Spanish for Beginners
After participating in many European programs in Spain - Erasmus, Grundtvig, Leonardo Da Vinci and EVS - and visiting 11 out of the 17 autonomous communities of the country I can say that I understand Spanish people, well… more or less. If you have just arrived in Spain or you are thinking about it you may find the following phrases and idioms useful. For me they sum up my time in this diverse and amazing country.
Adonde fueres haz lo que vieres
This is a good advice to make your stay in Spain easier, in other words: When in Rome do as the Romans do. You will definitely face cultural shocks at the beginning but don't worry, everything is going to improve soon and at the end you won't want to go back to your country.
No pasa nada
This is a phrase that I heard many times which reflects the laid back lifestyle of Spanish people since it means no worries. Similar phrases are "no te preocupes" and "está bien".
Bueno como el pan/el queso
Most of the locals I have met can be described using this phrase since they are very kind and nice.
En el quinto pino
If they tell you that something is "en el quinto pino" you should better take the train or the bus because it means that it's very far away.
Estar hasta las narices/el moño/el gorro
I hope you won't hear any of these expressions because that would mean that the person is fed up.
Estar patas arriba
When you live abroad, you will most probably share house and invite your new friends over to have fun and. So you may end up with a house "patas arriba", meaning in a complete mess.
Al mal tiempo, buena cara
Obviously during my time in Spain I had my misfortunes - for example, my wallet was stolen and I broke my foot - but with a positive attitude everything went fine. Like the phrase suggests: If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
La mar de bien
The sea (el mar) forms part of everyday life of the lucky ones who live on the coasts of Spain. In this case the noun is masculine. But it can also be feminine (la mar) when you want to say that something is amazing. For example: My stay in Spain was la mar de bien.
A vivir que son dos días
This phrase sums everything up perfectly: Live it up; life is short. Dare to live your own experience abroad, you won't regret it.
Written by the EVS volunteer Paraskevi Hadjiefthymiou
Written by Eurodesk Qualified Multiplier, Ayuntamiento de Elche.