Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Living in Spain by Cody

An important part of the cultural experience for our engineering students studying in Spain is the "home stay" with a Spanish family. In this blog entry, Cody reflects on the differences between life in Spain and in the US.


While studying abroad, I’ve noticed how many things are culturally different. From dealing with the homeless, walking to anywhere in the city, eating food, how to spend free time, and simple challenges for students such as cutting their hair. The first thing students have to get acclimated to is living styles. Three other students and I live with a house mom. Her name is Maria. She lives like typical Spaniards, eating a small breakfast, taking a siesta, walking for fun, and cooking all fresh foods.

I’ve compared my living standards with other students and we all live similarly. We eat toast, fruit, and yogurt for breakfast. And we drink orange juice, chocolate milk, tea, and coffee. This is quite different from having tacos, waffles, eggs, bacon, and pancakes. Surprisingly enough, the smaller meal fills us up. For lunch, we eat a few courses. All of the food is fresh like fresh bread, fresh vegetables, and fresh meat. One of the most famous meals that is cooked in Spain is called “paella”. The meal includes lots of rice cooked in saffron, shrimp, chicken and peppers.

Our host mom is perhaps the best that there is. She is extremely nice and thoughtful. One day she was cooking dinner and knew it was going to be awhile. So Maria brought all of us Jell-O and a cup of orange juice. We didn’t ask for it, she just did it out of generosity. She makes our favorite foods and knows exactly what each person likes and dislikes. She keeps the place very clean and its looks extravagant with all the genuine decorations. The home is smaller than American homes, but we live very comfortably.

One of the simple problems guys have abroad is haircuts. Almost every guy in the program has gotten a haircut. But we have gone about different ways to receive them. I went to a local place and spoke broken Spanish to get the cut. Another friend borrowed hair clippers and shaved it himself. And one of my roommates used clippers to buzz my other roommate’s hair. It doesn’t sound like a major issue but it’s these types of small problems that challenge students abroad.

1 comment:

  1. It's the little things in life that we often take for granted and miss the most, like hair cuts, etc.

    In the Spanish culture, family is essential. It sounds like your host moms are taking wonderful care of you. :-)