'Find a job before you come to Spain'

George Mills
George Mills - [email protected] • 1 Jul, 2014 Updated Tue 1 Jul 2014 13:05 CEST
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What's it like swapping a career in Germany for a job on the holiday isle of Majorca? The Local's George Mills spoke to Alexandra Wilms at the German-language newspaper Mallorca Zeitung to find out.


How did you end up working in Majorca?

It was love! I came here in 2001 and did an internship on another German newspaper, and that's when I met my partner. Then I came back in 2004 after I finished my studies in political science, sociology and media. 

And what section of the Majorca Zeitung are you working on at present?

I'm with the society section which means I work on parties, and cover local resorts and tourism.

Is it all Germans in the office?

No. We have a mixture of people. The journalists are all German but the layout people and photographers are Spanish.

Do you need to be able to speak Catalan as well, given that you are in the Balearic Islands?

Spanish is absolutely essential, but Catalan is not necessary. On the other hand, I can speak Catalan and it's really really helpful: it opens a lot of doors.

Would you say working life is easier in Majorca than in Germany?

That's hard for me to say because I haven't worked on newspapers in Germany. But journalism is definitely not a nine-to-five job. You just have to finish what you are doing.

Some of my colleagues have come from daily papers in Germany are that's obviously a different sort of pace from a weekly.

But mostly they say that working in Spain means working in different way.

For example, you definitely have to plan ahead. Recently we tried to visit a historic building. We wanted to visit on the same day we got in touch with the people, but I knew what the answer would be — that we would need more time.

But if you know this in advance, you can work within the system.

What else is different about Majorca?

Well the salary is lower, but you definitely have a higher quality of life. Even if you have to work until 7pm, you can go to the beach after work. And on the weekend, you are here in Majorca.

I love the island and the people.  

Do you feel you are part of the rest of Spain?

I think Majorca is a world unto itself. Spain can feel very far away. You have your foreigner ghettos, and you have your people speaking Catalan. And Majorcan society can be a little closed, in the way that islands are.

Is there any tension between people from Majorca and foreigners?

Majorcans can distinguish between people who live here and people who have come for a party holiday. No 'normal' Majorcans would go to (the party area of) Magalouf though. That's like a parellel universe.

A lot of Germans here try to explain to locals how they should live, but I think it's important to remember we are guests here.

Do you have any plans to go back to Germany?

No, although my career options may be limited as we only have two German-language papers on the island, and you can't find work on Spanish papers. That's not something I would do anyway, as I think you should do this sort of work in your native language.

On the other hand, there are benefits to working on a local paper in a place like Majorca. You get to interview famous people you might not otherwise have to the chance to. I've spoken to (TV presenter) Thomas Gottschalk, for example, and to Kerry Kennedy, daughter of US-Senator Robert F. Kennedy. 

I've also interviewed former German Vice Chancellor Guido Westerwelle.

And what would your main advice be to someone wanting to work in Spain?

Learn the language! Not everyone speaks German here. And I would also tell people to find a job before they came out. It took me a long time to find the work I have now. 



George Mills 2014/07/01 13:05

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