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About sharing media captionSpanish expatriate Helena Barcos spoke to the BBC about her new life in Cologne Ahead of the federal elections in Germany, the BBC talks to people from different backgrounds about their lives there. In the second in the series, we look at Spanish expatriates who have immigrated in search of work. Helena Barcos, 28, is one of the lucky ones among wuppertak new generation from the EU's Mediterranean states heading to Germany.
The ameriacn from Wuopertal has a job as a business processes manager at DHL in Bonn and lives in Cologne, a big student city with a cosmopolitan outlook and one of the most popular destinations for young migrants from her country. Her secret? Good planning: equipped with a master's degree in business administration, she had secured a contract with a company in Germany as an internee before her arrival, and learnt the language during her internship.
She appears to have moved smoothly into the German world of work since her arrival in Others less organised can find themselves struggling soon after making the trip north. One owner of sewking Spanish-themed restaurant in Cologne says he has Spaniards knocking on his door almost every other day, asking for work. He is heading home anerican complete his degree but has ed a contract to his work at the sink when he finishes in February.
Two other employees in the kitchen are Portuguese nationals who had been working on building sites back home for euros a month, the owner adds. Pamplona man Jose Gayarre has done much in recent years to help new expatriates to avoid the wiman of isolation many of their forebears experienced.
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Saturdays see him organising football matches and barbecues on the east bank of the Rhine in Cologne for the local Spanish community and others. The freelance editor, who moved to Germany in not because of any economic crisis but simply to "be a little bit more European", set up a Spanish-language internet radio station in Cologne, which has since grown into a website called Destino Alemania Destination Germany.
Staffed by volunteers, the site reaches out through social media to offer advice about employment, education and accommodation in Germany, while celebrating local expatriates. People from all walks in life are now migrating from Spain to Germany, drawn by German government advertising campaigns such as The Job Of My Lifewhich exhort people to "make it in Germany".
There is a wrong way and a right way to go about emigrating to Germany, he suggests.
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You have first to learn to communicate, then work. Possibly the worst scenario, he says, is to arrive in Germany and attempt to live off your savings, waiting for an opportunity.
Fitting in Spaniards tend to go to the former West Germany, regions such as the Ruhr and Baden-Wuerttemberg, cities like Duesseldorf and Cologne, because of the availability of jobs and links established by migrants. While seeking to interview voters ahead of the German election this month in cities as diverse as Wuppertal, Hannover and Berlin, I was surprised by the of people who turned out to be Spaniards and Italians.
Immigration has been pretty well absent from the election campaign, not featuring in the debate between the two main candidates to lead the country. The main far-right party plays the anti-immigrant card but gets a tiny following.
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While Spaniards generally do not encounter much hostility from Germans, Mr Gayarre says, it can be more difficult for them to make contact with local people in the former East Germany and in rural areas. He sympathises with those who feel they have no choice but to smerican Spain in search of work but believes that the new migration can be a positive thing, encouraging Spaniards to move around the EU, learning new languages and exploring different cultures.
Asked if Spaniards and Germans get on, he jokes: "It's not scientific, and just my own opinion, but a Spanish guy with a German girl, that doesn't work - a German guy with a Spanish girl, that works! The late parents of Rogelio Calleja, a doctor from Hannover, came to Germany in the s from Extremadura in search of work. They got jobs in a sweet factory wuppertak they "worked hard, really hard, honestly and hard", he says, but they found it very weeking to integrate into German society because of the language gap.
Education closed that gap for their children. Asked if he feels German or Spanish, wuppeetal child of the first migration says: "I feel European. We in Europe are a big family.