Multiculture, Profiles

Jaime Díaz: The barrier of language, the triumph of perseverance.

This Spaniard, who arrived in Scotland with scarcely any English, had seven jobs in the first four months. He now lives in Argentina and is presenting a play.


María Marzo

“I never thought that my ideas and personal values could be changed so much in less than  a year”. This is how the   22 year old actor from Madrid sums up his stay in Glasgow, where he arrived from Madrid.

The aim of Jaime Díaz García was to learn English and thereby increase the chances of improving his career.

The difficulties that he went through, principally in the first weeks following his arrival,  and the relationships that he established with people of different nationalities, were  what made so many of his long held ideas change.

“I realised that I had many prejudices and that, of course, these were wrong. I met people of all nationalities and have established an excellent relationship with all of them”, explains the young man.

In Diaz’s opinion, it is only when you find yourself needing to adjust to a completely different environment, without your family or friends, and go through complicated situations, that you realise that you are the equal of any of those around you, and you open yourself to them.

When asked about the problems that he found in the Scottish city, the actor answers with another question: “Are you sure you have time? There were so many that if I start, I may never finish.”

In reality, he had several difficulties. For example, he had problems inopening a bank account because of not having a job in renting accommodation for the same reason, and in  finding a job because of the language barrier. “I found myself trapped in a vicious circle that I couldn’t break out of”, he explains.

He arrived in Glasgow on 1st February last year. He made the trip with a female friend that he had studied dramatic art with in Madrid.

Economic factors and the fact that some friends of his parents  had established themselves  in the Scottish city, made  Díaz opt for Glasgow: “It seemed a cheaper and more suitable city than, for example, London. Furthermore, the fact that I had someone there who could help me was an incentive”, he explains.

A hostel was the first accommodation for this young man from Madrid and his friend. However, after four days, both decided to move to a hotel. While they were there, the search for an apartment became their main objective, which they managed  three days later, although only temporarily.

“It was very cheap: £40 a week, but it was a flat with two rooms and there were seven people living there in total.

In the room where me and my friend where staying, there were two other guys as well”, he recalls. “We were desperate. We couldn’t spend much more money on hotels, we didn’t know where we were and we were freezing to death”,  Díaz tells us.

A week later, he was successful in finding and moving into what would become his flat for almost a year  in Glasgow. They rented it through an agency, after first being asked for numerous documents. In the end the friends of his parents  living in the city acted as guarantors. It was an exhausting process.

The next objective was to find work. He worked one day, without desiring or planning it, as a door to door promoter for an energy company.

Later he was a waiter in a pavilion set up for spectators during a horse race in the borough of Ayr. However his boss saw him chatting with a customer who  turned out to be a duchess, and fired him.

Subsequently  he was a barman in a nightclub, but this only lasted 4 days because his level of English meant he lost the job. He took his bicycle and returned home in tears.

A few days later, and after another failed attempt, he found a restaurant where he was again sacked because of his bad English.

A café was his  next destination, and this time the person responsible for his sacking tried to have sexual relations with him: “He asked me to go the storage room to get something or other, I can’t remember what. When I was there, he came in and tried to touch me. I refused, and he subsequently told me to get out and never come back”, he explains.

Finally, at the end of June, Díaz found a video game company where he remained until the day that he left the United Kingdom. “It was the happiest time of my life in Glasgow.  I learned a lot from my workmates and not only things related to the job, but also concerning new cultures and ideologies. It enriched me as a person a great deal”, he indicates.

In December, with his main objective achieved, that of speaking English, he decided to move to Argentina to continue his training and to try to find employment as an actor.

Today he can be found in Buenos Aires and on 16th July he is starring in a theatre production in which he plays two characters.

Over there everything is going well, but he won’t forget the time spent in Glasgow, as it was there he learned to test and push himself, to be aware that he could do whatever he  set his mind to and above all, that he needed to act.

(Translated by Tim Huntington)

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