miércoles, 17 de abril de 2013

English, what for?

By Gabriela Y. Rios
Nationality: Mexican
Teacher of English language Degree in television production and direction
* Series: Stories about skilled immigration and foreign professional women

My first grade teacher would always call me to the front of the class to read books in English. So there I was with my perfect American accent self-conscious that classmates all wore branded clothes while mine were bought at the market.

One day I told my father –I don’t want to attend this rich kids' school anymore. He looked at me and replied –darling you have to understand that it is really important that you study English and this is the only bilingual school in town. – But dad English? What for? I complained. – It’s essential for your future and although you might think is a pain in the neck, one day you will appreciate it, he explained. 

And so I grew up listening incessantly to my father talk about the importance of learning a second language. Years later when I started looking into colleges, once again my father brainwashed me to attend The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) even though what I really wanted was to go to Mexico City because I had always dreamt about working in the soap operas.

When I arrived to Spain due to a strong force called love, I had the intention of continuing my professional career in TV production but little did I know about the industry here in Spain. A colleague recommended me to turn up with my CV to the offices of a production company in Alcobendas where he worked in order to find out if there was a suitable position for me. As I entered the building, there were pictures of Spanish famous people all throughout the hall that took me to the office where an approximately 40-year-old guy looked through the sheet of paper that I handed in and simply just said –your experience does not match any position here because in this country the TV industry does not have as many resources.

My smile faded in a second after realizing that eleven years of my life were worth nothing here. When he saw my face, he reacted by saying –if you really want a job here you can work as an intern or as production assistant, but I have to warn you that there are no fixed schedules and is hard work.  I am used to doing whatever it takes to make a living, so I replied –I don’t mind starting over again as long as I have an opportunity. The guy looked at me in surprise and started to explain the situation about the demand in the labor market of this sector and its salary conditions. As he was talking, I did the math in my head and couldn’t believe how someone was able to live with that kind of income.  –I have your information so I will call you, he concluded.

I left his office very disappointed but I still had to stop by and thank my friend who recommended me for this interview.  While I was walking through the cubicles I only saw youngsters in jeans and t-shirts except for the thirty-something-year-old reflected against the light of the window who was wearing a blue suit and high heels.

– How did it go? Asked my friend.
– It was OK but it wasn’t what I was expecting, I replied.
It was about lunch time so he invited me to go with him and his co-worker to the cafeteria to keep chatting. My friend’s colleague was Colombian and he told me that if they called me, they wouldn’t hire me until I had my resident card so after drinking a cup of coffee mixed with two teaspoons of reality, I took the bus home.

When I arrived, I turned my computer on to seek for some comfort chatting with a friend online but when I opened my email I had a message from a fellow Mexican living in Spain that read “they are desperately looking for a personal English tutor for a high-school girl and her teenage brother. If you are interested please contact Mrs. Carmen Revilla”. I called her right away not because I was excited about the idea but because if I had to wait eight months to be legal to work, on the mean time I could keep myself busy helping these kids do their homework.

Since in the north of México where I was born, speaking English is not only an extravagance but also a must, I had no idea what I could charge per teaching hour in Spain.  I immediately started to enquire and I realized that with very few hours per week, I could earn enough to live and there was no need to belong to the social security system.

Time went by fast because I was content with such an interesting challenge. Once I was eligible to work legally, I started to look for more opportunities as a teacher. I’d had any teaching experience before but just because I spoke English as a native speaker, job opportunities had never stopped coming, so I now don’t even bother knocking on any TV production’s door. To this day, sometimes when I walk on my way to classes, I think about the many times I nodded with my unhappy face to my father’s chats.

Brief career summary
Gabriela Y. Rios

I graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a Bachelor’s Degree in Media advertising and film studies. I worked for almost ten years in different positions within the media such as writing publishing, TV, radio and online production.

I moved to Spain to study a master’s in film direction and decided to stay only to work mostly as an English teacher and translator. Most recently, I have finished another master's degree in business management and marketing that has given me the opportunity to get started in the exciting world of online marketing.

No hay comentarios:

Publicar un comentario

Déjanos tu comentario