You’ll throw away the best years of your life.
Enchanted by life in the Mediterranean many English graduates have gone to Barcelona, the Costa Brava, the beaches of Tarragona, etc. They teach English, in some of the many Language Schools there and for many years they have a good life.
It is little money but it doesn’t matter much at the beginning. Then, our young English teacher -usually a girl who finds her title on English is not worth much in Blighty and believes she can make more of herself in the dazzling shores of the Mare Nostum- realizes that teaching in the Spanish Secondary School System pays good money, she has the qualifications, knowledge and experience and can do a better job than the nationals are doing.
Good salary, long vacations, lazy Spanish students, the job looks like a dream.
But it is impossible, you’ll never suceed in breaking the wall of the «Oposición.» Do not even try.
You’ll need to be able to speak, read and write both Español and Catalán -English we’ll take it for granted.
You’ll need to be able to speak, read and write Español and Catalán perfectly well. If handling well one of the languages is not easy, perfect profficiency in both can be attained -it is in the nature of things- only by people who have been exposed to both from the earliest age.
And you’ll need official certificates in them and the Spaniards don’t do crash courses, they are not in any hurry to make things easy for you.
Even the nationals need these certificates and high notes in them also, to be able to apply for the Oposición, and for every job there will be 50 applicants, young, eager and who have been cramming in special academies for a year, often for several years, losing year after year in the search of a job in the public sector, for life.
I know several teachers of English who have left, dishearted, sad and realizing after many years in Barcelona that they haven’t made a friend there, that that people are a cold and egoist people, unfeeling, uncaring and that the supposed high level of their culture was just an empty nationalist boast.
We Spaniards call Barcelona «The Titanic». With good reasons. It used to be different, for a while after the death of the dictator Barcelona looked like a torch bearer of culture and an example to the nation.
No more.
El Hundimiento del Titanic: the Titanic is sunk.
I have wondered at this time living in Britain why, all of a sudden, Barcelona here was all the rage and all the conservative newspapers, specially the Daily Telegraph, praised it in preference to Paris.
To compare Paris to Barcelona is to compare an Elephant and a Mouse.
This spin of the «Titanic» happened when the Three Amigos -Bush, Blair and Aznar- embarqued in their adventure in Irak, from where Spain came back with the tail between her legs and mourning her dead. ¿Where they trying to do Aznar a favour by sending some of the tourist trade to Barcelona instead of to Paris? ¡Absolutely!
Even the Torygraph, the conservative’s mouth piece, hinted darkly at the less wholesome aspects of night life in Barcelona. They didn’t quite muster the nerve to say that the main atractions of Barcelona are not the arts and the sports, rather prostitution and drugs, and that to an enormous, uncontrolled degree.
If your interest doesn’t run to this seamy side of life, my advice to a young English graduate would be to search for a job teaching English in a land less divided by nationalism, more wholesome and with nicer people.
Less expensive, too. All your money will go on a 50-year mortgage for a small flat in a city.
Avivate, gringita ! Try somewhere else in Spain with less problems, or in a different Mediterranean country, like Israel, Turkey, Italy, France, Greece.

Por Armando

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