German, English, French, Italian,Spanish and learning Japanese – the languages which young man from Colombia speaks. Life is very interesting. Great example is Angelo from Colombia, currently living in Spain. How life is here from the point of view of Angelo shows the differences between South America and Spain.

  1. Present yourself

My name is Angelo Rendon. I am from Cali (Colombia), currently living in Ciudad Real. This story is about myself but I was on the beginning motivated by my mum because she was the first who left the country.   So, it was around 2000 when she left Colombia so she was looking for opportunities to get a better job, to get some money. I was at university. I was studying informatics so I needed support so I think that is why my mum decided to do it but because of papers and documents, visa it was impossible for me to come to Spain or to Europe earlier so I had to wait around 8 years. It was first my daddy and brother who came to Spain.

2. How did you come to Spain?

Many people ask me why in Spain. I think people try to do things in an easy way like in our case my parents do not speak another language so they were looking for a country where they just work and make money easy and fast because they do not have to learn a new language. So, it is Spain. That is why people from South America were coming to Spain maybe 20 years ago – it was like a big wave of South Americans coming to Spain because in that time we did not need any kind of visa so it was very easy for my mum. But then she had to look for some papers and visa so she could get my daddy and my brother. I had to stay in Colombia. I was having a nice life but very deep inside of myself, I was always feeling that I wanted to see the world, like when I see the map and I see just this little point where I was living.

3. Is there any country where you would like to go, to live? Dream country?

So, then my parents got a visa for me but they were living in Spain since the beginning. I had a feeling Spain was not my dream country or if I was interested in learning languages Spain would not help me in that. But I knew that it was the door to Europe. When I was already in Ciudad Real (Spain) I started to meet many people from Erasmus from different countries. I always wanted to learn new languages like French, German, so when I started to meet people from Germany, exactly from Berlin I was kind of motivated to go to the country or to the city because the connection I had with the people was cool. So my country is Germany.

And there is another part of my life – it is called footbag freestyle – it is a minority sport. So, we do national championships, European worldwide championships so that is why in this little community I was meeting people in every championship; therefore, I know people from Berlin. It is a very cool city, very free, alternative, open mind. So, that’s why in 2013 I decided to go to Berlin – the city I was living in for 4 years. When I went there I just could speak some phrases, not that much German but I was really motivated to learn the language because I think it is very worthy to make a fortune life. Life is not that easy. I know some people that have an easy life when your parents are rich and you have all the supplies and they can not see other things. This makes you strong and determined. You get used to struggling, not everyone wants to do it. But in the end, you are strong.

4. If you compare life in Spain, Colombia and Germany, are there any differences, advantages, disadvantages?

Well, this is actually very interesting because of course when I analyze I can see many differences between Colombia and Spain in our culture. Even if Spain, Germany, France, Norway or whatever are in the same continent Spain is more similar to South America than to North Europe. Even if in Spain you see the flag and you think this is Europe but it is totally different. The mentality about the working, about the schedules, about being on time, how responsible you are for your work, the motivation you have to work, the mentality leaving something for tomorrow when you have time today to do it. So, this is something I don’t really like these cultures but I think this is south. I have seen it with my Italian friends, friends from Portugal. In Colombia, it happens the same. I think it is the influence of the weather. The weather has a very important role, it influences your mood. When you want to do something, many times depend on the weather because this is how you feel. But it is strange because the weather decides the things you want. It is very difficult being in Germany and in the winter doing outdoors activities, cycle, doing freestyle you have to do everything indoors. But something you can enjoy in Spain and in Colombia is life outside. Seeing the people playing, the mood of people smiling, more open to this attitude, having fun all the time.

5. Adaptability – was it hard to move to Spain and then to Germany?

Yes, I think it was really hard to adapt to Spain, even if it is the same language. It is just fun because we have another way to speak and it is a bit different. Some cultures are more dominant, or it is just maybe education when you speak with someone and they say something in a different way than you say in your culture. It is a matter of a different culture. So, in this case when I was here and I had to change many things from my vocabulary because people were not open to understanding me so I was changing my accent, my words until if I speak with Colombians they are gonna think I lost the original way of speaking Spanish and it is interesting that I felt more welcome when I came to Berlin even it was different language. I felt better than in Spain. Maybe in a big city like Madrid, people are more open-minded but in Ciudad Real, I was meeting mostly with foreigners.

