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5 Ways America Should Copy Spain

Friday, August 8, 2014
I've been stateside for almost a month now, yet my reverse culture shock has yet to subside. While living in Spain has helped me to realize the many things that I love about America, it has also opened my eyes to what we can improve back home. As much as I love the USA, there are several things that Spain simply does better. (And of course, visa versa.) Spending the summer back home has shed light on what I truly appreciate about the Spanish culture, and what our country can learn from them. In my opinion, here's how the United States should copy Spain:


Selling Affordable Wine

I die a little inside every time I have to pay $12 for a glass of wine at home. Now it's my own fault that I'm a wine snob I have good taste in wine, but come on.  Twelve dollars?! That's insanity when I think about how I can get a great glass of wine in Madrid for 3€. I'm sorry, but America can only call itself "the greatest nation on earth" when they learn how to sell high quality wine for unbelievably low prices. 

You win, Spanish wine.


Implementing Efficient Public Transportation Systems

I have an irrational fear of driving, which is not conducive to the need to drive everywhere in America. (Or at least in the greater Seattle area.) I'm also terrified of parking, and have been known to be "that girl" who bribes her friends to park her car for her. Which is perfectly acceptable, UNTIL YOUR CAR GETS TOWED (which happened yesterday. Face palm.) 

Getting around Madrid is a lot less stressful thanks to its well-connected, easy-to-use public transportation system. I can take the metro, bus or train just about anywhere I want to, when I want to, all for a shockingly decent price. While there are a handful cities in the USA that are doing this right, America as a whole could benefit greatly from copying the European models of public transportation. There'd be less pollution, less drunk driving, less traffic, more money in my bank account from not having my car towed... the list goes on.



Using Olive Oil Instead of Butter

It's healthier and it makes your food taste better. End of story.

Okay, not totally healthy, but you can bet these bad boys were fried in olive oil!


Taking More Naps

According to the National Sleep Foundation, short naps are found to improve mood, alertness and performance. A recent NASA study found that a 40 minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness by 100% in drowsy military pilots and astronauts. Moral of the story: we should all be taking siestas. 

When I first moved to Spain as a study abroad student, I truly resented the fact that many stores shut down for several hours during siesta time. I found it so inconvenient that I couldn't run my errands in the middle of the day. Now that I'm teaching English in Spain and dealing with hyperactive children every day, I could not be more grateful for siestas. Bring on the naps.

Quiet streets signal siesta time. 


Enjoying Life by Embracing Community

Spaniards work to live, not live to work. They're not becoming workaholics or multi-tasking themselves to death. Instead, they're focusing on enjoying life. The people of Spain take joy in life's simple pleasures: savoring a caña in the sunshine with friends, engaging in long conversations after meals, dancing with their friends until dawn, and making their family their number one priority. Spaniards are by far the most social creatures I've encountered, which unsurprisingly makes them the most fun. 

Unlike the United States, they're not driven by competition, capitalism or materialism. They're not obsessed with buying big houses, fancy cars or the newest Apple products. Rather, they spend their time interacting with their community - which at the end of the day is much more fulfilling.


Of course Spain isn't perfect either, and they could stand to learn a lot from America as well. But that's another rant for another time.


What would you add to this list?
Have you ever lived abroad? What could your home country learn from your host country?

24 comments on "5 Ways America Should Copy Spain"
  1. ...I feel you about driving--even though I don't have a valid license right now, I'm not a fan of it (too much pressure), and there are huge benefits having effective public transport across the country!!...

    I would like to add to this list REAL tapas joints!!...

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    1. Agreed!! Spanish food in the States is ironically SO expensive. Americans have an entirely incorrect notion of what tapas actually are!

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  2. Hi! I loved your post. I'm Spanish and never take naps, ha, ha At least in Barcelona, people only take siestas in the summer because it's too hot to do things from 2-4 pm anyway. Best regards from Barna!
    Marta
    A Bilingual Baby

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    1. At least it's okay to take naps if you want to! A lot of people in the USA view taking naps as being lazy. Which is so, so wrong!!

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  3. Ah public transportation! When my Korean students asked me what I liked most about Korea, I'd always say transportation. They probably thought I was crazy. But it was just so cheap and convenient. Now I'm back in the land of cars, and it's such a drag when you don't have one. Haha, when I studied abroad in Italy, it took me SO long to get used to siestas and how restaurants opened late for dinner. We'd be ready to eat around 6. . .and nothing opened till 8 or 9.

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    1. It's totally a drag when you don't have a car in America! I'm sharing a car with my dad this summer while I'm home, and it feels so debilitating to not be able to do what I want when I want. I'm having metro withdrawals!

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  4. Affordable wine is definitely something North America doesn't have! Every time I'm abroad I'm reminded of that! Also I have to say that transportation by train, etc. should definitely be enhanced in North America as well!

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    1. Maybe one day North America will take a hint ;) At least I hope they will, because I'm so sick of driving EVERYWHERE!

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  5. I agree with every single one of these points!! SO so true. To add to wine, even beer is so expensive here! 8 dollars for a bottle of beer. Ugh. No wonder we can live on our English teacher- budget abroad :)

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    1. Yikes, 8 dollars?! Granted they're probably better quality than Mahou ;)

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  6. I need all these things in life right now!! But from my house where my mom feeds me every meal and takes me to yoga....cuz that's pretty good too. Ugh, can't we just have the best of both worlds?

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    1. RIGHT?! I want good West Coast chardonnay for Spanish prices. And I want to take efficient public transportation... to the nearest J.Crew and Whole Foods. Guess you can't have it all :(

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  7. I could not agree more with these, especially the public transportation and embracing community life. I feel like they go hand-in-hand in some ways. It's my belief that because the car is king is the US that people generally drive to and from work alone, park the car in their garage, and then spend the night inside their homes opposed to being able to walk, bike, or use public transit to get places and interact with other within their community, therefore making the community more connected and stronger.

    I'll be moving to Spain in a short 34 days to teach English and cannot wait! Oh, and the cheap wine is just a bonus of all that!!!

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    1. That's a really good point! I guess I never thought about how public transportation and community are intertwined. But it's so true! Congrats on your upcoming move to Spain - I can't wait to follow along with your adventures!

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  8. americans? dumbasses
    united states of assholes
    greatest? pft hahahaahahaha no one likes them arrogant fat jerks
    and Nasa does other things than studies
    and dummie for the rest too

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    1. I think you mean United States of Awesomeness.

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    2. This doesn't make any sense Anonface. Try again!

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    3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  9. learn from america? hell no
    no one wants that
    pork fat dumbasses

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    1. You're not very good at making friends.

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  10. I agree with all of these! And now that I'm in Australia, Australia could learn the same things from Spain – particularly cheap wine!

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  11. I lived in Madrid (La Latina metro gets me every time!) and I couldn't agree more with your points. Who wouldn't want to use olive oil on everything? So glad I found this blog, I'll pretend Im in Madrid through each post

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