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Ser un jóven en el España de hoy.

18 January 2018

Hola, buenas. Bienvenidos a mi primera ´Routes into Languages blog´. I have been provided with the broad subject of ´Being a young person in Spanish speaking society´.

Castillo Almodover del Rio (High Garden from Game of thrones/Juegos de tronos)

This year abroad so far has been incredibly fulfilling and has opened my eyes to the lifestyle and culture of another country; which I believe is an incredible thing to be able to experience in today´s uncertain world.
Today I have decided to write about the general employment and youth unemployment which Spain is battling today. This poses many questions, including:

¿Qué es el nivel del desempleo en la España de hoy?
¿Cuáles son las posibilidades para los jóvenes españoles?

In spite of the wonderful time which I am having, I am becoming increasingly aware of the privileged position that I am in. I am living in Andalucía, which was my first choice of places to live due to its varied landscape and amazing cities (Málaga, Sevilla, Granada, Cadiz, Marbella y, la ciudad en que vivo: Córdoba). Yet, despite tourism and the other industries which exist here, it is arguably the second poorest region in the whole country (la primera es Extremadura). Between 50% and 60% of 16-25 year olds are unemployed, with approximately 25-30% of adults unemployed.

This statistics terrify me, as they do a great deal of the youth in Spain today. Cadiz, one of the other cities in my beloved Andalucía, is known as ´la ciudad más pobre en todo España´, (the poorest city in the whole of Spain). Unemployment has been an enormous issue in the whole nation since the 2008 recession; it´s no surprise that the majority of Spaniards refer to this as the ´crisis´.

Mientras que yo, estudiante ingles que todavía no habla español sin errores, trabaja en un puesto en un colegio con paga de €14.60 de hora.

I am absolutely loving my time in Spain, but occasionally I have no choice, but to ponder the fairness of my situation. As a year abroad student, I still receive my full maintenance loan, but in addition I am lucky enough to receive an Erasmus Bursary. Furthermore I am given ´mi sueldo´, because I am working as an English language teaching assistant here in Spain. Therefore I am in a comfortable enough position to comfortably live in Córdoba and travel where possible. Britain has always been a fairly well-off country and so the prospects of supporting myself and having the luxury of travelling to all kinds of places never seemed too far beyond my reach. With the astronomical unemployment rate (tasa del desempleo astronómico), it is easy to imagine a lower sense of optimism amongst the youth of Spain.

Una de las iglesias más bonitas en Córdoba …España todavía es una país muy católica.

In spite of this, there are 15 universities in Andalucía, all of which have booming student populations. The youth of today still get into debt in order to gain an education, would they do this if they believed they would struggle to find work afterwards?

¿Quizás, España en general es más optimista que nosotros sobre su futuro? Estudian a mejorar sus propias posibilidades, y para encontrar un buen trabajo al largo plazo. Estadísticas apoyan el hecho de que la situación ha mejorado mucho desde la crisis.

Overall Spanish unemployment levels have fallen by approximately 7% in the past 3 years. There is an unrivaled level of optimism amongst the people in Spain who I have been fortunate enough to meet. The majority of students within my school are hard-working and constantly have a smile on their face. Moreover they study English grammatical structures throughout their senior school years which I would not have learned (en mis clases de español) before sixth form. People are friendly and happy. On warmer days in Cordoba – e.g most of the year – every café and restaurant fills the streets with tables and chairs, which are then flooded with Spaniards, eager ‘tomar un café o una cervecita’.

Plaza de España, Sevilla, con mis primeros (Year 8s)

One thing that I have definitely experienced in Spain is the more laid back way of life. People walk slower, enjoy their surroundings and spend hours in a café or bar chatting away with their friends: the pace is slower and that’s just how it is. Perhaps this is why there is this undoubted optimism in the air, because Spaniards spend their lives just taking things as they come, one step at a time.

Having lived here for the past few months, I feel positive toward the future employment of Spain. The teaching of languages is excellent, with English being compulsory from primary school all the way to university, with other subjects also being taught in wonderful ways. I believe that despite the tough times it has faced, the future is bright for the future Spanish workforce.

Hasta la proxima vez

Katie Elgie