Visiting a new country or city gives us an amazing opportunity to experience things we haven’t before such as trying food we have never eaten, discovering history we never knew existed and talking to people we otherwise might not talk to. It is the ultimate test of our ability to be open minded and yet some of us still choose to go on holiday and act as though we were still at home.
I have always believed that to fully embrace a language you must have an understanding of the culture that surrounds it. My own interest in Spanish at school extended very quickly to an interest in Spanish culture and developed during the year that I lived in Spain. Whilst living there I was very keen to find out about the people, the food and the customs and my observations are something which I love sharing with my students.
Recently I visited Barcelona for the first time. I love going to Spain and this trip was no different. Staying with a lady living in the area of Barceloneta allowed me to receive fantastic insider tips and advice as well as giving me the chance to practise speaking to a native. Spending days wandering through the city on foot and by bike, tasting local cuisine and embracing the culture meant that I could truly experience everything Barcelona had to offer. Its amazing how talking to someone in their language, trying the food and and taking a genuine interest in the culture makes a visit so much more worthwhile.
So next time you take a trip to a country or city you haven’t been to before think about the opportunity you have to get to know a new culture. Trade your burger and chips for that exotic local dish, swap the overcrowded tourist haunts for the quiet side streets and ditch the English to attempt to pronounce something in the language. You won’t believe the satisfaction you get, trust me.
What is the best city you have been to? Did you embrace the culture?