7 Things Americans Can Learn From Life In Spain

It's more than just a "fiesta."

Any master traveler will tell you that visiting a new place leaves you different, in the best way. Immersion in a new culture often bestows benefits that impact travelers' lives for years to come.

And in the case of Spain, those benefits are especially zesty. This lively culture of family and food has much to teach Americans, who year after year leave vacation days unused and trips unbooked. So read up, learn their ways and better yet, take a visit to Spain!

1. Party time is any time.

Seriously, ANY time. A typical evening out in Spain begins with dinner at 10 p.m., followed by bars or clubs at 2 a.m. and an after-party döner kebab at 5 a.m. Work tomorrow? No problem! Spaniards know how to live life to the fullest.

2. Public holidays should be celebrated, too.

On an American public holiday (say, Washington's Birthday for example), you’ll likely sleep late, stay home and get a few chores done around the house. Not so with Spaniards. A public day off means everyone hits any open bars and restaurants for big, city-wide day parties of the classiest degree.

Ingolf Pompe / LOOK-foto via Getty Images

3. When you’re tired, rest.

This is the traditional siesta you’ve heard so much about. Instead of fighting the afternoon slump like their corporate American counterparts, Spaniards cut their losses and take a nap in the afternoon. Sure the siesta isn’t universal anymore, but many homes and businesses still honor its incredibly visionary principles.

4. It’s okay to love something passionately.

Take soccer teams, for example. Spain is home to some of the most dedicated fans on the planet, who either sing team anthems in their living rooms or turn up in rain, wind and snow to watch their world-champion teams triumph on the field. A win is often followed by music, dancing and chatting in the streets.

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5. There’s no shame in living with your family.

Whereas Americans tend to think college means moving away from home for good, Spaniards (and many other Europeans) tend to stick around, living at home or near their parents during college years, early marriage and even when they’re older. Why feel pressure to venture off “independently” when you already know who you love to be near?

6. The dinner table is for conversation.

LONG conversation. Sobremesa is known as the time Spanish households spend talking around the table after finishing their evening meal, sometimes for hours on end. At restaurants, you’ll have to ask for the check: Few waiters will rush your dinnertime talk, one of the healthiest habits around.

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7. Food tastes better in small portions.

Just ask any tapas fan. At Spanish bars, a drink will often come with a free or low-priced snack in the form of delicious tomato bread, fried cheese and meat or potatoes with yummy sauce. Pinchos are even smaller: You’ll find these treat-topped bread slices in the country’s northern regions. Small, frequent portions of our favorite foods? Delicioso!

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