first of all: all european languages are somewhat similar to each other. especially the latin-derived/influenced one. and they all share one script.
so please don't compare the spanish/english situation to a chinese/english situation.
much more difficult is the culture. European or in general 'western' culture is fundemantally different in so many ways. And you cannot really understand a different language without understanding a bit of the culture, too.
I'm not just referring to actual 'culture of the people' but also corporate and industry culture.