Travel Log 5: Culture Learning, Values, and Ethical Choices

My encounter with a resident of my host country was at a nightclub here in Barcelona, and I know what you’re thinking that it’s not a great place to talk about in a travel log.  However, my counter argument to that is that night life is very important to the culture here in Spain and especially here in Barcelona.  When you go out at eleven or twelve at night and don’t get back home until three or four in the morning, that’s a significant portion of your day, so why not talk about the interesting people I meet at these clubs.  The person that I met and spoke with at the Shoko night club here in Barcelona was a man named Ignasi, which is the Catalan version (the host language of Barcelona) of the name Ignasio.  On this specific night my roommate and I went to a free dinner with champagne and wine and for us in Barcelona we went out a bit earlier than normal, at 10:30 at night (I know, not early).  So for the most part, this was a social event where we would casually drink and meet people who we will never see again most likely so what’s the harm in saying hi?  While my roommate and I were patiently waiting to be served at the bar we chatted up a native man, that being Ignasi.  Ignasi is a bit older than us at 25 years old but still quite young in the scheme of things so the clubs are definitely still something he likes to do.  However, the more we talked to him, the more we noticed differences in our cultures.  Something I learned about Ignasi was that at 25 years old, it isn’t uncommon to live with your parents still.  Heck he mentioned that people will stay at home and live with their parents until they are fully stable enough to be off on their own and that’s culturally accepted.  This kind of value is directly derived from the value of “youth versus age” where the young in the U.S are held up on a pedestal and told to be successful by the time they finish schooling; to have a job and a place to stay that isn’t at home with your parents.  However, here in Spain they treat young adults as people who have yet to become self sufficient.  For me it was reassuring to hear that because back home in the States we scratch and beg our ways into internships to hopefully beg some more for a job after college so as to not be looked after by our parents anymore.  Something else he mentioned that resonated with me fell along the lines of “rational versus intuitive thinking” because he mentioned that people his age will really wait until they’re ready to get the job that they WANT to do.  In America sometimes we are forced into jobs that we really don’t enjoy because we’re looking for the job after that job sometimes and that’s not particularly fair but we deal with it in the end and that’s unfortunately a part of our culture.  The last value I picked up on with my interaction with Ignasi was the value of “materialism vs spirituality.”  Culturally, people in Barcelona seem generally more passionate about what they have around them instead of what they own.  Ignasi mentioned that he works for money to have fun while he’s still young.  He would rather go out at night and enjoy himself with his friends then be worried about how much it would cost to do so and I think we could all be a bit better like that.  The quote I would like to quickly discuss is, “As you can see, value and culture are inextricably linked.” (Hess 45).  The things that we put value on defines who we are, such as money in America, or happiness in Spain.  Overall, the pressure to do anything in Barcelona is much less and I notice the relaxation of the culture as a whole.



One thought on “Travel Log 5: Culture Learning, Values, and Ethical Choices

  1. Hey Cord,
    Funny that you had such a great experience with locals at Shoko, as I did too last night. My friends and I spent a lot of time talking with a group from Barcelona, and then a group from Belgium. They all seemed very interested in American culture, and we were all able to go back and forth for a while. It was a really nice experience.
    Hope you’re having fun!


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