Education changes all for second generation of Chinese people in Spain

GMT 20:32 2015 Saturday ,18 July

Arab Today, arab today Education changes all for second generation of Chinese people in Spain

Education changes all for second generation
Madrid - XINHUA

Didac Lee was born in Spain's Catalan town of Figueras in 1974. He was one of the second generation Chinese people in Spain.

"Everybody used to stare at me at school. They spoke two languages and I didn't understand either of them. It took me quite a while to adapt," he said before explaining how his love of FC Barcelona football club was his foothold into Catalan society.

"I was different in every way, except when I was playing or we were watching a Barca game," he explained, saying he was no good as a player, so decided to become an executive at one of the most famous football clubs in the world.

He succeeded in that ambition and has spent the past three years in charge of new technologies at the club.

Lee's experience mirrors that of many and social anthropologist Joaquin Beltran at Barca's Autonomous University explained that many second generation Chinese in Spain are "studying for all kinds of degrees and we are starting to see teachers, doctors, lawyers, physicists, economists..."

The Spanish 'El Pais newspaper on Saturday published an article 'How Chinese immigrants went from being dishwashers to doctors," which looks at the experience of second generation Chinese people living in the country showing how they are increasingly looking to education to establish themselves in high-level jobs.

The population of Chinese people in Spain has grown from 167 in 1961 to over 191,000 these days. And the number of Chinese students at Spain's universities has grown from 202 in 2003 to 6,381, of whom 2,435 are taking Masters Degrees.

Beltran said the trend will increase given that "around 23 percent of Chinese living in Spain right now are under 15. The longer the parents have been here, the more money they will have saved, increasing their chances of investing in their children's education."

"Chinese culture attaches great importance to education," he said.

El Pais also gives the example of 27-year-old Jianjia Wang, who says she "wanted to study, to open new doors and horizons for myself."

Those studies led to her winning the 2010 UPF Empren Prize of 20,000 euros (around 22,000 U.S. dollars) to invest in a publishing house producing educational material for Chinese children in Spain.

This entrepreneurial spirit was highlighted in recent figures published by Spain's National Institute of Statistics which showed that Chinese are the only national group to see the number of people in work in Spain increase by 37,000 over the past 7 years of the crisis.

There are now 92,902 Chinese people working in Spain, half of whom either run their own companies or who are self-employed.

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