I'd like to take a little time to talk about working in Spain and actually living in Spain. I've talked to a few of my friends and it seems that most of the companies that are run by Americans, are very similarly run to their American equivalents (surprise surprise), and that the European companies, are very differently run (once again, kind of obvious). What I thought was interesting was that the differences are so extreme, that for the most part, you can tell what the country of origin is for a company based on how the employees work.
For the most part, the American companies work long hours, usually for bigger companies, and the interns do more "typical" intern work. On the opposite end, the Spanish companies generally give out more interesting assignments, but the workload isn't nearly as hard; the work experience is a lot more social. It's not necessarily better or worse, it's just really different. I'm not even sure as to what I would prefer in reality, but I'm working with a Spanish company right now, and I really like it so far.
Anyway, I guess I'll talk about my office for a little... First off, we speak an extreme amount of Spanglish. Their English isn't bad, and they tell me my Spanish isn't bad (although I think that they are just being nice). We speak about half Spanish and half English. Usually, we switch off every sentence or two, which is actually pretty fun. It's also the first week, so things could change (work-wise and language-wise), but I really like it so far.
Next, my life has changed pretty drastically. From how and what I eat, to when I workout, to how much I sleep. Almost everything is different. Back home, I'd eat a lot of carbs and starches, but here, it's almost entirely meat, eggs, and fruit just because those things are SO much cheaper. Yesterday I bought 5 apples and 5 pears for about 2 euros and a dozen eggs for 1.2 euros (I go through about 8 eggs a day). As for sleep, I find that I don't sleep nearly as much here (usually 5-6 hours). I think it's because we eat so late. We eat breakfast when we get up, have a snack at roughly 12, something that resembles a small lunch at 2-3, then a snackish meal at 6ish, then, dinner at 9. Also, keep in mind that all of these meals and portions are much smaller than the ones back home.
Some other random differences: I understand this may be because I’m a foreigner here, but I feel a lot more comfortable talking to anyone and everyone here. Even if my Spanish isn’t 100% (and that’s being optimistic), I have no problem going next door to the clothing store, and just standing around talking to the owner (we get along extremely well). Or every time I sit in a taxi, I sit in the front seat next to the driver and talk to them about whatever (usually their family, politics, etc.), or even people on the metro. Everyone here seems a lot more willing to help me struggle through a Spanish conversation than in the States. Even in discos, where I would expect people to be less eager to talk to others and more distant to random guys, they will still have a conversation and help me with my Spanish (assuming I explain my situation and why I want to talk to them). It’s amazing. In the states, I can't imagine that I would be able to tap someone on the shoulder and talk to them. Although, with all of this in mind, I’m sure that people think I’m weird, but hey. I want to practice Spanish, and I will do just that, even if I have to look a little odd doing so. It also means that I get to meet some really interesting people.
While I’m sure that there are other cultural differences, this is all I can really think of, for the time being, I’ll try to get something else for next time!