My previous blog post discussed how, due to my living situation, I’ve been learning about numerous European cultures. It should go without saying, however, that the culture I have learned the most about is the Spanish one.
I’ve adopted some parts of the Spanish culture into my daily routine; for example, every morning and evening I drink café con leche with friends at local cafés, and every afternoon I take advantage of the Spanish siesta (which shouldn’t come as a surprise given the title of this post 😉 ). At least once a week I go out for tapas with friends, which involves going to two or three restaurants over a three hour period and trying small plates of food with drinks. Other cultural excursions have been more unique, such as watching the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona—something I will never do again!—and trying pintxos in the Basque Country. Evidently, food is a big part of the Spanish culture, so I’m also taking Spanish cooking classes; today we made paella and arroz con leche, both of which were delicious!
Along with learning about the Spanish culture through experiences, I’ve also learned a lot about it in my classes. The two electives that I take are Spanish History and Spanish Art. In my history class, we talk a lot about the political state of Spain; currently, there are five major political parties and the president is a socialist. I’ve also learned about major issues that Spain is dealing with, such as people moving in throngs from rural areas to big cities and the current generation having too few kids to support the older generation. Through my art class, I’ve learned about the prominent Spanish artists, such as El Greco and Velázquez, and the large amount of cathedrals in Northern Spain due to El Camino. These tidbits about Spanish culture and history are just ones that stick out in my mind—every day I learn at least one new thing about Spain, thanks to my awesome professor, Pacho.
Despite only having been here for two weeks, I already feel much more familiar with the Spanish lifestyle, and I look forward to other ways I’ll learn about and experience it within the next four weeks!