Daniel. Bogota, Colombia. 28 years old.
Who are you?
A Colombian boy. I was born in Bogota in 1989. I’m a proud colombian, very proud of my country. I sometimes change my vocabulary when working but I always wear this bracelet my mom gave me, to remember where I come from. I’m an open person, willing to change. I didn’t think I was so risky but moving to another country for a woman, it is, isn’t it?
It is… but in the end it’s something you do or you don’t. It’s betting on something, isn’t it?
Yeah… and in the end, we are young. I always thought there’s somebody waiting for you at home. If something goes wrong here, I can always go back. But at the moment I’m fine here.
When did you arrive in Barcelona?
I arrived on the last week of September, 2015. I don’t remember the exact date. I travelled from Bogota directly to Barcelona.
How is it you came here?
I came to Barcelona because I wanted to do a masters. I had 3 year experience in Bogotá and I thought it was time to do a master, a MBA in this case. I found this University in Barcelona which met all my requirements in terms of price, academic level and I also wanted to come to Barcelona for all the things I had heard about it. So the reason I found to come here was studying a master.
In which other countries have you lived before living in Barcelona?
I am 28 years old. I’ve been living in Barcelona for two years. 26 years I lived in Colombia and when I was 17 I lived in Canada for six months. In my last year in high school, I lived in Canada, in a province called Nova Scotia. I went there to learn English.
woow, so Cool!
Yeah, but very cold.
I’m a proud colombian, very proud of my country.
I sometimes change my vocabulary when working but I always wear this bracelet my mom gave me, to remember where I come from
You never thought about going to Canada for doing your master?
No, I had never been to Europe so I was very curious and I want to know about Europe. I had also travelled to a few countries in South America so I thought Europe was my next stop.
And why are you still here now?
I finished my master and I was charmed by the city. It’s got everything: mountain, sea… There’s always something to do in the city. Also, the main reason I decided to stay in Barcelona was my girlfriend. I met her in the university during the master. The first plan was always studying for one year and going back home, but the plan changed. I met Valesca and we planned to stay. She’s not from here either, she’s from Germany, and both we both decided to give it a try to see if it works. It’s been working up to now.
What do you do?
I currently work in an energy marketer company. I do a little bit of everything. I was mainly in sales department and I am now also in finance department. It’s a small company that is growing so we all do a little bit of everything. But I mainly do sales and finance.
What do you like the most about Barcelona and what do you feel it offers to you?
About Barcelona I like all the things it’s got to offer. It’s not a city in which you get bored. I don’t normally go out every day but if I wanted to go out on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday… I think there’s always something to do. It’s a city that has a very important cultural live, very alive, very important.There’s always something to do, there’s always a market, there’s always an artist, there’s always a museum to go to.
I also like the sea. I’m from Bogota. Bogota is in the center of Colombia, so it’s not a city next to the sea. I had never lived next to the sea and I like the sea. And I like its streets. Barcelona is a beautiful city architecturally speaking, also the security, the peace of the city. It’s a big city but it also allows you to move around very easily. You’re half hour away by bike from any neighborhood. The metro works very well
It’s well connected.
Yes, it’s very well connected.
What do you miss in Barcelona? Is there anything in the city that you find it’s missing?
The only thing I miss here in the end is my friends, my family… they are in Colombia. I’m happy living here, I have friends, I have my girlfriend. But still, after two years living here, I can’t call it my home yet. My family and my everything is in Bogota. That’s what I’m missing the most. The city is incredible but the people I grew up with are in Bogota. Besides that, I don’t know if it has everything but it’s a city that it has almost everything.
What is it you don’t like about Barcelona?
There’s not really much. There’s always the image that the catalans are very close and distant people. If you compare with the people from the south it may be, but you only need to get to know them. When catalans open their doors to you, they are open forever. No, there’s not really anything I don’t like.
Well, I’m not the best person for talking about politics, but I don’t understand the politics here.
Do you feel integrated here?
