When you arrive in Spain for your Spanish classes, you will see and learn why we say Spain is different. It’s possible that because of the awesome weather, which is significantly better than the rest of Europe, the Spanish are very pleasant people. Also, because of the heat, they spend a lot of time in the streets, which many times cause them to develop established social relationships, or at least be open to them. In many cases, if there is a specific shop you tend to walk by often, the owner will start recognizing you and saying “¡Hola!” every time they see you. You will notice that the people are very nice and open to conversation, so you will have many opportunities to practice what you learn in your Spanish classes!
Being positive, lively, and outgoing are common characteristics found in Mediterranean countries, which are also common in Italy and Greece. Because of this, people in Madrid are open to spontaneous conversations, and are normally willing to help if asked.
They appreciate interaction and relationships, and they especially enjoy a party. They say there is always a party in Spain, so take advantage of your stay in Madrid – enjoy the environment and relax after your Spanish classes!
Also, as is commonly known, the Spanish are very noisy. They speak in loud voices and some Europeans consider their tone as yelling. You will notice, especially in the bars, when there are a lot of people in a small space, it can be very loud and lively. Don’t worry, you will become accustomed to it, and even begin speaking Spanish at the same volume!
Spain differs by regions, but in each community they share common customs, such as their schedules, for example. Depending on where you are in Spain, you will be amazed by how different the daily structures are. In general, they start the day much later, making them end late as well. They normally eat lunch at around 2 or 3 (considered as mid- day) and eat dinner at 9 or 10. On the weekends they may eat dinner as late as 11! To eatthis late, it is common to take lunch breaks earlier in the day.
Normally at 11, Spaniards take a break to have coffee with something to eat. This is something that confuses the foreigners. In Spain they call this mid morning snack ”lunch” and what we would call lunch “food” at 2. So in your Spanish classes at LAE Madrid you will have a mid-morning break to have lunch, and classes end at 1:30 to eat, halfway between the Europe and Spanish time!
Another difference is that at 14, lunch is the main meal of the day. It usually consists of three courses, and it is normally 1.5 – 3 hours long, (depending on the amount of people at the table) allowing lots of time to sit back and relax. The act of eating is not only to bring food to the mouth. It is also to enjoy the food, good company, and your break from the day. Also everyone knows, if possible, it is common to enjoy a siesta after eating. Since this is only to sleep lightly and for a small period of time, it is normal to sleep on a couch rather than a bed. They also call this a nap, referring to a short amount of sleep. Do you think that you can get used to taking a nap after your Spanish classes?
The party schedule is also different, starting much later. It starts at 10 or 11, which usually extends dinner until 1 or later into the night. This is when the Spanish go to the bars and are likely to spend the night in the clubs until 6 in the morning!
Finally, despite the fact that times are changing and many young people are starting to learn English, you will find that the society is not used to the English language. Watching television, movies, the news and the radio in Spanish will be great practice for what you learn in your Spanish classes!
These are some of the small details that you will notice while living in Spain. You will discover in this marvelous country that the people are friendly, affectionate and willing to help. Here, the people take time to enjoy the sun, food, and company. Could there be a better way to learn Spanish? Don’t miss out, join the adventure!