Hello Academia Manhattan! I have been in Spain for almost a year now, and I’ve noticed a lot of cultural differences between Spain and my home in the U.S. For example, people here eat meat more often than at home, or at least within my family in the United States. My mother is vegetarian, and I have noticed that in Spain it is less common to be a vegetarian or vegan. I haven’t eaten very many vegetables here compared to in the U.S. People also use olive oil much more here than in the U.S.! Speaking of food, people in Spain seem to go to bars more often than in the U.S. I’ve seen children’s birthday parties hosted at bars, which would never happen in the United States! In the United States, people under the legal drinking age, 21, are not even allowed inside bars. Here, anyone can spend time in a bar. I’ve also seen Spanish people drink a beer or wine with both lunch and dinner. In contrast, in the United States people usually only drink alcohol with dinner or after dinner, and generally don’t drink it as often, unless they are at an event, party, or some kind of celebration. Spaniards attitudes seem to be more relaxed about alcohol.
In terms of cities and towns, in Spain they are distinct. Many cities here have old neighborhoods that date back centuries and are still more or less the same as when they were built (with modern renovations of course). But there are also archeological remains right in the middle of the city, like the aqueduct of Segovia and the Mezquita in Córdoba. In the United States, not many cities have these old neighborhoods, and everything is relatively new. Our oldest areas are only a few hundred years old, which in comparison with Spain, is basically new. Many of the towns or villages I have seen in Spain are built clustered together, with most people living within the town limits and in houses that are built right next to each other. There are patios, but few gardens or backyards. In the United States, towns are built more spaced out. It is harder to see where the town ends, whereas in Spain the buildings are built where the town suddenly becomes the country, and there are few buildings outside of it. In my town (Essex, Vermont) we have a town center where all of the shops and public buildings are built, but they are not near peoples houses. We have neighborhoods that are outside the center where there are only houses, and everyone has a backyard or garden. I live on a road that leads to the town center, but more in the country where I have a big backyard, or garden. There is nothing but other houses and nature around me. That also exists in Spain, but it seems to be less popular to live so far from the town center.
I think the living standards are more or less the same in both countries. I have noticed that apartments and some houses and generally smaller here than in the U.S., but both countries have air conditioning, dishwashers, and that kind of technology. I didn’t find it very hard to adjust to Spain in that respect. Although there tends to be more noise, especially in cities like Córdoba, compared to the U.S. People spend more time in the street and stay out later in Spain, so you hear people talking or the sounds from bars and restaurants more in Spain than in the U.S. People are generally expected to be quiet past 10pm (22:00) in the U.S., and neighbors will get mad if people are making a lot of noise outside. Here in Spain I have heard people setting off fireworks at 8am in the streets of Córdoba on a Sunday, but people don’t seem to complain about it or talk to the police about it, whereas people in the U.S. would be more likely to complain.