Viva Barcelona!

Physiotherapy practical training in Barcelona

Cultural collision

I have been in Barcelona one month now. I have noticed some cultural differences between Spanish / Catalans and Finnish, and I think all who have visited here have noticed some of these things too. First of all, local people are really helpful and community is really big thing here. People gather together on day offs / holidays with family / friends and have dinner, beers etc. together at someone houses or at a restaurant. In the evenings of the weekend or restaurants are full of people who are enjoying each other’s company with class of wine or beer and tapas. Also very local habbit is kind of brunch on Sundays when people gather together in a restaurant or before midday and have drinks and tapas until afternoon when they go home for siesta. And about siesta. It is one of the weirdest thing for a Finnish. In a normal week day, most of restaurants and shops are open from 9am then they closes about at 2pm and open again about at 5pm. There might be many reasons for the siesta but I really don’t understand it.

The local people also have different meal times. Breakfast is almost at the same time as in Finland, especially if you are still working, but lunch is so late. The local people here eat lunch about at 2-4pm and it is just too late for me. 😀 Then the local people have dinner also very late, about at 8pm when I’m already eating a night snack.

Also different sports are a community thing here. Especially football is really big sport and it brings people together, kids, youths and adults. I have seen a junior football game and a junior american football game here and it was nice to see how parents and other adults are volunteering to do different things for the kids sport during game days. I think it is really important for the junior sports.

Also the political situation have brought people together. The people who want the independence, they organize demonstrations where lot of people are involved. Even from homes. In one evening people started to drum on their balconies and windows all over the city because of the Spanish covernment issued an arrest warrant for former regional leaders.

In the other hand, I have found some things that are not so good from my opinion. The local people are not so discipline and that irritates a Finnish who is really stirct with the rules if there are rules. The traffic is great example about this. With a motorbike it is normal to weave between cars and drive on a sidewalk a block or two if the street is one way and you need to go to “wrong way”. Speeding is normal here everywhere and it’s also normal to drive against “old yellow”. Another example about this is that during the junior american football game paramedics were smoking next to the juniors bench on a half time… It really annoyed me! But for the local people it was just normal…

I have used a lot of public transport here. And I have noticed some cultural differences in there too. Here you don’t queue to the bus or the metro, you just push through from the crowd. And it’s more normal than an exception to sit down on the bench next to the aisle, not next to the window. Of course you can go sit next to the window if someone is sitting next to the aisle but that person hardly give way for you. And you hardly hear “perdon / perdona” if someone is trying to get past you, people just walk through you. One of the most weirdest thing what I have noticed on public transfer is that lot of localt people bite their nails…

Language have been a little problem for me here. At my work place I can manage and ask easily help from my workmates. People always say here that they are shy to speak English and that their English is so terrible. It’s a pity. Sometimes when I say that I don’t speak Catalan or Spanish, people just say same thing again in Spanish or Catalan louder or slower. And I still don’t understand. BUT! I have started to understand phrases and short sentences in Catalan and Spanish, I just can’t really answer more than sí or no. 😀

Even all of these cultural differences my life have been good and fun here. Working is fun and instructice, I go to the gym again after my knee injury, I have met new friends and spend fun time with them. I have one month left here and I’m looking forward every day!

To the next post!