Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Cultural Learning's

One of the hot topics on many blogs about Spain is cultural difference. This is something that will always arise when dealing with Spain, and as many people will tell you "Spain is different".

One of these blogs, which stirs such heated debate is Notes from Spain this is a great site and Ben really likes to get under the skin of the Spanish psyche.

These "debates" primarily involve participants from Britain, America and of course Spain. There are a few Spanish out there who don't like hearing negative criticism from either party and are quick to take offence. I'm sure a turbulent shared history no doubt plays a part in this. Most comments from the aforementioned American or Brit come across as constructive criticism not as an assault on the very fabric of Spanish existence, but you wouldn't think this when you read the Spanish replies! Either way it makes for a great read and delves deep into what makes the Spanish tick. All in all very thought provoking.

Seeing how a Spaniard becomes very defensive if anyone criticises or makes comments that could be seen as an attack on their way of life, it is interesting then that Spain is a country made up of 17 autonomous communities and a number of them are actively seeking independence from Spanish rule.

The question then must be asked what is a Spaniard? And who are these "Spaniards" who so staunchly defend what they believe. Is there a common unity underlying all this nationalist separatism in Spain, or are we really seeing the only true "Spaniards" making these comments and if this is the case, then where do they reside, Madrid?

My own personal experience of my time here in Vigo, Galicia has been a very enjoyable one. I have found the people to be warm, welcoming and generous. And have never had any bad experiences to mention. I've found integration into Galician life relatively smooth, although I admit that things are made easier if your wife is from here!

The people here do seem to possess a closed face to strangers, especially on the street; they'll take no heed of you, as if you don't exist, no acknowledgement, it seems as if common courtesy to your fellow human being takes a back seat. At first it was quite off putting, but with time you begin to accept it. I don't know if this is endemic to Galicia or is a nationwide trait in general?
The above defenitely needs further attention, more on culture later.

One thing I don't think I could ever fully get used to here is, driving...


Ben said...

Thanks for the mention. I don't think I can ever get used to the driving here either - I still get told off by my wife for not being aggressive enough when driving around Madrid!

Brendan said...

Cheers for the comment, nice to know you still make time for the little guy's!