Student to Student
Livin’ La Vida España
Reasons to Live in Spain—Apart from Studying
By Amy Frey
Studying abroad sounded intriguing, so I went to Spain. But I did so much more than study. I danced till dawn, saw fútbol games, ate food I had never tried before, learned a new language, and got to know a culture that I had only read about in books.
Getting Around. Don’t have access to a car? No problem. The public transportation systems in Spain and the rest of Europe are amazing to say the least. They are what most people rely on. There really isn’t much room for cars, and gas is expensive. A bus or a subway can take you to wherever you want to go in the city for a little less than an American dollar.
Travel. All you have to do for a weekend away is pack up some clothes and a toothbrush, head to the train station, and you are on your way to anywhere that you can think of to go. The rest of the countries in Europe are as easy to travel within as they are between. You could fall asleep in one country and wake up in a different one altogether.
Fútbol. We know this game as soccer. From the first whistle to the last, the game is nonstop action—not just from the players but from the fans. Don’t get me wrong, the game itself is awesome but the fans are in a league of their own. They are filled to their ears with pure adrenaline and love of the game. I won’t even mention the after-game parties….
Cafés. Coffee houses in the U.S. are mundane compared to the cafés that are everywhere in the cities. The customers range from little kids running between the tables to little old ladies in fur coats and heels. At the tables outside, the music of street musicians mixes with the conversations. Cafés are one of the best places to sit and read, or talk, or simply watch people go through their daily lives. My favorite café—it not only has the best espresso but also is the best place to watch people—is Café Zurich right in Plaza Cataluña in Barcelona.
Siestas. The last time I took a nap, or even had the afternoon off, was when I was in kindergarten. In Spain naps are not just for kids. From 2 to 5 in the afternoon the cities shut down, kids are let out of school, adults get off work, and stores close. Families go home to enjoy together for the biggest meal of the day and then a few hours of each other’s company—or, as in my case, taking a nap.
City Life. The cities in Spain and Europe generally are full of life, and that isn’t limited to the party crowd after the sun goes down. During the day the streets are full of people. Walking is the most common form of transportation, so that means people are outside all the time. There is never a vacant sidewalk or park bench.
Night Life. If dancing all night is your thing, then Spain is the place to go. Experiencing the crazy night life and parties that are a part of the culture. The Spanish take their socializing seriously, and people wearing jeans and tee-shirts are a rarity. The bars become packed with young people drinking traditional Spanish drinks like sangria and talking to their pals. Around 2 a.m. the bars empty out and the hoards of people are off to the discothèques. There, they dance till dawn—literally (Discos in smaller cities close at around 4 a.m. while the discos in places like Barcelona or Madrid close around 9 a.m. on weekends).
These aren’t the only or maybe even the best reasons to live in Spain. And they aren’t only found in Spain. This list is based on my experiences abroad and since every one has different experiences, your list will be different. It is an experience that you should have at least once in your life.