy while you sip your sangria! The tapas range from olives to meat and cheese platters to my personal favorite: croquettas! Croquettas are little-fried poppers that are filled with different types of cheeses, vegetables, and meats! DELICIOUSO!

A couple of beers and some tapas and I would call that a meal!

3. You better go out to dinner with a generous friend because Spaniards don't believe in separate checks.

I guess Spanish servers expect there to be a big baller in your dinner party because they'll look at you like you have six heads if you ask to pay for your meal and your meal only.

My study abroad group has mastered the art of just throwing together a ton of euros and hoping it covers everything.

4. Cars might as well be allowed to drive on sidewalks because that's about how narrow the roads are.

You would never know the roads are roads because:

1. Everyone just walks in the middle of the street then casually dodges the cars once they come flying down the road and

2. They don't nearly look wide enough to be able to fit a car let alone a bus!

The amount of times that I already have almost been run over by a car in the week I've been here is concerning but hey, I'll adapt... right?

5. "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day"... Nope! Not according to the Spaniards!

Lunch or "almuerzo" is the most important meal of the day in Spain. It's served a little bit later than it is in America, around 2:30 or 3. It is similar to what people in America would consider a meal for dinner because it's always 3 courses.

Because I'm staying with a host mom for the month, she cooks all my meals for me. The first course is like an appetizer, usually soup or salad.

The main meal is usually pretty hefty with meats and beans and always very healthy!

The third course is considered "dessert" but SHOULDN'T BE. Who considers cherries and yogurt dessert?! Not me! But maybe Americans should adapt this so we aren't considered the most obese country...

Overall, my first week in Spain has been such a learning experience and I am eager to be even further immersed in this beautifully unique culture!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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