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Similarities and differences between the U.S. and Spain

Filed in Blog, Spain by on May 31, 2019
by Laura W.

I’ve been in Spain for about three days, but before this I had never gone abroad. I hadn’t ever traveled without my family. I’ll be honest, it has been quite rough, but my aunt recommended one thing which has really helped. She told me to both compare and contrast. It can be so easy when you visit another country to look at everything that is different. But looking at the things that are the same has helped me with homesickness quite a bit. So, from my first three days, here’s a list of things that are both similar and different:

1. Driving

Drivers in Spain are a bit cutthroat. They’re much more willing, it seems, to cut people off and drive in the middle of the road. However, they are also much more accommodating to people walking, which leads me to the next point.

2. Walking

People walk everywhere here. In the U.S. it isn’t uncommon to see people walking, but there’s just many more people walking here.

3. Meal times

They eat LATE here. My family typically eats lunch when the kids get home from school at about 3 p.m. and dinner at 8 or 9 p.m. It’s been quite the adjustment, because in the U.S. I used to go to school, then rest, then have dinner and then do stuff AFTER dinner. Here I can’t keep to that schedule, because there isn’t enough time after dinner unless I want to stay up until 1 a.m.

4. Sun up and sun down

Here, the sun doesn’t set until about 10 at night, which is, my host family said, part of the reason that they eat supper so late. It still rises at about 6 or 7 a.m. though.

5. Paper sizes

This is a small thing, but which is very important as a student. The paper is about an inch taller here than in America. Which means it sticks out of all my folders. Which does indeed really annoy me.

Those are some of the biggest differences I’ve noticed, however, when I’m upset and missing home (which is much of the time, to be honest) I look for similarities.

1. Cows

I’ve lived in the Midwest my whole life, and there are cows everywhere. There are also cows here! It’s a small thing, but I really like cows.

2. Pigeons

Just like in big American cities (though Oviedo is not that large. It’s about double the size of Colombia though), there are pigeons bobbing around all over the place. I have a pet pigeon, so I really enjoy this.

3. Dogs

Because people walk so much more here, I have seen even more dogs than I would in the U.S. This is something I love. But the basic point is that there are still dogs and they’re all still good boys.

4. Sibling relations

My host family consists of a mother and her two daughters who are 11 and 14. I myself have three brothers who I sorely miss. One thing that has helped with this however is getting to witness the relationship with my brothers. They argue a bit and tease each other, but in the end, you can tell they love each other dearly, just like with my brothers and I. Siblings are siblings all over the world.

Spain so far has been a roller coaster of emotions, but I am learning quite a bit on the ride.


About the blogger

Laura W. is studying abroad on the Spanish Language, Literature and and Culture program in Oviedo, Spain.

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