Everything you’ll learn on a year abroad in Spain

It’s perfectly natural to go out at 2am

Everyone knows your year abroad is the best year of your life, but Spain is just that little bit above the others.

The way of life out there is completely different to back home, whether you’re at uni in quintessential Exeter or working for a top firm in hectic London. Everything is chilled, relaxed and simple – like it should be.

Brits eat at really strange times

At home we eat all our meals weirdly close together: breakfast at 9:00, lunch at 12:30 and supper at 6:30. However this is kind of odd, especially if your family, like mine, insist on squeezing “elevensies” and afternoon tea between these pretty tiny windows of time.

In Spain you learn to breathe between meals, eating with at least six or seven hour breaks between eating. Healthier, and to be honest, far more logical.

British weather genuinely is as shit as everyone says it is

I used to be a strong advocate of defending the British climate, maintaining that it’s really not that bad. However, after a few months in sunny Barcelona, I admitted defeat.

Not only did I get over the British obsession of discussing the weekly forecast, but I also realised the amount of rain back on our beloved island is genuinely ridiculous. Our few days of sunshine in June is just daily normality in Spain, with sun-kissed skin, blue skies and short shorts a habit, not a novelty.

The Spanish know how to have a proper night out

No, staying out until 3am does not constitute a seriously late night out. In fact, 3am is pretty tame. When one goes out in Spain, one goes out at 2am, returning no earlier than 6am. With dinner normally finishing at 11pm and some clubs not opening until one in the morning, Spanish nights out put our uni nights to shame, testing both your endurance and your bank account.

Instead of ending your nights out with a pretty risky trip to the local kebab shop, in Spain you walk out of the club and directly onto the beach, watch the sunrise and then go to bed happy at 8am.

Spanish shopping is spot on

Clothes shopping in the UK is so expensive, and I had no idea until I visited the Spanish stores. Zara is unbelievably good value out here, and Massimo Dutti is no longer a place of dreams.

It’s perfectly normal to get sent links from friends and family of items they’ve seen on the UK website which they want you to pick up at two thirds of the price. You can go on a pretty big spree in Spain and come back with the majority of your student loan intact.

You will eat so many tomatoes

Used as a substitute for butter, tomatoes will come with breakfast, lunch and supper, as well as every little snack in between. The Spanish will literally soak their bread in squeezed tomato juice, and you’ll learn to bloody love it.

Push that Lurpak to the back of the fridge, as you’ll be craving that soggy red bread with olive oil and a fuckload of salt by the end of the year.

Traffic lights mean nothing

Spanish drivers do what they want, when they want. The green man on which our life depends on in London is a mere guide out here, not something to be relied upon, as cars will go whizzing past regardless of the massive red light. Shut your eyes, pray, and walk. Hopefully you’ll make it to the other side.

Barcelona is the new Amsterdam

There is weed literally everywhere. It makes us Brits look pretty uptight, as people out here smoke it publicly on the streets at 11am and on the dance floor at 4am. You become pretty much immune to the smell and sight of it, as you walk past openly advertised cannabis shops and private membership weed bars daily.

It’s not really seen as a naughty thing to do and there are a variety of fruity and spicy flavours on offer.

Basically, Spain is the ultimate place for a year abroad. It’s incredibly liberal, open and diverse, with amazing food and phenomenal nights.

But we’re sure your uni is fun too.