The GoGlobal Blog



I’ve officially survived my first week in Barcelona, a beautiful city that stretches from the mountains to the sea. It has been an emotional roller coaster to say the least, each day packed with overwhelming adventure. They definitely weren’t kidding when they told us that culture shock was real… so here are some things I have already learned in the short time I have been here:

1. Catalunya is not Spain.

Of course, technically it is, but Catalans see their region (Barcelona), culture and heritage entirely unique to that of the rest of Spain. Spanish is spoken everywhere, but Catalan is still the official language of the city and most maps, signs, advertisements and menus are in Catalan.

2. Eating hours change once you cross the Atlantic.

Lunch is the largest meal of the day and the time when most Spaniards want to sit down to a three-course meal, followed by a nice siesta when shops are closed from around 2-5pm. Then dinner is typically from 9 to 11:30pm. If your stomach can’t hold out till then, it’s common to snack throughout the day on little sandwiches and coffee. It was definitely hard to get used to at first but I’m really starting to enjoy this lifestyle.

3. Iced coffee doesn’t exist *gasp*

It’s true folks. Ice coffee is not common this time of year. If you order “café con hielo” in Spain, you are served two glasses: one with coffee and the other full of ice. It’s up to you to pour your coffee onto the ice cubes.

 And taking it to go is true American fashion.

Spaniards are in no rush. It is traditional to sit down at a cafe and enjoy your cup of coffee over a long period of time. With that being said, they call it “take away” coffee here, which only exist in certain chains like Farggi, and is frowned upon.

4. Eating out can be hard on the wallet especially with today’s euro exchange.

To avoid this, you can find off the beaten path neighborhood cafes that have daily deals. For 2 euros you can get a light meal of a sandwich and coffee or for 10 euros you can get bread, a glass of beer, a starter dish, an entree, dessert, and coffee.

5. Blending in is hard, but confidence is key.

Barcelona is a main tourist destination, and almost every Spaniard speaks English. Once they figure out you’re American, you are almost immediately treated differently. As if on command, they will speak to you in English, or hand you a menu in English without really giving you a chance to try out your Spanish. It’s a little discouraging but once I start to blend in and improve my language skills with confidence, I’ll get the hang of it and feel like a Spaniard in no time!

One week down, so many more amazing to look forward to.


Plaça de Catalunya
Plaça de Catalunya
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