If you are visiting Spain and do not want to be pegged as an American/foreigner learn from my epic fails.

1. You are not in a marathon SLOW DOWN! – Walk about 10 times slower than your normal pace. My speed walking habit has not served me well in this perspective. I have had a Spaniard yell to me in Spanish, laughing at how fast I was. He then proceeded to “race me” taking off running far ahead down the road. After a long day of classes I was a little confused by this encounter and it confirmed that I clearly have not conquered the Spanish leisurely walking habit.

2. Asignatura does not mean signature. – While in class I had to fill out a form for my professor. One line said asignature, so I proceeded on to sign my name in black ink. I later on found out asignatura referred to what class you were in. At this point there was no going back so I handed it in (can anyone say struggle bus).

3. When you get in a taxi anywhere in Europe if you can help it DO NOT SPEAK ENGLISH. I met up with a friend in Belgium a few weeks ago. We were so excited to see each other and knew we were about 50 km outside of Brussels so we talked for a while. When we finally decided to look up at the meter we were in a state of shock. Our trip that should have cost roughly 80 euros according to online sources came to a whopping 175 euros. We proceeded to eat away our sorrows with lots of therapeutic Belgian chocolate.

4. While I believe any time is coffee, wine and tapas time the Spaniards beg to differ. While you can order a coffee at many places during your lunch break some have limited hours in which they serve coffee. I went into my favorite local coffee shop one afternoon and was denied a cup of much needed coffee since that particular time of day happened to be for serving drinks not coffee. Additionally, many places do not serve tapas until 7 or 8 at night (some exceptions can be made.) The places that are kind enough to serve you tapas before the general time frame may not be as relaxed in terms of other standards. The other day while having drinks and a delicious cheese concoction after a long week of midterms (a post to come will be dedicated to food) my friend got an interesting look from a waitress when she ordered a glass of red wine at five o’clock. This typically is cerveza or tinto de verano time. Red wine is consumed later on in the night. Personally, I say be a rebel and drink what you want when you want.

5. If you talk sports with a Spaniard, especially from Sevilla, get ready to pick sides. There are two football (soccer) teams here in Sevilla. Real Betis (currently last in the league, though they beat rival FC Sevilla last night) and as you may have guessed FC Sevilla. I have been in the situation where I was having a conversation with a Spaniard when he asked me “ok I have an important question for you. What team are you?” At the time I had no clue what to say. If you are staying in Triana a safe bet would be to say Real Betis. After visiting and talking with employees of FC Sevilla I can confidently say that I am a Sevillista/ Palangana (names of FC Sevilla fans).

This is only a basic list of suggestions. As I continue to ride the struggle bus I will continue to post lessons to learn from.

Mariah studied at Universidad Antonio de Nebrija during spring semester 2014.