While I’m no Buzzfeed writer, these 7 pieces of advice will help anyone ease into la vida Española.

  1. Coins are gold!

No not actual gold, but your euro coins should be valued. In the United States, we often see change in the form of coins as a nuisance- something found later in the cushions of your couch. In Spain, it is very rare for waiters to split checks, so having exact change on your person is a must.

  1. Pan y chocolate

Caution all people with a sweet tooth! There will be a bakery every ten steps. Only the strong willed can walk past the muffins, croissants, donuts, and other sugary treats. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people and have therefore succumbed to the “pastry a day” diet.

  1. Que tal?

You will often hear people ask you “Que tal?” . This is the American version of “what’s up?”. I still don’t know how to respond to that greeting in English, let alone Spanish. You should probably formulate you response sooner rather than later to prevent a semester of awkward interactions. Que tal?

  1. Tapas

So I had heard about tapas, but didn’t really know what they were. Fast forward to my first week in Spain. After ordering a drink at a bar, they then placed a plate of food in front of me for free. What is this sorcery? Well, it’s the magic of the tapas. In Granada, Spain it’s a law that for every drink ordered, the bar must provide a small amount of free food typically in the form of a sandwich or other finger-food.

  1. Curse of the Gypsies

Southern Spain possesses some of the highest gypsy population numbers in Europe. One of the tactics of the gypsies, is to give rosemary to an unassuming passerby. What appears as token of goodwill, turns into a ploy for money. If you are like me and accept the rosemary without paying you will be cursed. Do not take the rosemary!

  1. Find your Carmen

Say you set up a language exchange and are meeting this person at a café for the first time. Odds are your new language exchange partner is named Carmen. Additionally, every other woman in the café will also be named Carmen. So word of advice, have a concrete plan to successfully find your Carmen. That also goes for women named Maria.

  1. There is on time and there is Spanish time

I went into Spain knowing that the life was a little more relaxed. I had no idea just how relaxed it really is! Your professors will probably always be late to your class. That also goes for all your Spanish friends. The courtesy etiquette to wait for someone is thirty minutes to an hour. Only then is it acceptable to assume your friend is not coming.


I hope these tidbits of information are useful! Hasta luego.