Friday, 5 February 2016

CULTURAL DIFFERENCES SPANISH-CZECH

After almost five months here, I think I am starting to know more and more about Czech culture.
I am Spanish and I would like to tell you, from my own experience, what are the most relevant differences I found since I am here, between my culture and Czech culture. 
However, I am aware that always it is depends on people, of course! ;) 

Punctuality
Czech people, as Germans, are always on time, unlike the famous lateness of the spanish people. They respect the times of dates, meetings, lessons, parties, everything. For spanish people , usually, to arrive on time means 5, 10 or even 15 minutes later of the arranged date.


Schedules
Czech people use to start the day very early, around 7:00 more or less. They have big lunch around 12:00 and dinner at 18:00 more or less. They don´t go to bed very late because in the morning they wake up early. In weekends, people go to pubs from 18:00 and they usually close around 4:00 or 5:00.
Spanish people have very different timetables. The big lunch of the day is around 14:00-15:00, and the dinner at 20:00 or 21:00. The reason is because in many jobs there is a break for more hours, so as a consequence, they have time for a relaxing lunch and siesta, but there is not free evening because they finish work around 21:00.
We start parties in Spain very late: we go to pubs and start drinking around 11:00, and a big party can late until 8:00 in the morning, when the discos close.



People and personality
By my experience, czech people are usually very nice. One important characteristic I would say about them is the humility. For example, lot of people know english, but if you ask them if they know english, they would say: "just a little", even if you are hearing that their pronunciation is perfect. And they are very kind so they will help you if you are lost or you have any problem.
They are very reserved and don´t express their feelings to everybody. The first time they met you, they are not going to speak a lot about their lives. But once you really know them, they can be your friends forever, they will tell you jokes every time and they will be warm.
They usually are relaxed and don´t scream or mess up in the street.  
A spanish people is almost the opposite of what I explained about czech. They consider they know english even when they never tried to speak with a foreigner, and the CVs are full of lies related to languages. However, now the situation is better and currently Spain is improving the education of languages because we all know that it is basic. 
About how spanish people are, I can say they are really funny, nice, warm, familiar and sociable.
They always express their feelings even they don´t know you. They can speak with everybody, tell their lifes without problem and hug you easily. Personally, I consider the good weather has something to do with this kind of personality. When you are always in the street you learn to socialize and you develop a need to be always with people around you.
We spanish people spend long hours in terraces having coffee, drinking beers or eating with family and friends. We speak without stopping, we make jokes and laugh a lot.
I consider that, indeed, czech and spanish people are very similar, the only difference it that czechs need more time than spanish people to trust you and express their feelings.














Greetings 
To greet somebody or introduce yourself, Czech people give the hand.  Spanish people give two kisses in the cheek. Only when it is man and man, they give the hand.
For me it was a bit strange to give the hand when I came here, but after a while, I got used to it. As a result, when I went to Spain for Christmas, it was very strange for me to give two kisses to people! 
















Typical traditions in Christmas
It was very funny when I heard that, for 24 December, people buy a carp a few days before, they put them in the bath and in the Christmas day they kill them and eat them.
Sometimes the children are so sad that the family end up throwing the carp to the river, but anyway it will die because of the shock of temperature. I was also told about the little boat made by shell of nuts and candles, and I saw st Nicolas giving sweets to the children. I consider the environment is very familiar in Czech Republic. That is something in common with Spain.
A very crazy tradition we have in Spain is to eat 12 grapes (1 per second) the 31 of December at 11:58:48 at night. Yes, just before starting the New Year. It is a symbol of good luck.
Czech people were shocked when I told them. Other tradition is the nighy of 5 of January, when the Three Kings go out to the street in big coachs, throw sweet to the children and the next day in the morning children find the presents at home.











Working with public
I don´t really know the reason, but Czech pople don´t usually smile when they work as a wraiter, supermarket cahier or shop assistant. I read that maybe they don´t have any problems, is just that they look serious. If you work with people in Spain face to face, first feature your boss will ask you is to smile everytime and be always nice.

Weather 

I really admire czechs in this. They are so strong from my point of view. Czech Republic is a country where in winter the temperatures can low until -20 degrees or more, and in summer can be as high as 30. They are used to changes and they go out without minding the weather. Spanish people are not used to this. We totally hate the cold, and until we don´t see 20 degrees we don´t take our coats off. When it is rainy or so cold, plans can be cancelled easily. For us it is cold 8 degrees and our personality change during winter. We need the sun and we really love summer.



Food and drinks

I consider Czechs eat healthy. Some typical food is goulash, knedl√≠ky, or fried cheese (which is very good). Czechs are winners in drinking beers from when they are really young. You need to be really ill if you don´t drink beers when you go out. Other typical drink here is the Bechrovka. Only 3 people in the word know the recipe and they are not allowed to travel together in case of accident.
Spanish people also drink a lot, but not as much as Czech, problably because our beer it is not so good. About food, I am really proud of spanish food. Mediterranean diet is considered to be one of the healhiest in the world. Moreover, it is delicious. Paella, Tortilla de patatas or torrijas are one of the typical meals. Something  I miss here, it is good fish and spanish ham.













So this is what I can tell you until now. I am very happy to discover a new culture and also learning about mine, because I realised here that they were lot of things I did not know or valued about my culture until I arrived here. Every culture has something special to offer, something new, and I think we all should learn from every people of the world :)  

By Elena from Spain


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