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The Tower of Babel

Youth and young seem to be pretty inclusive words in Spain. When the TV news talks about the difficulties facing young people buying a first home they are talking about anyone under 35 not just teenagers. That in mind I wasn't too concerned about going to the Espacio Joven - the Young Space - to ask about language exchanges. A couple of people had told me that the "youth place" people were the organisers of a language exchange programme.

Espacio Joven was a busy office; there were lots of twenty somethings looking at notice boards full of information about jobs, flats to rent, courses and things for sale. I presume that Espacio Joven offers services and information to young people but it wasn't obvious what or how. I'm sure they will have an impenetrable website somewhere that explains it all in extremely long words!

As usual there was absolutely no indication of where to go or who to talk to - no enquiries desk, no notices explaining what any of the 10 to 15 people sitting in front of computers were responsible for. I chose the desk with a small queue - no queue jumping for we Brits. It seemed like a good choice, the two women who dealt with me knew what I was talking about and entered my name etc. on their computer. When they finally printed out the form and asked me to sign it I realised it was simply to register that I had made an enquiry - it was a monitoring form. Thoughts of my old work with Community Education drifted through my mind.

The woman who dealt with the Bolsa de Idiomas (Bi) was at a desk tucked around a corner. She was very informative though she never offered to speak to me in other than in Spanish. It's all done by email from the protocols for the meetings and how to deal with the contacts to the social and cultural events that the Bi organises under the Tower of Babel banner. It all sounded like a good idea and a good service for young people - education in its broader sense. I filled in more forms for Maggie and me. Now we just wait.

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