Bulldogs of Butler: Culture-Shocked

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Senior Brenna Elisabeth Giazzon normally studies Music Education at Jordan College of the Arts — but this semester, she lives in Alcalá de Henares, Spain.

She knew there would be culture shock, but it is impossible to really know what that means before you arrive. The food culture was the most startling.

The country’s love affair with ham and bread; the gigantic lunches and the tiny dinners; eating lunch at 2pm (sorry, 14:00) and dinner at 10pm (sorry again, 22:00).

While all Butler students involved in the program must come equipped with at least two 300-level Spanish courses, the transition of living in a country run by a second language is still terrifying at first.

“It’s also different for me, because I was immersed in a music school, and now this is a totally different dynamic,” said Brenna Giazzon.

How the United States is viewed in Spain and the rest of Europe is interesting, but it can also be surprising. Giazzon told some stories about her first couple weeks in Spain.

“Once in a restaurant a waiter asked if I wanted a coffee, and I said ‘Nunca para mí,’ which means ‘Never for me,’” she says, laughing.

Although a few embarrassing stories are unavoidable during the first weeks abroad, Brenna loves her classes and her travels so far.