Spain through American eyes: Does the good win over the culture shock?

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Spain through American eyes

In  an interesting article published by El País, the journey of Eric and Jessica Smith, an American couple from Kansas, into the heart of Spanish culture unfolds. They share some of Spain through American eyes and their story, a mix between the cultural shock and subsequent enchantment experienced by many foreigners in Spain, highlights the diverse allure of Spanish life.

The first encounter of Eric and Jessica with the country in 2017 took them through Madrid, Barcelona, and San Sebastián, sparking a deep affection for Spanish culture. The allure of Spain’s rich cuisine, vibrant people, and dynamic lifestyle left an indelible mark on their hearts. Consequently, this led them to dream about relocating to Spain. A dream that became a reality amidst the global pandemic. Braving new challenges, including Jessica’s pregnancy, the Smiths moved to Logroño. They love this Spanish city for its northern charm, modest size and beautiful surroundings. That being so, their story of relocation and cultural immersion swiftly captured public attention.

Embracing Spanish Life in La Rioja

In February 2023, the Smiths’ life in Logroño gained viral fame through a TikTok video titled “Why not Logroño?”. This video addressed a frequently asked question about their choice to live in La Rioja. Their enthusiastic response showcased the region’s exceptional offerings: amazing people, exquisite food, and unparalleled wines from La Rioja. Additionally, they highlighted the city’s safety, family-friendly environment, affordable living costs, and the picturesque mountains surrounding them. Their candid portrayal of life in Logroño serves as a more compelling promotion of the region than any official tourism ad.


¿Por qué no Logroño? Why not Logroño Spain! Los increíbles paisajes, la gente maravillosa, la comida y el vino… ¡La Rioja no tiene competencia! #logroño #vacationdestination #lariojawine#lovespanishpeople #lovespanishfood #whyspain #lariojaturismo #lariojaspain #españa #americaninspain #americanlivinginspain #welovespain #AmazingPeople

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♬ original sound – Smith’s | Family Life In Spain

Cultural Shock

Cultural shock, a term popularised by Canadian anthropologist Kalervo Oberg in the 1950s, describes the emotional and psychological impact of immersing oneself in a new culture. This phenomenon has now found its way onto social media platforms like TikTok, with Americans living in Spain leading the charge with their vision on Spain through American eyes.

Morgan, another American influencer living in Madrid, shares her journey of adapting to Spanish life (@morganinspain). Her insights into the Spanish lifestyle, social norms, and healthcare system offer a fresh perspective on everyday life in Spain. Both the Smiths and Morgan use humour and sincerity in their content to bridge cultural differences and share their unique experiences.

The power of social media in cultural exchange

The success of the Smiths and Morgan on social media underscores the power of these platforms in cultural exchange. Their content, often humorous and insightful, resonates with both American and Spanish audiences. They address common questions about living abroad and provide valuable tips for those considering a similar move.

The authenticity of their experiences fosters appreciation of cultural differences. Furthermore, their journeys highlight the beauty of Spanish life, its people, and the rich cultural tapestry that makes Spain unique. As they share their lives with the world, they inspire others to view familiar surroundings with fresh eyes and a sense of humour. Read the full article in El País here.

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