Life in Spain

In Spain people eat a lot more than in the United States, although they eat healthier! Sara from FL, Year Program
It was very loud and assertive, and I was afraid to put out my opinion. The Spanish argue quite a bit (or at least the people I knew) which I found hard to adapt to. Claire from ID, Year Program
Don't delay getting to know your host family, because your placement can make or break your experience. If home life is miserable you, will be too. Don't be taken aback when your family seems to make you eat more and more food, you can say no! Patrick from CA, Year Program
Things close in the middle of the day, and around 8 every night, plus nothing is open on Sunday. Make sure that if you need to get something you plan ahead. Patrick from CA, Year Program
Take advantage of public transportation in major cities. It is a lifesaver, and a great way to get to places. Avoid speaking English, people will want to talk to you to practice theirs, but limit your English at all costs! Patrick from CA, Year Program
Family time is important. Long lunches are hard to sit through at first, but a great way to get to know your family. Life is slower than life in the United States - expect things to take time and deadlines to never be met and plan for that. Bria from MN, Year Program
Pay attention to your teachers. If you do, you will find they will be more open to helping you in the future. If you have questions, ask your teachers after class if you can meet later in the day or during your break. Lauren from WI, Year Program
In Spain, cleanliness and participating in family chores two to three times a day was very important. Try to be as helpful as humanly possible, especially in the beginning. Caitlin from CA, Year Program
In Spain they are much more open and whenever you greet someone it's by kisses on the cheeks or hugs instead of just a simple "hey" or a wave like here in the U.S. I liked the openness a lot though; it makes you feel less uncomfortable and closer to others. Liza from MN, Year Program
The Spanish are a very talkative people, get ready.Kelsey Irene from WI, Year Program
The large amount of seafood and olive oil threw my taste palate for a spin but after two or three months, I grew accustomed to the variety of fish, mussels and other seafood. Now that I am back, I definitely miss the Spanish cuisine. Lauren from WI, Year Program
Never be afraid to speak even if you don't know the language very well, never pass down an opportunity and open up to people you might not be friends with in your home country. Kelly from CA Year Program
Be prepared to take short showers. Try to conserve as much water as you can. Be nice when you feel offended because Spaniards do not consider some things, that we think are offensive to be offensive. Julie, Summer, 2008 Year Program

Digging Deeper

Heritage and Ethnicity Resources (Diversity)Language Resources
Cultural Resources
News and Media
Movies and Documentaries
  • Pan’s Labrynth (2006)
  • Butterfly (1999)
  • Paper Birds (2010)
  • Spanish Affair (2014)
  • Volver (2006)
  • The Way (2010)
  • The Story of Roman Empire (BBC)
  • When the Moors Ruled in Europe (2008)
  • The Invention of Spain (BBC Radio, 3-part series 2012)
  • Conquistadors (4-part series, 2000)
  • Crucible of Empire: The Spanish-American War (PBS 2007)
  • The Spanish Civil War (1983)
  • The Art of Spain (BBC 4-part series, 2008)
  • Made in Spain (TV Series)
  • BBC Natural World: Portillo Goes Wild in Spain (2006)
  • Don Quijote de la Mancha
  • Casa de Bernarda Alba
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls
  • The Sun Also Rises
  • The Shadow of the Wind
  • The Prince of Mist
  • City of Marvels
  • Rustica: A Return to Spanish Home Cooking
  • Roads to Santiago
  • Tuning Up at Dawn: A Memoir of Music and Majorca
  • Spanish Steps: Travels With My Donkey
  • Between Hopes and Memories: Spanish Journey
  • Ghosts of Spain: Travels Through Spain and Its Silent Past
  • Franco: A Personal and Political Biography
  • A Concise History of Spain
  • Homage to Catalonia
LGBTQ Resources (Diversity) Heritage and Ethnicity Resources (Diversity)
Note: The links and resources listed in "Digging Deeper" have been provided to AFS by people involved with our organization, including alumni members, volunteers, etc. AFS has not reviewed the resources in their entirety and presents them "as is" for your own information. As such, the sites, publications, films, etc. do not necessarily reflect the approval of nor the views, opinions, and/or values of AFS.