I chose to speak with my Spanish language professor here in Barcelona. My professor, Adelaida, is very kind and always open to discuss the culture of Barcelona and Spain. I thought she would be a good person to ask questions of cultural values to because during class she is always willing to share such information if it’s relevant to the subject we are learning. She has already taught me multiple things in class itself about the values and culture of Barcelona.
Before Adelaida and I began discussing the ten specific values that are compared in Guide 9 from Studying Abroad/Learning Abroad, we had to identify exactly which culture we were going to discuss. The exercise says to question the informant on your host-culture. This is why Adelaida and I decided to talk about the culture of Barcelona specifically rather than the country of Spain. For some students traveling abroad, the city they are staying in may have the same or very similar cultural values to the country they are staying in. For Barcelona, it is another story because the Catalans of Barcelona – and Cataluña in general – are different from the rest of Spain. In fact, Cataluña, the region in which Barcelona is located in, has been trying to gain its independence from Spain. When you walk throughout the streets of Barcelona, one can see the independence flag of Cataluña hanging from many balconies. While this flag can be found in abundance all over Cataluña, the flag itself is not officially recognized by Spain. The flag is a way for the separatists to express their discontent of union with Spain. As a student here in Barcelona, it has been interesting to hear the differences between the rest of Spain and Cataluña, and how most Spanish and Catalans aren’t fond of each other.
Adelaida and I discussed number 8 of the values in Guide 9 for a good amount of time. I jumped to this question quickly because it is extremely relevant to being here in Barcelona on an every day basis. Number 8 is “informality versus formality”. Like Guide 9 says, the United States typically finds informality to be a sign of comfort and equality. In the United States, it is acceptable to walk around in an extremely casual outfit while in public. I think most of us can remember those dreaded middle school days when we wore pajama pants to school. Although that’s a fashion mishap that we want to forget, no on was sent home for wearing pajamas to school. It wasn’t unacceptable or even that much of a spectacle. Here in Barcelona, if you so much as wear leggings rather than jeans or dress pants, you are basically announcing that you are a foreigner. This doesn’t mean that you need to dress the part of a native from Barcelona each day, but it is good to know if you are going to attend a meeting or event in which your appearance is important to represent your character. Adelaida told me that she wouldn’t necessarily call the unofficial public dress code to be formal, but just normal. For her, putting a well thought of and nice outfit together each day is typical, while in America you can walk into many stores to find people in sweat pants and t-shirts.
At Quinnipiac, I am not involved with any religious club. I’m actually not even sure what the specific different religion clubs are, but I know they exist. As a person that is not strongly religious at all, I don’t find it important for myself to gather with people that are like-minded as me in a religious sense. I think it would be a good learning experience to talk to a member or president of one of these clubs. While I don’t feel such clubs are important, I can learn more about why they find it necessary and crucial to have these clubs. I could also learn what role they play in bettering our university. By talking to a representative of a religious club, maybe I will find that they are something I would actually like to be involved in. This is a way I could create closer ties and form bonds with more students of Quinnipiac.