Spanish is the primary language spoken in Spain (Imagine that!). However, something not a lot of people realize is that there are various dialects of Spanish spoken across Spain. Think of it as someone from Britain who knows English, visiting Texas. They speak the same language, but it still may be difficult to translate!
Spanish is a romance language, meaning it has original ties to the roman empire. Other romance languages include French, Italian, and Portuguese. As you can see, Catalan is spoken on the east coast, while Galician is spoken in the north west. Basque is spoken in the north-central areas of the country.
In Madrid, they speak Castilian Spanish, which is the most widespread dialect. 99% of Spanish speakers in Spain speak Castilian as either a first or second language (Speakeasybcn.com, 2019). Hallmarks of Castilian Spanish include saying th instead of c or z. An example of this would be cooked fish, spelled pescado. In Latin America, this would be pronounced pes-ka-do. In Spain, however, it breaks down like pes-tha-o. It can be fun to say!
Hudec Speakeasy Community Manager, D. (2019). The differences between Spanish in Spain and Latin America. Retrieved April 03, 2021, from https://www.speakeasybcn.com/en/blog/the-differences-between-spanish-in-spain-and-latin-america Languages of Spain. (2021, March 09). Retrieved April 03, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_Spain
There are four recognized stages of culture shock. Do not worry if you feel the symptoms of these different stages during an elongated stay! It is common to go through all the phases, and come out the other side an adjusted individual.
The first stage is the honeymoon phase. During this time, many of the appealing aspects may be very apparent, and it can seem like a magical new culture to be a part of. This is followed by the hardest part, the actual culture shock. While initially things seemed incredible, you start to notice some differences between the new location and home, and start to miss the familiarity. Six meals a day in Madrid may initially sound great, but maybe after some time you’d begin to prefer the standard American 3.
After a time, however, you can begin to adjust and appreciate what the culture has to offer again. Maybe you aren’t eating cheeseburgers every night, but light tapas can make for fantastic conversation! The fourth and final stage is adjustment, where the new culture becomes routine and normal. It may be tough at first, but believe me, you will get there, and become a true Madrileño!
WANG, M. (2015). Culture shock-one of common problems in intercultural communication. Retrieved April 02, 2021, from http://www.cscanada.net/index.php/ccc/article/view/7399
McCluskey, L. (2020, January 20). Culture shock stages: Everything you need to know. Retrieved April 02, 2021, from https://www.now-health.com/en/blog/culture-shock-stages/
As of writing this, the Euro is valued at $1.18 USD (Amadeo, K. 2020), meaning things are slightly more expensive in Europe and Madrid specifically when compared to similar items in the US. Keep this in mind when preparing for your trip. Bring what you can from the US, because you will be paying slightly higher prices abroad!
Amadeo, K. (2021, September 17). Time is running out for a Low-Cost European vacation. Retrieved April 02, 2021, from https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-the-euro-to-dollar-conversion-its-history-3306091
Futból is absolutely HUGE in Madrid, as with much of the rest of Europe. There are two major teams in Madrid, Atlético and Real Madrid. The teams have a huge rivalry which divides the country, city, and families on gameday. The rivalry was born when Real Madrid was beat to the Spanish championship by Athletic Bilbao in 1903 (Enforex.com, 2021). Miners from Madrid decided their city needed a team like Bilbao had, and the rest is history!
The teams are seen to have juxtaposing ideals, with Real Madrid seen as imperialistic and demanding, while Atlético fans are seen as loyal until the end. Both teams are regularly successful domestically, as well as in European competitions.
Although less recognizable, Madrid is also home to Rayo Vallecano. As of this post, Vallecano is in 6th position in the Segunda Division in Spain, with hopes of returning to the Spanish top flight someday soon.
Real Madrid vs Atlético de Madrid. (2021). Retrieved April 02, 2021, from https://www.enforex.com/culture/madrid-derby-real-vs-atletico.html#:~:text=The%20argument%20goes%20that%20Real,the%20team%20of%20the%20humble.&text=According%20to%20many%20fans%2C%20the,Championship%20of%20Spain%20against%20Madrid.
Madrid is full of fascinating music! You’ll notice several things about the artists that come from this region and the way they pronounce specific phonemes. For instance, when pronouncing c or z, it oftentimes can sound like a th. Additionally, when pronounicng h, j, or x, it can sound rather gutteral. These are just a couple of hallmarks of a Madrileño accent! Attached is a playlist of Madrid’s top songs, updated monthly!
One of the first things to note when considering a country or city to visit for any kind of trip is the climate and geography, as this will determine clothing you bring and experiences you may expect for just a couple of things.
This is a breakdown of Spain by cultural region. You will find a trip to Madrid differs significantly from a trip to Catalonia or Andalusia even!
This map depicts spain topographically. As you can see, Spain fluctuates between altitudes and climates rather dramatically! Madrid has a continental climate (climatestotravel.com, 2021). The city is surrounded by high mountains that can make rainfall from the oceans somewhat hard to come by. This contributes to very hot summers and very cold winters. (lamoncloa.gob.es, 2021)
Also shown here are Spain’s neighboring countries, Portugal and France. You’ll also notice that at the Strait of Gibraltar, Spain comes extremely close to Africa. This proximity leads to a prevalence of African culture in the south parts of Spain.
La MONCLOA. Geography. (2021). Retrieved April 02, 2021, from https://www.lamoncloa.gob.es/lang/en/Paginas/MapaWeb.aspx
Climate – Madrid (Spain). (2021). Retrieved April 02, 2021, from https://www.climatestotravel.com/climate/spain/madrid