France vs Spain: A Cultural Crossroads for Expats

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By AlexAndrew

Many global companies send their employees as expats to foreign countries for an international assignment. If you are the one who is sent to France or Spain to work then you must know their culture to balance your personal and professional life. The foremost thing that you need to do to understand their culture is to learn the language of the local people. Here is where you require translation services. 

What are the Cultural Differences between France and Spain? 

We all know that France and Spain are neighboring countries. The mountain range that separates the two countries is the Pyrenees. You can witness the change in culture and language before the mountains and after the mountains. Isn’t it amazing? 

Spanish versus France lifestyle 

Did you know that each year, one of the global banks HSBC conducts the Expat Explorer survey to find out which are the preferred destinations for people to work and live in? According to the 2023 Expat Explorer survey, expats consider Spain as the best country to work in. Therefore, it ranked second.

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Contrary to this, France ranked at ninth number. If you are going to Spain as an expat then you must get assistance from Spanish translation services. These services can help you to understand the culture of Spain. By understanding the culture, you can work professionally in this country without any communication barrier.

Cultural Differences that you can Observe on Crossing the Borders 

Do you know that people in Spain are early risers whereas people living in France wake up late? Due to the difference in these times, their meal timings are also different. Spanish people have their lunch at 2 pm and dinner at 10 pm whereas in France, they have lunch at noon and dinner at 7 pm. Moreover, the climate in summer makes people take a siesta in Summer. You must be wondering, what is a siesta? Well, it is an afternoon nap that people take to refresh themselves.

The important thing to note is that in France there is no concept of Siesta. You can live in any country peacefully if you respect their culture and follow them. Therefore, if you take a siesta in France then it can look absurd. Therefore, you must understand these cultural intricacies if you are moving to Spain, Spanish translation services can help you understand the concept of siesta.

Spanish People’s Personalities are Different from French

There is no second thought on this notion that every person has a unique culture. However, do you know that nations are also characterized by their personality traits? The Spanish people are extroverts with cheerful personalities. Therefore, they express everything with enthusiasm and ease. Moreover, they are passionate about everything. The best part is that they make friends easily. 

On the other hand, French people are very introverted and very reserved. They take time to make friends. Moreover, they don’t trust each other easily. French translation services can help in breaking the ice with them. Expats can work easily with them because they are very loyal people. Therefore, they can trust them regarding work.

Guide to Formal and Informal Communication in France and Spain

Imagine you are in France, someone you just met, maybe a shopkeeper or an older person, deserves a little extra courtesy. That is where “vous” comes in. It is like the fancy version of “you.” It shows respect, kind of like using “Sir” or “Ma’am” back in the day.

Now let’s observe Spain, where things are a bit different. “Usted” is their “vous,” but people there don’t always love it. They prefer the friendly “tú,” which makes them feel closer and younger. So, remember, when in Spain, don’t be formal and embrace the “tú” way of saying “you”.These small things in conversation can develop your relationship with local people that can live with peace of mind as an expat in any of these countries.


French people are very status-conscious. Therefore, you will find a level of inequality. The people that have high designations have more power than those that don’t. People deal with their bosses with formality. Moreover, the information regarding decisions came from top to bottom just like a pyramid. Moreover, there is no open-door policy. Therefore, everyone knows its place.

To be successful in professional life in France, you must understand the hierarchy level and how to communicate with them. French translation services can help you understand this hierarchy level. Spanish people also follow the same command order. The only difference is that they give more importance to middle management.

Working Hours 

In Spain, people are earlier risers so they start their office work on Friday at 3:00 pm. Contrary to Spain, people don’t start their office work early in Spain and do not take their afternoon off. Well, the other reason that I find is that Spain is a Muslim country and they have to offer their Friday prayers.

France is more Popular Destination than Spain 

Do you know that France and Spain are the two most visited countries in Europe. Some people like the architecture of France and some like the architecture of Spain. Both these countries are beautiful with rich heritage. To your surprise, 89.4 million visitors visit France annually whereas 82.4 million visits Spain to see the 47 Unesco World Heritage 

Wrapping Up 

Many people leave their families in their country and go out to other countries to earn bread and butter. I hope the cultural differences which are mentioned in this article can help you to settle down as an expat in any of these countries. Understanding and respecting each other’s culture can help you to grow professionally and personally.

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