Day 3 (June 18th):
Official class began today with our first guest speaker, Oriol Amorós. He is a member of the Catalonian parliament, and he lectured us on Catalonian migration. He was extremely engaging and passionate about his work, and his lecture was one of the best lectures I’ve ever attended. Some facts learned:
- The net migration in Catalonia hovers around 0%.
- There have been 3 dramatic influxes of immigration: in the 1920’s, 1950’s, and today, in the last 15 years.
- The birth rate has decreased since 1977, and there is a huge demand for labor. This deficit is made up by migrants and by the entrance of more women into the labor market (from 40 – 65%).
- In Amorós’ opinion, the worst problem in the country is the failure rate of compulsory courses (high school). 10% of Catalonian kids fail, 31% of Moroccans, 40% African, and 42% of Asians fail. His main goal is to improve education.
Important Questions Posed:
- When do we stop calling an immigrant an immigrant? If you have resided in Catalonia for 10+ years, are you a Catalonian, or are you still a foreigner?
- What do we do about the children of immigrants? These are people who did not choose to migrate, but are treated still as immigrants. We have 1 generation to change how people perceive immigrants so these children are treated fairly.
- How do we integrate immigrants? Force them to assimilate, or place them in cultural communities?
- What can we not accept from other countries? There are 3 universal concepts all countries should accept: equality, human rights, and the freedom to love whoever you choose.
After class, we went on a photo tour of the Raval Neighborhood. This neighborhood is known for its eclectic mix of people.
Unfortunately, the weather decided to downpour halfway through our tour. BUT, to avoid the rain, we ducked into a ridiculously amazing tapas place called Orio (not my pic bc too busy eating LOL).
The rain cleared up eventually and we visited La Boqueria and the Barcelona Cathedral. Every food market I’ve been to, such as the Saint Lawrence one in Toronto or Redding Terminal in Philadelphia has been put to SHAME by the Boqueria.