To embark upon a year abroad it has become quite evident to me you that you need to be a certain type of person, and in my eyes, one of these key characteristics is open-minded.
You never know what situation you may end up in, with what people and how being in a different country can change your perspective on this.
I soon encountered this upon arriving in Spain, where the Spanish live a completely different lifestyle to us British. Thus, it is almost essential you learn to adapt a blasé, nonchalant attitude to life, always with a ‘say yes’ mindset and you will find yourself in the most bizarre situations, which are always the ones that make the best memories.
For example, the Spanish lifestyle. Despite being in Italy and having adapted to their culture, moving to Spain was a whole new board game. Everything in Spain is late… now not what we British regard as late (simply staying in the pub past 10.30 on a Friday and missing your weekly batch of Eastenders). Not quite; the Spanish take late to another level, with lunch breaks from work being around 2pm, and dinner and drinks not starting until about 10/11pm. So wave goodbye to your 9pm sofa nights with your cup of teas and embrace the Spanish nightlife (more like ‘earlymorninglife’ I would call it).
One other noticeable difference in Spain is the food culture. One a side note, this is something considerably easier for me in Spain than in Italy, you would never belief my relief when I found out my local supermarket sold Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream and Tikka Masala Curry sauce, home comforts I struggled without in Italy. However, wish away your hopes of moving to Spain and carrying on with those traditional Shepard pies or Sausage and Mash meals out. The Spanish way of eating is very different; eating out for example in a traditional Spanish restaurant is like entering carb city, they love their tapas (as do I) and are capable are eating endless amounts, so be prepared to wear those baggy trousers and have course after course.
With regards to the supermarkets, this was something I struggled with when arriving in Spain. Having lived with a family in Italy, I was unprepared for the difficulty that doing a weekly shop would represent. It took me just over a month to work my way around the supermarket, being majorly put off by the copious amounts of raw fish and meat there seems to be everywhere you look. This along with the strange system of having separate stores for fresh and cupboard-stored food and the ridiculously quick till system, it took me a while to adapt. However, I like to believe I have now conquered this (don’t get me wrong, the weekly shop is definitely not the highlight of my week!).
So to conclude, wherever you are going in the world, it is never going to be the same as England. So unfortunately, you are going to have to leave that mindset with you at the departure gate and embrace what your new culture has to throw at you, for better or for worse!
Thanks for reading,