Although the Spanish capital had a lot to offer, I was of course looking forward to the trip that our program had planned to Barcelona for the second weekend. During my time in Barcelona, I was able to learn about a whole different region of Spain, including transportation, cultural differences, and the history of the conflict between the northeastern region and the rest of Spain.
By living abroad in Madrid, Spain for a month, I was able to experience and learn first-hand a number of cultural differences when compared to life in the United States. As a Spanish minor in college, I have had the opportunity to learn about many different cultures in Spanish-speaking countries. However, getting the chance to immerse myself in the culture outside of a classroom setting was a special experience. During my time abroad, I learned about various cultural differences in Spain such as daily life/meal times, social norms, language, and much more!
As the saying goes, knowledge is power.
It’s true for travel as well, especially in the post-pandemic world, where travelers and would-be expats need to consider even more variables than before, such as entry requirements and health protocols that may differ from country to country.
It won’t be a piece of cake. Travel will require more research and planning, which is bad news for those of us who like to get away on a whim to explore a new destination.
The good news? Learning about a country’s people, language, and culture before traveling can lead to a much richer experience when you get there.
Relocating Overseas: How finding a community and staying grounded will help you thrive in expat life
It was somewhere around here, in the 9th arrondissement, that I fell hard for Paris a decade ago. Long before I could call myself a parisienne, long before I found a job as a content writer for a French tech company. It may not sound bohemian or romantic (sorry to disappoint), but it pays the bills. Living here doesn’t come cheap, yet you couldn’t tell by watching movies set in Paris and dreaming of working from a café in the Latin Quarter.
In 2018, I visited Iceland after taking an 8-week course focused on the history, biology, and culture of Iceland and its people. According to our tour guide, Hrefna, even though most Icelanders speak English, adults don’t generally speak English with each other, only Icelandic. They are very proud of their native tongue, and many are involved in efforts focused on maintaining the language, which is what Icelandic Language Day is all about!