Americanas (AKA I’m BACK!)

So as many of you know, I spent this semester in Barcelona, Spain (check out my abroad blog here. You’ve been warned – it’s a personal blog, and sometimes I’m a pain). I was on an American program, which is interesting and added a weird middle step to cultural adjustment. I  tried to immerse myself in the culture and history of Spain as much as possible, which is somewhat difficult with an all-American program, but hey – anything worth doing is worth fighting for, I always say.

ANYWAY. The point of this entry. Everyday I was sitting in the building for my program, doing some homework, when a gaggle of girls with long blonde hair, ugg boots, and north face jackets walked past me. I shrugged at the fact they were all dressed similarly and kept working, when 3 boys walked past me in Frat t-shirts and baggy jeans and baseball caps.

And then it hit me: I know these people are American just by looking at them. My Spanish and European professors, most of whom are very young, all dress so fashionably and differently, and they never wear jeans that don’t fit well or big clunky boots, both in style in the States among College Students – comfort over style.

Which got me to thinking: What makes someone American ? Is it just the fact that we’re from America? Or is there something more than that? Is it a certain attitude we have? In one of my classes, one kid was saying he couldn’t believe everyone knew he was American when he walked down the street, but I could tell just by comparing him to Spanish people I’ve met during my first month here.

So far, based on my research, this is what I’ve found – Americans:
+ love saying the word “dude”
+ high-five incessantly
+ wear sweatpants in public
+ smile far more often at people in the street
+ value personal space far more than Europeans do
+ eat and drink on the go; and in class – in Spain, it’s totally taboo to eat/drink in class
and of course:
+ We complain about how weird the taste of Coke is.

OK. I’ve got more in store for you guys, but for now, relish the fact that I’m back.



About beckawall

AU Alumni, feminist, master of peanut butter brownies. Lover of Teddy Roosevelt, politics, analyzing popular culture, and general nerdery.

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