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An American TikToker In Spain Compared The Countries & Some Customs Are So Different

Don't expect dinner until at least 8 p.m.! 🍽

Associate Editor, Global
Morgan explaining cultural differences between the U.S. and Spain in her TikTok videos.

Morgan explaining cultural differences between the U.S. and Spain in her TikTok videos.

Moving to a new country can be an adjustment for anyone and one American woman has captured some of the culture shocks she's had to adjust to after moving to Spain.

In her videos, TikToker @morganinspain - whose name is Morgan - addresses the differences you can experience while dining out, when attending a wedding and even what's not acceptable to wear to a grocery store.

She's made dozens of videos expressing confusion over certain things and appreciation for others, and while you might not be moving there anytime soon, these tips are also great for travellers.

We rounded up some of the biggest differences between the U.S. and Spain so you can understand what to expect on your next trip to Spain!

Meals are long and dinner is eaten late

@morganinspain

It’s do or die 😅 #americaninspain #americanabroad #americanlivinginspain #americanineurope #spain🇪🇸 #madrid #merienda #spainlife #cultureshock

You may be used to eating dinner around 5 or 6 p.m., but that's not the case in Spain.

Morgan notes she's had to adjust her eating habits when going out.

"Most restaurants won't even open before 8 at the earliest," Morgan says in a video. "Spaniards have their own schedule that is for sure."

Also, if someone invites you out for a quick bite, it may be anything but quick. The TikToker has expressed even a lunch can be over three hours long.

Oh and if you're going over to someone's house for dinner, never turn down a second helping. That's just rude!

There is such a thing as too casual when going to the grocery store

@morganinspain

More ✨CULTURE SHOCKS✨ 🇪🇸🇺🇸 #americaninspain #americanabroad #expatinspain #spain🇪🇸 #americanlivinginspain #cultureshock #cultureshocks #cultureshocksspain

While you may see people shopping in PJs when you're at the grocery store in North America or at least in athletic wear, you won't see that in Spain.

Even though it's just grocery shopping, you should still look nice.

Turning right on a red is not a thing

@morganinspain

More ✨Culture Shocks✨ 🇺🇸🇪🇸 #americaninspain #americanabroad #expatinspain #americanlivinginspain #cultureshock #cultureshocks #cultureshocksspain #visitspain #spain🇪🇸

Turning right at a red light is legal in Canada and the U.S. at most intersections, but the same can't be said for the European country.

Red means stop at all times.

Speaking of driving, Morgan also highlighted that driving through a large roundabout is "one of the most horrifying things" you may encounter.

Alcohol is super cheap

@morganinspain

I’ve never seen alcohol so cheap! 😅🇪🇸 #americaninspain #americanabroad #spanishwine #madrid #spaingoals #spain #cheapwine #cheapbeer #cultureshocks

You may be shocked when you see alcohol prices in Spain.

"Alcohol in Spain is so cheap," Morgan expresses in a video.

Beer can sell for around US$0.53, wine sells between US$1-6 and champagne is under US$4. Now those are prices we can get behind!

Tipping is not a thing

@morganinspain

✨ 3 things you should know before visiting Spain! 🇪🇸✨ #americaninspain #cultureshock #americanlivinginspain #spain #visitspain #travelspain🇪🇸 #travelspain #expatinspain #espana🇪🇸 #spain🇪🇸 #madrid #cultureshocksspain

While it's customary to always leave a tip when dining out in North America, it's not required in Spain.

“Tipping culture in Spain just doesn’t exist," Morgan says in one of her videos.

"Of course, if you have good service it's always appreciated to leave €$1 or €$2, whatever you want," she says. "But it's certainly not frowned upon if you don't."

Expect to see topless women at the beach

If you're going to the beach, you can expect to see a lot of women sunbathing topless. It's not just Spain, but a lot of countries in Europe see the same.

"It's very common for women to be topless at the beach, some do, some don't, whatever the preferences," Morgan states in a TikTok video. "So don't be surprised."

Expect to walk a lot 

If you prefer to drive everywhere, expect to do the opposite in Spain. It doesn't matter if the location is five or 30 minutes away.

The scenery and architecture are beautiful in Spain so we don't see this as an issue. Make sure to pack some comfortable shoes!

Weddings look a bit different

@morganinspain

✨Culture Shocks✨ 🇪🇸🇺🇸 Wedding Edition ❤️ #americaninspain #americanabroad #americanlivinginspain #expatinspain #cultureshock #cultureshocks #cultureshocksspain #visitspain #spain🇪🇸

Whereas a bridal party is customary in North America, it's not in Spain.

Instead of a maid of honor or bridesmaids, you can expect to see the bride and groom's parents standing beside them during the entire ceremony.

Also, a wife doesn't take her husband's last name. She keeps her own even after marriage.

You may be confused by some Spanish idioms

@morganinspain

Spanish Idioms 🇪🇸✨ PT III #americaninspain #americanlivinginspain #spanishlesson #spanishexpressions #idioms #learnspanishwithme cr: thelithuanianabroad

Language is obviously a barrier when you move to a new country and certain phrases may not always translate as easily as you would expect them to.

For example, "finding your half orange" means finding the perfect partner and to "sh*t in the milk" is typically said when something goes wrong.

Makes sense!

    Asymina Kantorowicz
    Associate Editor, Global
    Asymina Kantorowicz is an Associate Editor for Narcity’s Global Desk focused on celebrity and health news and is based in Victoria, British Columbia.
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