Are you planning to intern abroad in Barcelona? Before you jump on your plane here are 5 tips to consider to help you adjust to your new culture.
Relax. Barcelona is a place for enjoyment… relationships are valued over competition. How this affects you: your internship interviews will be much more of a friendly, “get-to-know-each-other” conversation rather than the formal interviews in U.S. business culture.
Dress to impress. Barcelona is a fashionable city. Best way to fit in and not “stick out” is to wear clothing suitable for the city, not, for example, the beach. What does this mean for you? Pack accordingly. Or… use this as an excuse for a new wardrobe!
Kiss, Kiss. It is always hard for me to remember which romance cultures require just one Kiss, which require two, and sometimes even three! In social settings (not business, where the handshake is more common), expect to kiss twice, once on each cheek, and the right cheek goes first. A proper “contact” kiss is reserved for family or friends you know well, but for strangers and those you don’t know very well, an “air kiss” is appropriate. No noises, though, the loud “mwah” will just make you look silly. How to prepare: pucker up!
Slow your pace. If you’re from the U.S., you’ll find everything to be a bit more relaxed in Spain, from lunchtime “siestas” to simply walking on the street. Walking while talking with friends, relaxing in a café, building relationships and enjoying the moment… all the norm in Barcelona. And when in Spain…
Eat. At least try everything… and that is easy to do with Tapas proportions. If you are someone who loves appetizers, you will LOVE it here! The tradition here is to have a little of everything: meats (ham!), cheeses, olives, seafood… mmmmmm…. And don’t forget the wine!
Always remember to embrace your new culture, but having awareness before you arrive will let you enjoy it all that much more. Next stop, Hong Kong!