Though the culture of Spain is not outwardly reflected in high school culture here, Spanish cultural installments become have become more obvious over time. The most noticeable reflection is in the school scheduling. In Spain, lunch is the most important meal and is “celebrated” with all members of the family everyday. Attendance is possible for all, even those working, because of the tradition of the Spanish siesta. From 2 pm- 4 pm every weekday, many stores, shops, markets, schools, etc. close down in order for people to return home for lunch and siesta (nap). In this way, classes begin earlier for all age groups and always end at or before 3 pm, allowing students to return home in time for lunch with their families. Also, breakfast is all but ignored in Spain, so most students do not eat before they go to school in the morning. However, there is a designated time for students and teachers to eat lunch. This time is called “recreo” or recess, and students eat a small sandwich or a piece of fruit and relax before their classes continue.
The class schedules in Spanish high schools also reflect the culture of the country in terms of which classes are offered and required. European students are required to take English for the entirety of their education because of the increasing need for and global usage of the English language. They are also required to take French, which reflects the general culture of Europe in that there is a greater need to learn and be proficient in more than just one’s native language, as a result of the great variety of languages spoken throughout the continent.
As my placement is a Catholic school created by nuns, the influence of Spanish Catholicism is ever present. There are crosses, bible verses, and quotes from prominent Catholic figures throughout the classrooms and halls of the school. Students are required to study religion and attend mass in the on-campus chapel. Personally, I have observed that there is a very high level of respect embedded in all individuals at my placement. Students respect teachers and other students, teachers respect all students and colleagues, and everyone seems grounded in a similar belief system. In this way, I have not observed many instances of discipline in class because there simply is no real need for it. Additionally, there is a respectful ritual when a teacher enters a room, in which the students rise and both parties greet and thank each other with systematic and required respect.
At B.V.M. Irlandesas de Bami, Spanish culture is interlaced in the foundation of the school and is reflected in various unique ways.