Cultural Awareness

I only have one more day of school at RMSI in Barcelona. It is somewhat bittersweet. I have truly loved being in the classroom here, and am extremely sad to leave my 6th grade girls; however, I am excited to return home, and get back to normalcy. By normalcy, I mean the way of life I am used to in America. The culture in Spain—though somewhat similar to the United States, is very different from the culture in America.

Through this experience of International Student teaching I have been given the opportunity to be immersed into the Spanish culture. The school is a Spanish school, I live with a Spanish host family, I have constantly been around people who speak Spanish and Catalan instead of English. This experience has taught me so many different things about the Spanish culture, and one of those lessons is that the Spanish culture has a major impact on the school environment.

In my last post, I mentioned a few characteristics and differences between American and Spanish schools. Many of the characteristics that I listed as being a difference are shaped by the culture in Spain. For instance, I mentioned that the school and the students are much louder than American schools. I feel as if in order to be heard by anyone I have to yell over everyone else. The reason for the school and the classroom being so loud is due to the fact that when Spanish people speak to one another, they are generally speaking quite loudly.

In Spain, people are very serious about not over working yourself, and taking many breaks throughout the day. In the school setting, the students have multiple times where they are able to go outside and play, or they have an opportunity to take a break. This is something that I have really enjoyed. In America, teachers usually get to have an hour long planning period. In Spain, the teachers get a planning period, and they also get a period to go to the teacher’s lounge and eat a snack. The lunches in Spain are nearly 2 hours long so that students and teachers have time to relax before going back to work. The Spanish people take their breaks very seriously.

In Spain people eat much later. My host parents typically will not eat dinner until 9 or 10 o’clock. The culture in Spain is to eat throughout the day, and have a late dinner before going to bed. This is something that I have not truly gotten used to, and I will typically eat around 8 with my host kids, because they eat earlier than their parents do. Since people in Spain are used to eating later this means that the lunch in school is not until 1:30.

Overall, the culture in Barcelona is very westernized, but there are quite a few things, as I have listed, that are different. I think that I will miss some of those differences, but I am ready to return to America.

Shown below is a picture of my class with the Red Towels that I brought them. The girls LOVED waving their red towels!IMG_4013

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