By: Keara Watkins



There are three main diseases you can get while visiting Spain, or coming in contact with food and animals that come from Spain:

- Hepatitis A: A person can become infected with this disease if they come in contact with contaminated food and water in Spain.

- Hepatitis B: A person can become infected with this disease through sexual contact with other people from Spain. Also contaminated needles and blood products can infect someone.

- Rabies: Many bats in Spain have rabies and they tend to bite people. It's not a major risk to most travelers, but a vaccine is recommended before visiting the country.


The health care system in Spain is one of the best in the world. They spend about 10% of their GDP (Gross Domestic Product) on healthcare. Before seeing a doctor, you must register for healthcare at el centro de salud (the health center). In Spain, you can get either private or public health care. Private health care allows you to get faster service in non-emergency cases.


- Life Expectancy for Men: 79 Years

- Life Expectancy for Women: 85 Years

- Percentage of Obese Citizens: 13.1%

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Card games are very popular in Spain. The most popular of them are:

- Mus: This is the most popular card game in all of Spain. To play, 2 teams of 2 are dealt cards from the dealer. The team must agree on whether or not they want another card. The first team with cards that add up to 40, wins.

- Siete-y-Media: Translates to "Seven thirty". This is a game similar to Black Jack.

Board games are also very popular in Spain. Many of these games are similar to ones played in America. They play:

- Damas (Checkers)

- Dominó (Dominoes)

Children in Spain also play games that are similar to games that American children play. For example:

- Escondite (Hide 'n' Seek)

- Rayuela (Hopscotch)

- Gomas (Almost like jump rope)


- Fútbol: Soccer is the most popular sport in Spain. La Liga (The League), is one of Spain's soccer teams and is considered one of the best teams on the planet

- Bullfighting: corrida de toros (bullfighting) season is from March to October. In this sport, the flagmen hold out a red cape and trick the bull into running through it.


- 2006 FIFA World Ranking (Men): 6th out of 197 teams

- 2012-13 Soccer UEFA Champions League: 2nd out of 49 teams



The Spaniards eat foods that are high in carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables, rice, fried potatoes, and desserts. They also eat lots of protein. Fish, pork, and eggs are very common ingredients in their diets.


In Spain, they eat a small breakfast, a midday snack, and a large lunch in the afternoon. Later on in the afternoon, they'll have another snack, and then at night they will eat a late evening meal. An average day would look like this:

Breakfast: Coffee and some kind of bread (croissant, toast, pastries, etc.)

Lunch: Grilled sardines, basque tuna and potato casserole, chickpeas with sausage and paella, and a dessert.

Supper: A potato omelet, soup, and a salad.

Snacks: Garlic mushrooms, meatballs, or bread with some kind of meat (ham, salami, etc.) and cheese.


- Valencia Las Fallas: This is one of the biggest festivals in all of Spain. It was designed as a tribute to Saint Joseph, the patron saint of Valencia. Some popular foods made during this festival are paellas, pumpkin donuts with thick hot chocolate, and a variety of drinks.

- La Tomatina Festival: The Spaniards love tomatoes so much that they've created a holiday where they throw tomatoes at each other! On this day, tomato sauce is served with everything: eggs, chicken, omelets, EVERYTHING.


- Amphetamine Use as of 1999: 0.87%

- Cannabis Use as of 1999: 7.58%

- Subway Restaurants as of 2006: 28



Spain is considered a "wine-drinking country" Alcohol is seen at pretty much every holiday/celebration. It's per capita alcohol consumption has been on the rise since the 1950's. In January 2014, the legal drinking age was raised from 16 to 18. They have created many policies to prevent underaged and irresponsible drinking. Such policies include:

- Selling alcohol in schools is forbidden.

- Drinking alcohol during sporting events is forbidden.

- Alcohol may not be advertised before 9:30 PM.

- Labels on alcoholic drinks must display the alcohol strength volume.

The list goes on.

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Spain has had it's issues with drugs as well as alcohol. In 2006, Spain topped the United States by having the most cocaine users in the world! Immigrants are bringing drugs into the country. Many Moroccan and North African Immigrants have strong cultural and linguistic bonds with Spain. They can easily bring drugs into the country. Most of the drugs that Spain struggles with are illegal drugs that are sold on the street. They include:

- Cannabis

- Ecstasy

- Amphetamines

- Powder Cocaine

- Base Cocaine (Crack)

- Heroin

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Spain used to be known as the "European Mecca for Cigarettes". Starting in 2010, they began raising the prices for tobacco, seeing that it was becoming wildly popular. In 2013, e-cigarettes became trendy and many e-cigarettes stores began opening. Many smokers use these instead of real cigarettes as a way of trying to quit smoking. Many non-smokers use these because they are fashionable. Taxes were raised on tobacco products as well, and many people tried to protest this. These people were advised to buy smoking products from black markets rather than official retailers for cheaper prices. This caused the demand for tobacco specialists to drop, and so many of these stores were closed.
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- Alcohol Consumption as of 2003: 11.7 liters per capita

- Alcohol's Prevalence as of 2011: 63.7% ages 15-34, 61.5% ages 35-64

- Cannabis' Prevalence as of 2011: 12.5% ages 15-34, 3.7% ages 35-64

- Tobacco's Prevalence as of 2011: 40.1% ages 15-34, 35.9% ages 35-64



Spaniards do not believe in arranged marriages. They marry because they love each other. Divorces were not always permitted in Spain. They went to courts to try and settle their issues. Traditionally, children will move out once they become married. Once two people become married they will create a family. Typically, the woman will stay home and raise the children. The children are only expected to love each other and get a good education. Spaniards tend to be more family oriented, and children are known to help their mothers with any chores that need to be done. Spaniards love to communicate with their relatives, and they almost never talk to each other because they feel obligated to do so.
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Spain is a very developed country with a high quality of life. They have one of the world's best healthcare systems, and was ranked the healthiest country in Europe. Their language is spoken in many places around the world (with slight variations), and is considered a "romantic language."

Part of the reason I wanted to know more about Spain is because I'm taking Spanish II and my goal is to one day be fluent in the language. I've always wanted to visit Spain, but I never knew that there were so many things to do there. Many of the activities I had no idea about, and I didn't know how to play any of their popular games.

The other reason I wanted to study this culture is because of the movie "Cheetah Girls 2". They took a trip to Spain and it looked as if they had the time of their lives. The movie made it seem as if Spain was just like America, but with more exotic architecture and music. The food was all American and many of the Spaniards spoke English. I wanted to find out how accurate the movie was in comparison to the research I found.

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