No Money, More Problems. Spain’s Economy and its Youth

Spain’s economy is the biggest problem for young people hoping to find work

If you had plans to pack up and move from Australia to Spain, you might want to reconsider. Spain’s youth unemployment rate is at an astronomical high, 53.5% to be exact, with no signs of decreasing in the near future. The reason for this economic disaster started with the market crash of 2008. Now, in 2015, one of the major outcomes of the crash is that there are no jobs for any recent high school or college graduates. The problem is becoming increasingly worse. As the demand for jobs increases with every University graduation, the future of Spain grows dismal, especially for recent University graduates who are categorized as part of the ‘lost generation’. So what does this mean for Spain and its economy? Mass emigration to neighboring European Union countries or going overseas to places like Australia in hopes of encountering more job opportunities.

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As native Spanish citizen Alvaro Garcia says, “The hope of finding work is next to zero. What used to be normal – a job that allowed you to be happy and independent, to live in your own home – these things are chimeras, shadows from a recent past that now seems utterly unattainable”. As nostalgia for the past sets in and the longing for Spain’s previous economic status becomes more evident, a complex question arises- where do Spain’s youth go from here?  If they decide to emigrate, the outcome will undoubtedly impact Spain in the future. Without the Millennials to continue on and take over the work of the older generations, what is to become of Spain? The Spanish government is not taking the proper steps to encourage their youth to stay or even to create more jobs for their young citizens. Politicians should be focusing on the unemployment of their youth because not enough is being done for the ‘lost generation’. They need to find them, quickly, or the consequences in the future could be catastrophic.

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DOS BESOS

If you are planning on taking a trip to Spain in the near future, you’re going to want to trade in your Aussie handshake for two kisses as your new form of salutation.

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Spaniards embrace kissing  one another’s cheeks as a form of introduction, greeting a friend, or saying goodbye. For someone not familiar with this form of greeting, it is something that catches you off guard quickly. In Spain you greet anyone, even strangers for the first time, with two kisses, brushing cheeks and making a kissing sound.

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It is a custom that shocks most because it introduces a personal connection by getting up close and personal to someone’s face whether you know them or not. This is a main cultural difference between Spain and Australia and one of the first differences you will encounter when you travel to Spain. It catches you off guard at first and is a little awkward, but after the third or fourth person you’ve kissed, you start to feel integrated and a part of Spanish culture. It is very welcoming, but if you’re a person who does not like physical contact maybe Spain isn’t for you.

If you go to Spain knowing this cultural difference you still will be caught off guard the first time it happens, but you will recover more quickly than if you had never researched or learned about this custom before. The culture shock of “dos besos” will fade. Like anything beautiful, you soon will find yourself missing them when you’re back in Australia shaking the hand of a very attractive person.

Partying and Siestas: Disproving a Common Stereotype of Spanish Lifestyle

La Gente Está Muy Loca” 

“The People Are Very Crazy” or Are They?

Spain and its people are known for the insane partying and sleeping lifestyle they embrace. For this reason, they often are stereotyped as a ‘crazier’ and ‘lazier’ civilization in comparison to other cultures, like Australia for example. However, these terms are incorrect labels for this culture, and instead there is something the rest of the world could learn from them… 

Yes, Spain is known for its crazy partying scene, bars, and of course its glorious tradition of siestas, but this is far from all Spain and its people have to offer. Naturally, these are appealing aspects of Spain because what does every young adult want to do with their free time? Drink. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. However, Spanish culture has so much more to offer. For example, I previously wrote a piece on coupon-1368794450Spain’s food culture  because it is an extremely important part of Spanish culture- and absolutely mouthwatering. However, the people of Spain are what make Spain so special.

Yes, they go out at 2 am (and yes you are leaving the club/ bar, when they are walking in) and they shut down their stores for siestas during midday, however, this does not mean they are a ‘crazy’ and ‘lazy’ society. Their lifestyle is simply centered around the ones they love and they prioritize spending time with them over working. The rest of the world could learn a lot from the Spanish community. As their common phrase goes, “No vivir para trabajar, trabajar para vivir” meaning “Don’t live to work, work to live”.  It is a culture that emphasizes friends, family, loved ones, and the experiences you have with them, rather than capitalism and materialism- a lesson the rest of the world would be smart to learn.

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This misunderstanding of Spanish society is problematic because their love for their family and friends is being misconstrued, by outsiders, as a ‘crazy’ and ‘lazy‘ alternative lifestyle. It thus perpetuates a false stereotype of Spain and its people.

They are not crazy insane party animals who don’t do anything else but drikeep-calm-and-party-in-ibiza-8nk, eat, sleep, repeat- no those are the tourists who think they are living ‘la vida loca’ of Spain.

Mhhm Can you Smell the Tapas?

A Hungry Traveler’s Guide to Food in Spain Food is like the golden ticket into entering the world of culture. It is through our tasting capabilities, that we get to experience a part of peoples culture in an extremely delicious way.

In southern Spain a customary dish that is served with your drink order is called a tapa. Not only are tapas delicious and filling, but ridiculously cheap. It is better than a McDonald’s combo deal for sure! For about €2-€3 you can get a beer plus a tapa- you’ll end up spending less than €10 and have had multiple beers and a filling dinner.

Tapas come in many shapes and forms. From Jamón Ibérico,which is a ham served in thinly cut slices, to fried anchovies, to slices Jamon Iberico with manchego cheeseof manchego cheese- the kinds of tapas you can get are endless! How it works is when you order a drink, your server will bring out whatever tapa they are serving that night. Usually they have multiple tapas, so the next drink you order, a different tapa will appear- it’s like magic! Tapas are most common in the south of Spain, but if you don’t have time to make it there, then I highly encourage you go tCroquetteso the Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid. This market will allow you to satisfyingly experience all parts of Spain without leaving the center of Madrid. The beautiful Mercado de San Miguel offers a variety of different tapa like food, while also serving bigger plates, along with the possibility of buying reguPatas Bravaslar everyday cooking ingredients. There are thirty-three stations inside this Mercado and it is open most days from 10 in the morning until midnight, but beware of it closing during siesta time! It is located near Plaza de Mayor making it easily accessible from the city center. If you are in Madrid make sure you don’t miss it! Your taste buds will thank you!

Los Toros

When you think of Spain, what comes to mind?

For me, it is the image of a bull. The many cultural significations it has like bullfighting and the running of the bulls makes it a powerful symbol representing the Spanish community and their previous generations, not only in Spain, but around the world. However, much controversy has occurred over the years by animal rights activists who view bull fighting as inhuman. Is it inhuman? Or is it centuries of tradition transferring through time?

Bullfighting started back in 711 A.D. as a celebration honoring the crowning of King Alfonso the 8th. A sport that initially started out on horseback, transformed around the 1720’s into a sport where men would challenge the bulls on foot.

Today, Seville, is one of the few places left that still has bullfighting events and draws in over one million people during each bull fighting season (which runs from April until September). The bull is not only a symbol of Spanish culture and tradition, but is one that has substantial financial implications, bringing in about 2 billion in profit each year. If bullfighting were to disappear and become a historical memory, there would be an additional economic crisis for Spaniards who not only work in that specific industry, but the tourism industry as well. Not only is this a significant symbol of Spain and Spanish culture, but financially Spain would be at a loss without it.