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Something is certain… Spain will not be the same after the nightmare March 13, 2013

Posted by espainisdifferent in Economy, Politics, Society and Media, Uncategorized.
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Soon after the new government took office I wrote a post titled Difficult but not impossible. At that time unemployment in Spain reached the terrible figure of 5 million people. In that post I highlighted some of the country´s strengths and I expresed my hope that the new government would start to get us out of where we were after the disastrous management of the socialist government. Nothing further from the truth. image (more…)

Parenting in Spain January 19, 2013

Posted by espainisdifferent in Culture, Society and Media, Uncategorized.
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I consider myself a keen social observer. As such, when living in UK I couldn’t stop myself comparing structures and behaviours with those I had seen in my country before heading to the British Islands. One of the things that drew my attention was the way parents spoke to their children. They spoke to them like adults! I don’t know if this is good or bad but it is definitely different to what I had seen in Spain. When a dad is talking to his daughter in that country (I remember vividly the way a father was talking to his around 7 years old daughter in the tube in London) he would do it like if he was talking to an adult but in a nice way (the way your father talk to you when he is in a “nice” mood). This was a contrast to the way children are spoken in Iberian lands. Over here children are spoken like if they were childish just because they are children. Like they hadn’t got any conscience. It is a real pity.Conscious educated parents don’t have such a remarked tendency but even though they behave that way sometimes.

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Meaning of the country side for urban people in Spain August 20, 2012

Posted by espainisdifferent in Culture, Society and Media.
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The morning of the day I am writing this article, I took part in a conversation about people in cities going to the country side, which included some Spaniards and expats in my office. Dani, a Brazilian colleague, was struck by the custom of his Spanish fellow colleagues of going to the country side, to their respective villages very often. When I say that everybody goes to their village I am not meaning that everyone is from a village but that everyone has his/her village. Most of the staff in my office come from cities but almost each family from every one of them has a house in the pueblo (village). This fact has been pinpointed not only for this colleague. Another time, when I was studying my degree in Valladolid, a French guy made exactly the same highlights. Apparently everyone he knew had his/her village.

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Difficult but not impossible December 12, 2011

Posted by espainisdifferent in Economy, Politics, Society and Media, Uncategorized.
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It has been a very long time since the last time I posted something on this blog. Today I am going to write about the mood of the country. As everybody knows we are in the midst of the worst capitalist crisis the world has ever suffered since 1929. Some countries have gone through it with few scratches but most the economies from many countries are completely battered. In the case of this Mediterranean country, called Spain, the fall has been specially pronounced. A country which had finally had joined the club of the rich guys in a couple of decades finds that in less than three years –since the credit crunch began in 2008 until the present moment- it has 5 million people unemployed. Everything that it had seemed to be achieved suddenly looks like a mere mirage. We have gone from a point of over optimism –it was such that our former PM stated that we were on course of surpassing the GDP of France- to a state of helpless despair in the lapse of only three years. As you can imagine the psychological impact of these developments on the populations has been massive. (more…)

Spanish humour: the art of exaggeration February 5, 2011

Posted by espainisdifferent in Crazy stuff, Society and Media, Sports.
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Every country and every place in this world has a very particular way to joke and express humour. For instance, British humour is famous for a skillful use of sarcasm and irony. The American, if we attend to what the US movies show, is witty and a bit crazy. Spanish humour is the result of a mix of sarcasm, irony and exaggeration, being sometimes grotesque. For me it is very funny! But I am Spanish so may be it does not work for you.

Perhaps, the best way to find out is watching a selection of videos from Youtube with English subtitles that I have specially made for the readers of Espain Is Different. (more…)

It must be culture January 22, 2011

Posted by espainisdifferent in Culture, Society and Media.
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I haven’t updated this blog in a while. Surprisingly I still have a bunch of visits everyday. It is gratifying to see that what one has written is still followed by some people. My endeavours have not been in vain. A big thank you to those who read this blog.

