For those of you who have recently received an acceptance letter to study in Spain, you’re probably already daydreaming about la vida loca that awaits you: a new world where the hardest decision will be which tapas to accompany your glass of sangria, sunbathing on a beach as the sounds of flamenco and salsa music float through the air. For the most part, you won’t be disappointed. However, what the study abroad brochure fails to mention is that your year abroad will be soundtracked by the worst kind of music, that your favourite band would never dream of touring Spain… but also, that the music festivals back at home have been ripping you off for years.
Why is Spain in a crisis? What is this ‘siesta’ nonsense? Why is the Mercadona jingle so catchy? These were just some of the seemingly unanswerable questions I asked myself when I started my Year Abroad in Spain five months ago, but perhaps the most pressing question, and the one that required the most urgent response, was: when is it socially/morally/ethically acceptable to give a besito?