From unpaid intern to head of media
Angel Lopez, 26, is one of them. The Alicante native arrived in Lima, Peru, in March, 2012, and went from an unpaid internship at Spain’s former Canal 9 TV station to a job as the head of media for a large educational company in Peru two years later. He’s now a regular fixture in televised debates, and frequently tours Peru as a keynote speaker on issues related to advertising and marketing.
“I left Spain earlier than many people of my generation, but I was working in a…television station that everyone knew was closing, I had almost completed my studies, and I thought, if I stay, I’ll be lucky to be a paid intern or trainee at 30,” he said.
It took Lopez a few months to adapt to a different culture, but the common language helped and Lopez said his life has “turned around 360 degrees in terms of opportunities and professional growth.”
Both family and friends were initially leery of the move. Lopez said there was “widespread ignorance” in Spain of what Peru was really like several years ago, with plenty of Spaniards viewing the country as a simple place of “mountains, traditional costumes and tacky TV shows.” He believes that vision has changed dramatically as the number of Spaniards in the country increases.
“If a few years ago we numbered in the hundreds, now there are thousands like me, and there are many Spanish companies bringing their business to Peru every day,” Lopez said.
That could be in part because Peru, and other parts of Latin America, sits squarely on an upward growth curve. While the International Monetary Fund projects Spain’s economy to grow in 2014 at 1.2%, it predicts Peru’s economy will grow at 5.5% , Mexico’s at 3%, Chile’s at 3.6% and Panama’s at 7.2%. Toss in a lower cost of living and the opportunity to leapfrog up the corporate ladder, and the attraction for Spaniards is even clearer.