Dear teachers and students,
Today some of us met to celebrate a New House gathering (the first gathering in two years in our hosts’ house), and some foreign residents started shouting at midnight sharp: “Be quiet, please!! We want to sleep!!”. I’d like to communicate some ideas that might help foreign residents who exhibit a lack of knowledge of the culture here think twice before behaving so rudely.
Cultural tips for foreigners living in Costa del Sol
Foreigners living in Costa del Sol seem to have devoted little time to their education, which shows in their lack of appreciation and interest in the culture of the country they live in.
When a Spanish neighbor has guests, and they are celebrating something, and you want them to be silent, don’t be rude and shout you please want to sleep, particularly if your neighbor doesn’t usually have guests. What Spanish people do, to avoid being rude to their neighbours’ guests, is call the hosts and tell them about the problem you have (not being able to sleep because they are having a party). The hosts reply might be: “Sorry for the noise, but we’ve organized this for Saturday night, and we’re celebrating something important, so please, be patient”. Or “OK, sorry. We’ll make less noise.” When the reason for wanting to sleep is an important exam, or a pressing situation, the hosts will probably say, “OK, sorry, we’ll tell people to leave now”. It would be a conversation, communicating – not You informing them and they doing what you want them to do.
Making your neighbors’ guests feel unwelcome is one of the rudest things you can do. It’s aggressive. So the approach is not about Your Rights. The approach is about tolerance, being good neighbors and learning to live together.
Mediterranean cultures are different to cultures in colder countries, and people from colder countries need to learn a bit about the culture of the country where they live, when it’s different to theirs – because the world can be seen and explained in many different ways, as cultural diversity in this planet shows.
So when people live abroad, learning the language is recommended because it helps to learn about the culture, and talk to and respect or even appreciate local people.
Let’s hope this posts helps foreign residents learn something that might help them consider that perhaps their alarm about Spaniards when Spaniards don’t behave like foreigners might just be a misperception due to their ignorance of what is happening and how to intervene in a civilized manner, culturally respectful, and not their idea that it’s Spanish people who are uncivilized and need foreigners’ reprimands.