6. How is your Spanish accent now?

I think it is a little bit standard. Like I neither use too much slang from there nor from here depends how the others speak Spanish. I always try to adapt.

7. What about friends here? Did you know anyone? Was it hard to find some new friends and start completely from the beginning?

Yes, it is. For example my case, my brother was living here already. So when I came here I was hanging out with his friends so they became my friends too. That can make things a bit easier because if you are totally alone it is hard. I think it was more difficult when I left Spain and I went to Germany because there I was going alone I knew people but I knew it is not my mum, my dad, my brother who is going to wait for me. It was just me. It was good as well. I have many friends in Germany. Here, in Ciudad Real, I have two real friends, Rafa and Manuel.

8. If you think about Colombia (living there, culture, surrounding, friends) do not you miss it?

Well, no. I do not know, for some people it is sad or negative but in my case I think I have this tendency to go constantly in progress like I do not get stuck thinking about the things from the past, so I miss maybe fruit from Colombia, maybe food but I do not really miss the language, the weather, landscape, streets, music.  

9. What do you mean by food from Colombia?

Some special fruits (lulo, borojo, chontaduro) you can only find in Colombia. There are some places maybe in Barcelona you can find it there but it is very expansive. And also I miss my granny, she is a very wise woman and she is like a kind of shaman. I miss her a lot. She told me many things about eating and being natural and eating natural food. So maybe, if I have to think of someone in Colombia that would be my granny.

10. Do you have another dream country where you would like to live except Germany?  

In the last years, I have been thinking about the Netherlands or Denmark. I like languages, the people, the style, streets, bicycles.

11. What is interesting for you in these countries because you are from Colombia, you live in Spain and the culture, environment, people, nature are completely different

I do not know if I am addicted to it but I like learning new languages because it causes emotions and new experiences. So it is a way to be entertained but happy, you are getting excited all the time because everything is new for you. I think you have to be a little bit open minded but in my case, I like kindness, responsibility, I like to work. I like to be gentle. Not like in our culture, people do not want to wait, people argue very easy, the humour is more aggressive.

12. Job in Ciudad Real, was it hard to get it?

Well, maybe it is a general situation about the job, I was looking it for a long time in Madrid even if I spoke a couple of languages it was not possible because in that time I was wearing dreadlocks. I had very long hair and that was the problem basically. I had to look better even I spoke different languages because the hair was too heavy haha, I do not know. I do not really like to work in Spain. I was working in a restaurant, now I am working in a prosthetic dental lab, which is really good. They have another kind of schedule. This is not very common in Spain.  It is quite hard to get a job in Spain. They do not want to give opportunities to people. They want that one does the things for two people.

13. What about stereotypes in Spain? Siesta time, being late, partying a lot. Do you like it? Do you do it?

I have to say many Spanish traditions I do not like but I know they are good. For example, not being stressed about the time, they are really relaxed all the time, no pasa nada, we can wait, we can do it tomorrow. It is like if you are really stressed and you have Spanish friends you are very chilly, nothing really matters to them. This is good but not all the time. Sometimes, we have to be on time. For example, exams, work. It goes against me. Sometimes I like it sometimes I don’t. But in general, it is balanced.

14. Expectations before Spain?

I had a plan a long time ago to speak languages. I have not been in an English speaking country yet but I decided to learn English in Colombia so being in Europe has been a very positive things because there are many countries where you just can change the language or maybe with the scholarships, travelling you can travel a lot, meet new people, culture and to exchange language. You can find a friend abroad and you become best friends or even girlfriend who becomes your wife so these are the things that are really good when talking about Europe because there are no borders. But about expectations, I was not sure if I can do it but I have started and it is speaking languages. Little by little. I was meeting with international people.

15. Which languages do you speak?

German, French, Italian, English, Spanish and learning Japanese for 8 months. I started with Japanese when I was in Berlin because I met a guy from he could not speak any German and he spoke just a little bit of English. I was really worried about it so I decided to exchange the languages. I was learning Japanese from him and he was learning English and German from me. And this is the thing, you can do many things in a different way because I could go to the academy and learn it but it is different from the people. You can see the other side of life because it is not going to the library and taking books. Just travelling and meeting people from different countries. I can speak those 5 languages but some of them are fluent some of them still with some doubts but little by little.

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