By on May 26th, 2017

Understanding the Culture of Spanish International Students

Thousands of Spanish international students come to the United States every year, which means you may be planning to host one in the near future. If so, here’s what you want you should know about their culture.

The Spanish Enjoy Some of the World’s Best Weather in the World

Spain is known for its legendary beaches along the north, but there is plenty of sun to be enjoyed throughout the entire year. Rain is often welcomed during the summer months because of how much sun they receive.

The United States certainly has some beautiful areas of its own, but most of our country is very, very different weather-wise than what the Spanish are used to, especially in the regions that get lots of snow.

While international students from Spain should obviously know this before booking their stay, they probably won’t predict just how stir-crazy they’ll become here. Plan ahead by trying to find indoor activities that will keep them active.

America Is Much More Expensive

A lot of people find this hard to believe given how beautiful Spain is and how much of a tourist destination the entire country is.

One of the most well-guarded secrets amongst tourists is that Spain is extremely cheap. Again, Spanish international students should not be too surprised to find a huge gap in what they can buy back home compared to what they can purchase for the same amount here, but it’s worth keeping in mind.

Breakfast Is Early and Small

In America, we’re fond of reminding our children that, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” and encouraging them to put plenty on their plate.

Spanish international students will probably have a hard time taking to this advice. While every child is different, most Spanish students eat their breakfast early but don’t have much.

Lunch on the Other Hand…

Lunch is a different story. In Spain, it’s the largest meal of the day. Lunch breaks there can easily last a couple of hours. While you may not be able to accommodate this, you should also expect that, whenever possible, your student is going to enjoy a larger lunch than what we’re used to.

Siestas Are a Real Thing

One reason lunches go so long in Spain is because they take siestas. Many Americans have a hard time believing this nationwide naptime is a real thing, but it definitely is. Generally, you see shops begin closing over there at around 1:30pm and they’ll stay that way until about 5pm.

During that time, the entire country takes naps, watches TV or otherwise just relaxes. This is another cultural norm you may not be able to help with, but try to appreciate that your student may originally struggle with our American schedule.

Spanish People Are Very Friendly

Despite these cultural differences, you should find your Spanish international students to be extremely friendly. People from Spain are all too happy to tell you about their country and traditions. Never be afraid to ask them any questions.

While they will most likely appreciate getting out of the house and seeing the surrounding area, this is also why Spanish international students also enjoy hanging out with their families and getting to know one another.

Those who are 18 and older will also be night owls. In Spain, the nightlife usually doesn’t begin until about midnight, so if you do decide to take them out and show them a good time, you’ll probably find they’re a bit bemused if you do so at 7 or 8 pm.

Even if there is a bit of a language barrier, you should expect to have a lot of fun with your Spanish international student. They are incredibly warm and fun to be around. Keeping the above cultural norms in mind will also help you smooth their transition.