If you are planning to study in Spain, chances are you may have already heard many things about the country, both good and bad.
Below are some misconceptions about studying in Spain.
You Need to Learn Spanish to Get into a Spanish Institution
Although learning your host country’s language is fine and encouraged, learning Spanish is not a requirement to get into your institution of choice. In fact, many of Spain’s higher educational institutions (HEIs) offer study programs in English, to cater to the many individuals visiting the country to study.
Maybe learning a few words or phrases to get you through some basic interactions with other people is fine. However, there really is no need to be fluent in the language. Moreover, if you are staying in Spain’s large cities, such as Barcelona or Madrid, chances are, many citizens there can already speak English due to the many tourists visiting those cities every year, and the expats staying there. In fact, Barcelona is home to more than 300,000 foreigners.
Spanish People are a Lazy Bunch
You may have heard about the story of Spanish workers starting their day at work late, or restaurants opening later than most other countries in Europe. Aside from those, you may have heard about the word siesta, the term used for taking a rest after eating lunch.
For many years, those activities have become synonymous with the Spanish lifestyle of being laidback. However, for other cultures, it looks like laziness. Not only are those stereotypes wrong, but also unfair. In fact, Spanish people are some of the most hardworking individuals in Europe. In fact, they put in more hours of work than other countries in Europe.
When it comes to starting and finishing late at work, this is due to the incorrect timezone the country uses. People have been working with the wrong time zone since World War II—the then Spanish dictator, Francisco Franco, adjusted the country’s clocks to be in the same timezone as Nazi Germany.
Spanish People are Intolerant, Which Makes Living in Spain Difficult for International Students
This image of Spain as being intolerant may have stemmed from its past, especially during the Middle Ages, where inquisition is a strong force in the country. Fast forward to modern times, and Spain is already a long way from that image. In fact, Spain is one of the most tolerant and progressive countries in Europe.
Gone are the days when a different religion aside from Catholicism, or being a part of the LGBTQ+ may result in death. Now, the country is made up of Catholics (still the majority’s religion), Hindus, Protestants, Muslims, Jews, and so on. Also, LGBTQ+ marriage has been legal in Spain since 2005.
Some people believe that Spain’s modern tolerance to diversity, religion and people’s sexual orientation is due to it being a favorite tourist and study destination. In fact, for centuries, people from different parts of the world have made Spain a more multicultural society.
Various cultures have their own misconceptions about studying in Spain. However, if you are planning to study and live there, it is your responsibility to research, and learn about the country, without any biases.
To learn more about Spain, including its culture through food, check out MSM Unify’s article on Spanish Food and Other Delicacies That International Students Must Try.