Travel Log 5: Conversations

For my conversation, I sat down with someone I met going out one night. His name is Chadi and we met at a coffee place off the Ramblas, a central area in Barcelona. Chadi is 21 and is in University, he is also more on the wealthy side. One of the areas that was most interesting was the struggle between change and tradition in Spain and particularly in Barcelona and Catalonia, the province Barcelona is in. In the US we are a strong dichotomy. Some people are extremely progressive and highly value change while others push back against it at all costs as if it will ruin our country. Chadi explained that in Spain the people are still very much so recovering from the Franco dictatorship and a lot of their wants and social ideas are coming from the newly democratic environment. Similarly to the US he said there were split opinions but the tradition isn’t necessarily to keep the country the same it is to respect and maintain their culture. They don’t want to become just another totally western country they want to remain the Spain they grew up with while others are pushing for progress and really admire the US for our entrepreneurial spirit.

Like with change vs. tradition Chadi explained that materialism vs. spirituality weren’t necessarily on opposite sides of the spectrum. He said that more specifically in Barcelona people are very material although there is a strong sense of christianity and catholicism. He said though that in general outside of the big cities such as Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia and Sevilla is where you find more religious people. He said you don’t necessarily have to go to the countryside but in smaller areas outside the cities as well. “A first time consideration of morality across cultures can be unsettling…” (Hess 47). What I found in our discussion to be the largest difference was the amount of social structure and hierarchy we each have comparatively. Chadi explained that the really rich don’t generally go to many areas of Barcelona. Not because they are dangerous but just because they expect a certain level of reverence for their success that they won’t necessarily get at your average cafe, so they stick to their areas where they are known to be more wealthy. I really valued the time Chadi took to sit down with me although he wasn’t really comfortable taking a picture to be online for what he thought was my school. It gave me time to go deeper into what someone my own age feels about their country and their own culture. It was also really interesting how much he wanted to know about the US as well. I would say comparatively people in the US don’t care to learn much about other cultures.

Something I am not a part of back at Quinnipiac is greek life. When I was a freshman I was open to the idea and visited the fraternities at the activities fair. None of them really stood out to me and I felt they lacked the diversity I look for in places I spend my time. Over the past few years at school my opinion of greek life and fraternities more specifically has soured a little more. I have actually sat down with many people involved in many different fraternities and sororities and talked to them about it. I think what has come from that was an understanding from me that I have more of an issue with the organizations than people in them. Of course, there are good people everywhere so it has helped me realize that goes the same in greek life and I am happy to call many of them my friends.

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