Cultural Differences in Spain - Part 4
Students live with their parents and seem to have a closer relationship with them than we do. There is less of a “campus feel” at Spanish Universities than there is at universities in the states because people go there to take classes and then they leave right away. My intercambio and I had a very long discussion about this, which was really cool, because she lived in the States for a semester and understands residential universities. I told her that I liked the Spanish way of commuting to school because I believe that living on a campus with hundreds of peers is not real life and it often keeps college students from developing the rich and necessary relationships with people in other stages of life.
She countered me by saying that she really missed that feeling of camaraderie that she found at American universities, noting that many students within the same major did not even know each other. In addition, believed that American students—in general—were much more independent (not necessarily more mature!) than Spanish students. By remaining with their families, many Spanish students still rely on their parents to do things like cooking, laundry, banking, etc. and are not prepared to move out on their own when they finish their studies. It certainly am often surprised at the things for which my Spanish friends ask permission, things which I never even think to tell my parents about, such as hanging out with friends. My intercambio’s perspective really made me think and made me grateful for university residence life in the States.
Kristie Eshelman is from Grove City College, and is currently studying abroad with API in Seville, Spain where she is also serving as an API Cultural Liaison.