A lot of people from all over the globe move to Madrid, whether it is for studies, work, or simply a change in life. We asked our expat friends to help us provide you with 5 things you need to know about Spaniards before moving to Madrid, things they wished to have known before arriving.
#1 – The Language
Spanish people are not exactly the best foreign language speakers in the world (even though there are some exceptions). Young Spanish people do their best, and can speak some words of English. However, you will always have to communicate with people from the generations that don’t speak English (or other languages) that well. In that case, it would be very useful to take a Spanish course before moving to Spain so that you arrive at a level where you can introduce yourself, order food or ask for directions. Even a basic, free online course on the internet could help you a lot.
If you don’t have the time to take a Spanish course in your home country, you can always take Spanish courses at the beginning of your stay.
#2 – La Siesta
Many stores, especially small ones, are closed from 2 PM to 5 PM. Spaniards eat around this time and take an appropriate power nap in order to recharge the necessary energy for their long Spanish afternoon.
#3 – Spanish Schedules
Spaniards have a particular schedule. Work and academic activities start at 9 AM, which is quite late in comparison with the rest of the western world. This means that, of course, every activity ends later as well. The stores on the main streets are open until 10PM, and people are supposed to work until 6 PM, even though a lot of people do overtime until 7 or 8 PM.
#4 – Dos Besos
Whenever someone introduces you to someone in Madrid, the most polite way to greet this person would be to give one kiss on each cheek. Not doing this could look rude for some people, especially for those with little international feeling. Now that you know this, you can start practising with your friends and family. And remember, the kisses have to be exactly on the cheek!
#5 – Punctuality… Ehm…
If you come from a country where the culture is very strict with punctuality, you have to know that in Spain everything goes much calmer. If you made plans with Spanish friends, do not get mad if they arrive a little late. It is very normal in Spain. Also, in the work environment, “deadlines” tend to be more flexible compared to other countries in Europe or in the USA. So, whenever in Spain, do not stress too much, it doesn’t make sense anyway.
We hope that our list of “5 things you need to know about Spaniards before moving to Madrid” helped you feel a bit more prepared for the day of your arrival in this wonderful country where, if you come with the right mindset, the Spaniards will welcome you with open arms.
We hope to see you very soon!
Sign up for our Spanish courses in the center of Madrid here.