Before visiting Spain, I had always been curious about other educational systems around the world. I got a sneak peek of this when I taught English at a summer camp a few years ago. I loved this experience and wanted to make it long-term, so I decided to apply for Meddeas. I have loved every second of it! I hope to stay in Spain and teach for a long time since it also helps to have family near that I can go visit.
As someone who is familiar with this incredible country, I want to share some tips that I have learned over the years.
Make a list before visiting Spain
When visiting Spain, you need to bear in mind whether you are visiting for a few days or you are staying for a while. It is not the same to make a list of things you want to do during a long weekend than during 9 months.
Equally important, it might sound like a cliche, but the best part of visiting Spain though is to truly immerse yourself in the culture. Whether it is for the variety of activities you can do, such as going to sports events or talking to locals, or the mix of different tasty restaurants you can visit, the whole experience is an open book of adventures that you cannot miss.
Now, a definitive fact about living with Spanish people is that they enjoy gathering around food. The Spanish traditions would be nonsense without something to share around a table. The best thing to do is to meet each other, but if this is with food, much better. Furthermore, Spanish lunchtime is a food paradise.
Most restaurants open for lunch around 1:30 p.m. and the crowds start showing up around 2 p.m. Many people end the working day at 8:00 pm, so this is why they save their social live for the late hours. On weekends, tables will stay full until well past 4:30 p.m. as friends and family keep talking long after the meal is over, a custom known as sobremesa. Read this post about mealtimes in Spain and food, family, and friends. By the way, the food here is delicious and healthy, but do not think that we only eat paella and sangría.
People and getting around
What you need to know about Spaniards is that they are very welcoming. They are usually friendly and, although people don´t do this every day, if you meet a friend or are introduced to someone new, a double cheek kiss is given to say hello and goodbye. Also, they like to walk everywhere. However, another good thing here in Spain is that public transportation can take you anywhere. Public transport is excellent: affordable, clean, and well-connected.
If you have never visited Spain before, the architecture is mesmerizing! Other than the attractive landscapes of Spain, the historical and geographical architecture is one of the many reasons to visit.
If you are planning a visit, I suggest packing a variety of clothes, since each region varies weather-wise. Also, did you know that traveling from Spain to other countries is easy and affordable? There are so many incredible countries and cultures to explore in Europe without traveling very far.
Last, but not least, Spanish isn’t the only official language in Spain. If you decide to travel around, you will learn that Spain is divided into 17 autonomous communities. Of the seventeen, six of them have official languages other than Spanish and, beyond that, other non-official languages can still be found in many parts of Spain.
Finally, if you want to discover more about what is it like to live in Spain while Teaching English with Meddeas, check out this video from our participant, Anna Shay. She describes very well the experience of getting involved in the program as well as living an adventure each day.