November 17, 1996
Even More on Spanish Culture
The Spanish culture is very similar to American culture with just a few subtle differences. Those differences would not make it difficult for the average American traveler to get along in Spain, but they should nevertheless be paid attention to as it is always respectful to adhere to the customs and norms of any country that one visits. The more one knows about a culture the more one understands about the people, and the more he/she is able to effectively communicate with the people of that culture.
The Spanish culture is ultimately very collectivist, therefore teamwork and team rewards are the norm. This is largely due to the fact that many local Spanish businesses are family owned and family run so any fortune that comes to a business will benefit the family as a whole.
The norms of reciprocity in Spain are very lax, just as they are here in the United States.
Gift giving is largely voluntary, but just like Americans, the Spanish people feel obligated to buy gifts for the people who have bought them gifts. The Spanish people spend what they can afford on gifts and tend to spend large amounts of money at Christmas time. Since Spaniards tend to be very social however, many of them choose to buy Christmas gifts only for family members. Many Spanish people simply have too many friends to buy gifts for all of them, so instead of buying for some people and neglecting others, they choose not to buy gifts for their friends at all (Fernandez).
The Spanish people are very social and are not at all obsessed with privacy. Spanish families tend to be very large and siblings often share rooms making privacy at home virtually impossible. Spaniards also...