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Spanish Culture and Traditions through 8 Phrases Learnt in Spain

My name is Maggie, and I’m from Wisconsin, and now, a part of me will always be from Andalucía as well. I decided to teach English in Spain after graduating from university at St. Norbert College with an education degree, a desire to speak Spanish and learn more about Spanish culture, and a need for adventure.

8 Sentences that Reflect Spanish Culture (to me)

From the very beginning of my time here, I wanted to capture as much of the “authentic Spanish culture and life” as I could. That meant everything from a flamenco competition, to dancing through the streets of my pueblo, slicing ham right off the leg to having popcorn and a soda at the movies with some Spanish amigos; or watching a fútbol match to playing volleyball with my students. Hence, my video project: a compilation of some of my favorite sights and sounds of the culture of Spain, along with unique Spanish phrases I’ve learned along the way.

Spanish Culture – Sentence 1: “Observar el Mar”

Previously living in landlocked Wisconsin meant that I had only seen the ocean a handful of times before I came to Spain. Thankfully, my immense fear of the ocean has decreased, and my appreciation of it has definitely increased. While I still prefer only going so deep that I can still touch the ocean floor, it’s a little less dangerous and a lot more fun than I had thought.

Spanish Culture – Sentence 2: “Aprender en la Pescadería”

Living by the ocean meant that there was a LOT more seafood around me, and boy was it fresh! Sometimes, when the wind was just right, you could smell a nearby fish market. Our class even took an excursion (field trip) to learn about typical food of Huelva. We stopped by many different areas, but I think the girls most enjoyed learning about lobsters, crabs, octopi, and fish from the friendly clerk at the fish market.

spanish traditions
With my flamenco dress!

Spanish Culture – Sentence 3: “Hacer una Fiesta”

When in Spain, you do as the Spaniards do… and in that case, when Spanish people have a party, you are always invited to join in. From birthday parties to first communions, they celebrate anything and everything, and have plenty of food (and dancing) to supplement the festivities.

Spanish Culture – Sentence 4: “Comer Jamón”

In parties, or even just in the family kitchen, you will almost always see a nice leg of ham out on display. This was one of the most fascinating Spanish food traditions I’ve seen. I’ve learned the science of selecting the best leg of ham, and the art of cutting a nice piece straight off the leg… but that’s top secret information, so I can’t tell!

Spanish Culture – Sentence 5: “Echar una Siesta”

Adjusting to the rhythm of Spanish life was a challenge for me at first. Meal times, bed time, and school hours are later, which was something to get used to. However, I have to admit that, on several weekend occasions, I took advantage of the afternoon nap time. And while the stereotype that we all take siestas every day isn’t true, it is a welcome way for many to rest and relax on the weekend.

Spanish Culture – Sentence 6: “Explorar la Naturaleza”

Huelva, the province where I lived, was pretty unique in that it had both access to the ocean (with beautiful beaches) as well as a mountain range in the north. This meant we had a few exciting hikes out in the wilderness and lots of walks on the beach.

spanish culture
Exploring nature in Huelva with friends

Spanish Culture – Sentence 7: “Tomar el Sol”

Not only did Huelva have an incredible landscape, the climate was wonderful as well. There’s ALWAYS sun. Though it does get pretty hot in the summer, many people escape to the nearby coast, and in the winter, there is enough sun that it’s still pretty comfortable. Snow is something only seen on vacation to the mountains, and there certainly isn’t a need for a hat, scarf, and mittens.

Spanish Culture – Sentence 8: “Maravillarse con las Vistas”

I had the most incredible friends: locals who accepted me as a part of their group, and showed me many parts of Spain I would have missed if I were “just a tourist.” There were many amazing sights to see, and they knew the ins and outs of the area, and now, I do too.

Little-siesta time

When I decided to apply, I also wanted to get more experience teaching bilingual students. I was paired with a wonderful host family and a great school and soon realized that I would be learning just as much (if not more) than I was teaching. My video touches on the multitude of lessons I’ve learned about Spanish Culture and Traditions while living here, or as much as three minutes of video can include. And although there’s much more I could have written, here’s a bit of background for each point.

The experiences featured and the Spanish traditions, as well as so many more will surely stay with me for years to come and I couldn’t be more grateful for everything it has given me, and all the opportunities I had to give to others.

2016/17 Posted by Maggie L.

If you enjoyed this post about Spanish Culture, don’t miss out the following articles:

  1. The Furious Heels of Flamenco
  2. Recipe for Happiness: Sunshine, People, and Food in Spain
  3. Until Living in Spain, I Had Never…
  4. When in Spain Do as the Spaniards Do
24 August, 2018

7 responses on "Spanish Culture and Traditions through 8 Phrases Learnt in Spain"

  1. Hello! I’m interested in becoming a language assistant in Andalucía. I studied abroad in Sevilla last summer and I just came back from an internship in Madrid. How did you make friends in Andalucía and how did you find a furnished apartment there ?

  2. Spanish language is very beutifull but I think best learning is go there and comunicate there.

  3. Thanks for the article

  4. Thanks so much for your article. Through the online course we were recently studying the relationship between language learning and culture. I totally agree that it´s really exciting and rewarding to learn both new vocabulary and new cultrual facts simultaneously! Since I´m in Madrid, I´m missing out on the ´observar el mar´ part but, hey, you can´t have it all!

  5. It’s so true! The adjustment to the Spanish day to day lifestyle was a challenge at first: places closing in the afternoon and then opening back up in the evening, late dinner times, etc… but now I have to admit that I prefer this way of life and I feel fully and happily adjusted to it. 🙂

  6. I’m currently teaching at the school where Maggie worked in Huelva and she’s absolutely spot on, it’s a great place to live and work. I’m so grateful to Meddeas for giving me this experience. My host family here is really lovely too. Spain is such a beautiful place and I have no doubt wherever one is placed, there will be adventures around every corner as she says.

  7. I agree with many of your statements and love how you incorporated the Spanish language in your blog! I definitely think exploring nature is much more a part of Spanish culture than it is in America, depending on where you live. Spain is so amazing because it is a smaller country but has SO many different climates and terrains to explore, from the green mountains of the North to the southern beaches; you find everything in Spain, and I love it! The siesta schedule was VERY difficult to adjust to at first, but it’s something you get used to and eventually you start participating in it as well! 😉

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