Here in Madrid, sometimes you forget about life back at home and learn to focus on life abroad.
I got involved with this program through my study abroad program at the university I attend here in Spain. We have what is called an “intercambio” which is a Spanish student they pair up with the Americans who are the about the same age and have similar interests (basically a forced friendship). I got lucky with my intercambio because he’s studying tourism at school and is a master at showing my friends and I around Madrid. He also really challenges us to only speak in Spanish when we’re with him and his Spanish friends which is really helpful. He’s fluent in Spanish and English but sometimes his friends aren’t so it’s nice when they help me with my Spanish and I help them with their English (and they teach me Spanish slang tehe).
These are some topics I commonly get asked about or hear from the locals in Madrid:
“Why are all the food portions huge in America?”
“You guys are LOUD”
“Why are Americans so obsessed with their phones?”
That last question really made me stop and think. I wrote an article for The Odyssey last year which discussed a situation where my phone was stolen and how I dealt with not having it for awhile and what I noticed about phone usage around me. Why ARE Americans so obsessed with their phones though? When my new Spanish friends asked me this, I also noticed that while we were all hanging out waiting for our tapas to arrive, none of the Spanish kids had their phones on the table nor were they using them. The only time someone actually used their phone was to show me something on it. I’m not sure if they didn’t use their phones because they knew they had to pay extra attention to my friend and I (because of our accents) but when it comes to Americans, everyone’s constantly glued to their phones. I also don’t know if Spaniards for sure do this all the time when they hang out with their friends but I do know for a fact that they don’t snapchat every single thing that they do. I, personally, am not a big snapchatter but I do know that it’s a common stereotype amongst my generation in America. It’s very interesting to hear one person’s perspective or opinion on Americans. We may all be the same age but live totally different lives and it’s things like that which intrigue me to learn more about what people think about Americans.
Coming up, my friend and I have tickets to see the musical, El Rey Leon (aka THE LION KING) in two weeks. For those of you who really know me, you know how much of a musical theatre geek I am so I am excited beyond words for this show. I’ve never seen the stage version of The Lion King before so seeing it for the first time and in Spanish will definitely be an interesting experience! Adios for now!