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Have guitar, will travel
When Rafael Calvo Díaz took a break from his regular job, he never imagined ending up 2 700 km north-east of his home in Gijón, Spain. Today he teaches classical guitar in Estonia, thanks partly to the CV-checking skills of an Estonian EURES Adviser.
Until last summer, this young man’s life was anchored in Asturias in northern Spain. He spent 10 years studying classical guitar in Gijón and Oviedo. Armed with a bachelor’s degree in history and a postgraduate teaching qualification, he then taught in his home city for eight years. Mornings were devoted to teaching philosophy, history and music at a secondary school, while afternoons were spent at a music academy, instructing students of the Spanish guitar.
So why choose a far-off European country? “I love my work in Spain, but wanted to see how people live and work abroad,” says Rafael. After getting permission from his employer to take a year’s sabbatical, he pondered his options.
Prompted by an interest in Baltic history, he contacted the EURES team in Estonia to see if they had vacancies for Spanish language or guitar teachers. Marite Uibo, a EURES Adviser in the town of Valga, saw his CV. She realised he might fare better in Estonia by focusing on the music side of his teaching skills.
Fast track to Tallinn
In early July 2012, Marite called back with good news. The Estonian Guitar Society had an urgent vacancy to fill. By the end of August, after a series of e-mails and calls, Rafael was flying to the capital, Tallinn.
His guitar teaching schedule is divided between two music academies: Tallinn’s Vanalinna Hariduskolleegium and the Toila Muusika-ja Kunstikool, some 150 km east of the Estonian capital.
“I’m happy to be in Estonia,” he says. “My salary is lower than in Spain, but I can manage with the two jobs. Culture here is different from Spain’s, but I’m learning a few Estonian words and music is an international language!”
Rafael says he found an apartment and got an Estonian ID card with the assistance of Julia Kahro-Reinman, President of the Estonian Guitar Society. She said of his appointment: “Estonia has a shortage of qualified guitar teachers, so we were delighted to find Rafael, a genuine Spaniard, to teach classical Spanish guitar to our students.”
Rafael hopes to learn Estonian, if he stays in Tallinn for more than one year. Another option is to teach Spanish as a foreign language in Estonia, complementing his guitar lessons.
Meanwhile, he is also finishing a Master’s degree in economics and political science, awarded by UNED (Spanish Open University). “It focuses on the EU. My aim is to present the final project in Madrid in July 2013.”
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