Now, let’s go to the matter. If you read my introduction in “About”  I don’t give much information about myself. I will tell you that I live in the United Kingdom’s capital. As many capitals in many countries, London is a stressful and rough place in many ways. So, as you can imagine, people in here are not looking after you. I know generalizing is not good, but it is true that GENERALLY speaking one does not feel the warm of the people. London is a multicultural, multi-ethnic city where most of the people have time only to care about themselves (Remember I am only generalizing). Well, till here it is all normal.

But I live in a country called UK, in England more specifically. In London, it is normal that, till you don’t reach a certain stage (uni, professional jobs, etc.) you don’t meet English people. I have reached it now. I regard myself as a keen social observer. It is inevitable to draw comparisons about what you knew -where you come from- and what you are getting to know (England and its people). I must acknowledge that what I am going to write about as an outsider is based on a shallow and very superficial knowledge of the locals.

Conclusions: stereotypical? I don’t know but this is how I feel about the matter

I want to make clear that I don’t consider English people bad people, but they are definitely different to Spanish people (this blog is about Spain, isn’t it?). A way to understand the Spanish mindset and culture is putting it against others’ culture. We must never forget that these conclusions are constraint to the knowledge of a limited reality and geographical area which has not necessarily be representative of the whole. There we go!: (more…)

Intra-reputation: Galicians July 1, 2010

Posted by espainisdifferent in Culture, Society and Media.
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In most of the countries on Earth the different peoples from the different regions and cities have reputations which constitute the collective mind and identity of each country.  And Spain was not to be different. I will begin from the North-West to N-E, to move afterwards to the Centre and finishing with the South. I will write a series about how we think of each other in Spain and which are various reputations of the regions.

The first region in this series is Galicia. Galicia has  given many important figures to the country. Probably, the most famous is Francisco Franco, the dictator who ruled the country for almost 40 years. It is not something to be proud of, but this is a fact. Galician people are famous for many reasons. A very large percentage of the Spanish emigration came from Galicia.

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Self-perception: “En España se vive muy bien” March 20, 2010

Posted by espainisdifferent in Culture, Society and Media, Uncategorized.
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A found a few quotes on the internet that would well define how we, Spanish people think about our own country. If you have read this blog you can see I have shown many downsides of the country. But this time I want you to see something that in my opinion is very precious in our society despite any problem: the joy of living.

Warming up the conversation with some beers and tapas

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Spanish weaponry industry: something more serious that what many think March 15, 2010

Posted by espainisdifferent in Economy, Society and Media, Uncategorized.
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Spain has a formidable weapons’ industry and exports a lot. Did you know that? We are one of the first producers in the world. For example, we are the 4th European investor in military R&D. After UK and France, Spain is the third navy in Europe -it has not nuclear capabilities as those ones of these countries. (more…)

Critical thinking?: In which team does this guy play? March 15, 2010

Posted by espainisdifferent in Culture, Society and Media.
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The Spanish educational system like many others has many flaws. For me, one of the most flagrant is the absence of critical thinking. This is a problem throughout our academic life. In this case I will only write about the University. This is also the reason I titled the article as I did, to remark how alien this concept is to our medieval system.

Scholars, teachers and students are comfortable in a stagnant system where discussion and criticism are absent. I have found this sad truth when studying my current MA International Relations in Britain and after speaking to friends of mine studying BAs. I have had the chance to confront the two systems and compare each other. Under this perspective I want to make some points.

The dynamic of the lessons

In Britain you the lessons are divided in lectures and seminars. In the lecture the teacher makes an outline of the given topic. Afterward the teacher runs a debate on the topic which the students have previously read about. By discussing the topic and reading about the topic the students actively engage with the contents.

In the Spanish university instead, the teacher lectures the students using almost the whole time, not giving them the chance to discuss the matter properly. Moreover there are not previous readings on the topic. The method is rather simplistic: the teacher speaks out for 50 minutes and the students take notes. It is not always like this, true, but most of the time. As you can guess this dynamic is all but motivating.

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