Thinking of moving to America? You’re not alone. In fact, there are more than 103,000 Spaniards currently living in the U.S.
Conveniently, the U.S happens to be the second largest Spanish speaking country in the world. However, there are tons of differences between Spanish and American culture.
TransferWise customers who’ve already made the move shared five valuable lessons that you’ll learn when you move to the U.S.
Living in a big city especially, you might notice that everyone seems to be in a hurry.
This mentality can make many of the major cities feel like a rat race. The commute to go to work, whether by car in Los Angeles or packing into a subway in New York City, might be overwhelming at first.
This seems to be common for a lot of Americans, who put an emphasis on hard work and use that as a symbol for success. For Spaniards, who put put a high value on the balance between work as well as leisure, this aspect of daily life might be having you needing some time to get used to.
In Spain, many of the clubs are open until the sun comes up on any day of the week, and you’re almost never asked to show your I.D.
Which is very different from America, where I.D.’s are diligently checked and last call at the local bar generally ranges from 1-2am. The same goes for buying liquor at shops or restaurants (even if you look under 40, they need to see your I.D.) and for using your visa card to purchase something.
Mateo, a Spaniard living in New York, found it tough to adjust:
“It took me four or five times of not being able to get what I wanted, to realize that I needed to have my I.D. on me at all times. In the U.S. even when you purchase swim shorts at Old Navy, you need to have your I.D. so that the cashier can be sure it matches the signature on your visa card. I’ve never seen this in any other country, so I found it pretty bizarre. And don’t get me started on how I need my I.D. to order a glass of wine with dinner, even though I’m 35.”
Since American currency uses a bill to represent one dollar while most other currencies use a coin, Americans tend to never carry change on them because their coins are worth so little.
This is because in American currency, the highest coin is worth only 25 cents and their lowest coin is worth 1 cent. Compared to the Euro, where they have smaller coins as well as ones that represent 50 cents, 1 euro and 2 euros, it’s easy to understand why Americans are always paying for things with their visa cards or bills.
Americans tend to take about one hour for their lunch breaks even if they are just as likely to work late. They also generally eat dinner between 6-7pm, usually after arriving home from working a standard 8-5pm day.
You might be used to grabbing that tiny cup of coffee on your way to work, or throwing on your helmet before hopping on the Vespa.
However, in the U.S. it might come as a surprise that the cars on the road or the portions at a restaurant or coffee shop are huge in comparison. Grocery stores in the U.S. tend to sell in bulk too, and sometimes the easiest way to buy a can of your favorite soup or soda might have to be purchased with 7 others in the package accompanying it.
Moving money back to Spain, or over to the U.S.? Ever felt like your bank is ripping you off? Here's how to beat that feeling - and save money
Your bank might say it's "free" or offer a "fixed fee" to send money home but they hit you with as much as 3% or more on the exchange rate mark-up they use.
What do we mean by a mark-up? Take a look:
Want to see how we calculate this? Click here.