Interview With Diego Bravo – KYLIE WILBUR
8 diciembre, 2013
Diego Bravo is a 46 year-old teacher in UEM, which is a Spanish University, located in Madrid. He had worked in P&G an American based global company, and now basically he teaches in the faculty of Arts and Communications, and he is the teacher of the course “Consumer Behavior” one the classes that I take, here in Madrid. Briefly he is, a synthesis of Europe and North America, a good cultural mix between these two completely different origins. So let me tell his story of his life and work experiences based on cultural issues. A story consisting a life within two continents…
When I first heard about the interview assignment, I had thought of many people in my mind that I could do this interview with. But none of them were interesting for me as Diego was. Because, he lived his life in two different continents and in two different cultures. Also these two countries are not similar to each other, so speaking with him made me understand both cultures, differences between them and how can a person handle both cultures.
“I was born in Canada and lived there until I was 21… since than I basically lived in Spain… I hold both nationalities and both passports” answers Diego to my question, “Where are you from?”. So he defines himself with both origins, Canadian and Spanish. His family actually immigrated to Canada in search of having better life conditions, so they located themselves in Montreal. As Diego was born in Montreal he didn’t had many struggles to overcome when he was little, because he was used to Canadian culture. His family is basically Spanish but he was most likely an average Canadian child at the time. When he decided to come to Spain, he was 21. So he actually got raised with a different culture comparing to European culture. And of course the difference cultural issues had him to face some struggles. “I’m still in the middle, I’m totally in the middle, I used to come here for vacations for three months and when I came to live here it was totally different” this is the sentence that Diego uses trying to explain how mixed up he was when he first came to Spain. He was raised with other cultural aspects and suddenly he found himself in another world, in where everything was working in a complete different way. ” I came from this is 1988, Canada was democratized, liberalized, socialized country. And Spain in 1988 was much more different, a totally different country. Now it’s more similar what Canada is now.” His own words where we understand the huge difference between those countries back at that time. But still Diego positions himself in somewhere different comparing to regular Spanish people. He explains these cultural and daily life differences by telling small details, which are not “a big issue” most of the time. But they become weird and very different when lived everyday. These examples are most like, experiences in a library, university campus life, relationship between teachers and students… “For example, when I started my masters degree in the university, it was rude to eat in class… But people here would smoke! You were allowed to smoke in class but eating was considered rude! But in Canada it’s for sure not… I don’t think it’s rude at all.”
During our interview what Diego repeated many times that Spain and Europe in general started to look more like North American countries and the cultural differences are becoming less clear in nowadays. Of course there are still huge differences in the sense of mentality, the way of living, eating and many other things like these but back at that time the whole world was more local in it. He personally doesn’t criticize globalization issue but he thinks that world had much more sense back in those days. A little nostalgic way of thinking you may say, but he defines this transformation as loosing its own characteristics. “Spain over the last twenty years has unfortunately this tradition of importing many of the worst things from abroad. Like this two party system that they bring in from the US, like the hypermarkets from France, like the world of the suburbs that they bring in from North America… In terms of westernization and globalization many countries are starting to loose defining elements of their characteristics!”
Diego Bravo, an inspiring teacher that I had the chance of meeting in Madrid, lived in both cultures and who’s still in the middle, made me understand clearly the cultural differences between countries. It’s nice to know these kinds of people at some point in our lives, to learn and listen their experiences for our own lives.