When I started the master, we were all foreigners. Meeting new people, here and everywhere, there must be a reason for talking to someone, you know? So the main place where I met most of the people I know nowadays was in the masters, and we were all foreigners: latin americans, europeans and from other cities in Spain. ut nowadays I know more catalan people, also the people I work with. I’ve been working there for a year, I have a good relationship with them, they are people I can go out with on the weekends. They became my friends. In the end, when you work with somebody for 8 hours 5 days a week, in the end they become your friends. And most of them, although the company is German, most of my colleagues are catalan. Also, I live in Gracia. I don’t know if I’m integrated in the neighborhood’s life but I feel very integrated here. I like the neighborhood, I know it perfectly, I like the places here, I have “my bar”...
Do you think you’ll go back?
I don’t know. Both my partner and myself, we are foreigners and we don’t come from the same country. We live in a country that is not ours and each of us have a different country of origin. I don’t know. I don’t know the answer yet. I think I prefer not thinking about it. At some point I would like to go back home, to see my parents growing old… But it all depends on many things… my partner may want the same for herself.
What diferences between your city and Barcelona?
Bogota is a huge city, it’s got 8M people. I was telling you before that it’s very easy to move around in Barcelona by bike. In Bogota that’s very difficult. There're many differences. It’s not a secret that Europe is more developed than South America, the public transport is better here.. but I think that all this will arrive to Colombia, it’s only taking longer. Something I do think it’s better here is distribution of wealth. In Colombia, the rich is very rich and the poor is very poor.
Here we are all medium poor. We are poor but we look rich, don’t we?
Yeah, haha (laughs) we dress well haha.
But here most of the people have a decent life. Of course there’re areas. But Bogota is a very big city, with many mini cities, it’s unfair and unequal. But it’s my home.
About security, do you think it’s something that makes you also reconsider staying here or feeling more comfortable here?
Yes. As it’s a big city, it’s very unequal. The poor is very poor. There’s always the temptation. I’m not excusing stealing from others but when there’s people that have nothing and others that have so much, this happens. Security here is incredible. You can go on the street at 3 am, talking on the phone, and nothing happens. I can leave a 20 € bill on the table here and nothing happens. In Bogota, if we were in this same terrace, first, the terrace would be surrounded by a fence, and at the entrance there’d be a security guy with a gun. There’s always a security guy watching the entrance to bars, cafés, restaurants…
Barcelona is a city that you feel very relaxed wherever you are. It’s the city in the world where I’ve felt more secure. I once got lost in Brussels and ended up in a neighborhood where I wasn’t feeling completely well… The same with Paris. In Barcelona I’ve never felt insecure. I might be getting too much used to it.
What’s your favorite place in Barcelona?
I don’t know if it’s my favorite place as I never have favorites, but I like this square very much, Plaça del Sol (Sol Square). I’ve been living in Gracia for a year and in the summer I saw this place, it had a lot of life, drinking talking. Something that shocked me is that everybody were sharing the same space but also respecting the others. Everybody was cleaning up their stuff before leaving, even smokers were collecting their butts and throwing them away after smoking. I liked that it seemed to everybody’s but nobody’s place. I liked that. The people with the guitars, drinking and playing until 11pm when the police arrived. But when the police arrived everybody left very quietly, very respectfully. Like “ok, it’s done. The neighbors want to sleep, we get that”. It’s also very near my place. I like coming here for a coffee and watch people pass by. You can go to those chairs over there, read a book… there’s always musing in the back…
Do you normally come here to read?
Less in winter, as I prefer walking because it’s cold. But in the summer, I could do that.
Something that shocked you, something you had to learn?
I’m learning to live with seasons. I start noticing how people’s mood change, the city…
How do you feel it?
It’s interesting, the season changes, the hours of daylight also change but, it’s different, people’s mood changes, there’s more energy, there’s more people outdoors in the summer. In the summer, when it’s daylight until 10pm… you want to go to sleep but you think “it’s sunny! I have to do something!”
What’s your favorite season now you’re living them?
I’m more of a warm weather person. I like summer, but Spring is also magic. Those May days when it’s still sunny from 6 to 7, it’s hot but not as hot as in August… The end of Spring and the beginning of Summer it’s something magic.