A truthful post about my experience with cultural differences, language barriers (???), and other things during my time abroad.
So, here we go….
Note: This post isn’t meant as a criticism! Just a fun blog post that will hopefully make you chuckle 🙂
So, here’s the sitch.
Yes. Somewhat of a language barrier exists. However, if you know a little bit of the Spanish language, you will be okay. There are two types of scenarios that I have experienced within the language barrier.
A. Trying to speak to locals in Spanish and they respond in English. Okay, once is fine, so I continue to speak Spanish… and they respond in English, again. Like dude, I’m trying to merge into the culture and become fluent, ya know? Roll with me here.
Or B. They don’t know any English and you know little Spanish, except for random words like gato (cat) or aguacate (avocado) so you end up using a mix of Spanglish and a bunch of hand gestures. Almost like you’re playing charades.
So, Pro Tip: Know some basic phrases before you travel anywhere. You will thank yourself later.
You are walking around the city with your friends, doing touristy things. Suddenly, you realize you need to use the bathroom. Great! Simple! There are tons of those available. Just hand over a couple of euros and you’ll be on your way. Wait, you’re out of toilet paper? That’s too bad. I guess you’ll just have to go without it! At least you can wash your hands throughly! What’s that? There’s no soap? You’ll be okay, just wash your hands next time you go to the bathroom.
The scenario I have written above has unfortunately happened to me more than I would like to admit. Literally, restaurants, hotels, museums, bars, clubs, stores, EVERYWHERE. Not sure what it is about Europe, but they don’t seem to restock their toilet paper or soap as often as the States does.
Also, can we talk about how you have to pay to use the bathroom?? And if you’re sitting there thinking that you could just run into the nearest McDonald’s and sneak into the bathroom, YOU’RE WRONG. Here, you have to buy something from their menu, then enter a code for the bathroom given to you on your receipt. Crazy.
This only bothers me because I’m a SUPA SUPA germaphobe.
Pro Tip: Always carry some tissues and Purell around with you.
That H20 tho
Thirsty? You’ll have to hand over a few Euros, every. single. time.
Honestly missing how the water in the States is 100% free
Pro Tip: Take a bottle of water out with you before you go anywhere.
Also, while we are on the topic of free…
Bread or Olives
Bread is never free. Olives are (usually) never free. If a waiter brings your bread or olives before your meal, and you aren’t willing to pay for it, DON’T ACCEPT IT.
Thinking about going out to eat with your friends? Make sure to bring lots and lots and lots of change!
Splitting checks is not a thing here. This makes going out with your friends 10x more difficult, especially if you don’t have exact change.
According to locals, usually one person will pay the check. Or everyone will put in their share, with exact change.
This is something I have become extremely grateful for in the States!!!
Wifi. Easy to find, difficult to get it working.
You will either have to:
A. Allow the place of business to connect to your facebook. Some might even post a “check-in” saying that you are at their location.
B. At restaurants, pay for something on their menu then enter the code listed at the bottom of your receipt.
or C. Notifications will pop up on your home screen but your internet and other apps will continue to tell you “No Internet Connection”
Of course, if you have a data plan this problem isn’t relevant. However, if you only have access to texting like me, you understand my struggle.
This one applies to everyone 18 years old and up.
First the most obvious: You can drink. You can buy alcohol. You can club. I don’t have much to say about that, other than be careful.
Secondly, you technically count as a “student” so you are eligible for a student discount. This’ll save you a couple of bucks on some things. Tg for this because unfortunately, I am not made of money.
So, Pro Tip: Bring your Student ID with you on your trip. It will save you lots of money on museums, art exhibits, etc. This one I failed to do and somehow have gotten by without or around not having my student ID.
Trains are a blessing sent from above.
They are cheap, easily accessible, and most importantly they are hassle free.
I wish the States would use trains more often. We need to hop on that train. Haha. See what I did there?
Other random things:
- Toilets have buttons. All of them.
- Platform shoes are IN.
- Spanish men are very touchy and enjoy weird American dancing. Stay away from them.
- Chocolate means weed. Just say no if asked.
BUT don’t let these hindrances or differences scare you, adventure is out there! Embrace the differences. Learn more about the world and other cultures.
Enjoy yourselves. Love,