First Impressions of Spain!

Guest Post by: Joanne Chen, a Junior studying Marketing and Finance at the Foster School of Business. Joanne is currently participating in the Foster Exchange Program at IE University.

My first week in Madrid was a huge culture shock but from there on it kept getting better and better. A few things that surprised me the most was the two kisses to greet a friend or even someone you just met, the amount of PDA that Madrileños are comfortable with, and the fact that if you make plans to meet someone at 8:00pm that could mean anywhere between 8:00pm-9:00pm but most likely closer to 9:00pm. Some of the culture shocks that I had anticipated didn’t really happen such as siestas in the afternoon, because Madrid is a big enough city that the majority of places stay open.

The only culture shock that I anticipated that turned out to be true is that Spaniards eat late. Really late. Lunch is typically around 2pm and dinner is typically at 9pm with the earliest restaurants opening at 8:30pm. Even though I had anticipated this, I did not anticipate this being that big of a problem. But I would find myself getting hungry at strange times or all the time. On a typical week, I go to school four days a week and I have a long weekend to whatever I want. I spend these weekends either taking day trips to other cities in Spain or by taking weekend trips to nearby countries. It’s a surreal feeling to be sitting in class one hour and on a plane the next.