Culture, Lifestyle, Opinion, Travel

15 things I’ve learnt from living abroad

January 23, 2018

As well as hugely improving my Spanish, learning so much during my internship and continually discovering more about myself, I have learnt a few very important lessons about living in Madrid, Spain:


  1. Work out key phrases you will need ASAP
    • “Soy intolerante a la lactosa” : I’m intolerant to dairy
    • “Estoy un poco perdida” : I’m a bit lost (I assure you, this one I have used a LOT)
  2.  Finding a flat: It would be easy they said. Just find one when you’re out there they said. Um, no. Never again. Plan ahead. Especially if you are looking in sought-after areas.
  3. Walking is without a doubt the best way to explore a city.
  4. Do as many cultural events as possible. Galleries, museums, free events…
  5. Talk to EVERYONE – you can’t be shy. It will improve your language tenfold. I have made new friends in places I would never have thought: gym instructors, shop assistants, the list is endless.
  6. Make the most of every opportunity. Why not try new things? A salsa class, going to a Spanish theatre or maybe try that strange looking tapas which you can’t even pronounce… We generally regret the things we don’t do rather do.
  7. The Spanish are prone to shouting, so you’ll have to speak up.
  8. Cultural differences: I promise they are excited not angry. Cue man cursing elaborately in the street, arms flaring, reddened in the face.
  9. There are no measuring units here; Spanish drinks are very strong. Never, ever underestimate them.
  10. The need for a siesta. 9am – 7pm is a LONG working day.
  11. Spanish time is different to every other country’s time. Especially, referring to English punctuality.
  12. Toast here isn’t toast, it’s warm bread.
  13. Again, ‘hot drinks‘ aren’t hot. They are tepid. And, whats even more shocking is that they are preferred this way!
  14. If you are about to confront a group of elderly Spanish women on the pavement, they always have the right of way. Fact.
  15. Even if there are NO cars, the streets are deserted and there is not a soul in sight. The Spanish will still wait for the green man before crossing the road. Safety first, always.


Finally… Be careful not to fall in love too much. I never want to leave. 


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