What is privilege?
It’s simple. It’s a benefit of one person enjoyed beyond the advantages of most. There are many kinds of privileges in the world. Whether its based on skin color or how much money you have — people in certain categories: white or rich — tend to benefit over others in the world we live in.
But I’m here to bring you another one: the privilege of being a native English speaker.
I’ve come to Spain to work. I’ve chosen one of the most economically unstable countries a part of the European Union to live and to work while creating a little more stability for myself in my own life. I have, however, caused somewhat of a stir. But, hey, not just me — all native speakers who come to Spain to teach English.
Let’s look at it this way: Spain’s youth unemployment rate is over 50%. I’m 25 years old and have come to this country and while only working part time I’m still working more than most people here. I’m “taking” jobs from teachers who have studied English and who could also be doing what I do. However, the value of a native English Teacher outweighs that of simply having a degree.
So, should I feel bad? Should I feel guilty for taking jobs from a struggling country? Or should I be proud of having this opportunity to use the simple gift that I was born into an English speaking country to live wherever I choose?
It’s hard to decide when several of my friends have been laid off work recently and I’m slowly gaining more hours. I’m benefiting from the lack of stability in their government. I’m benefiting because they realize they have to leave to earn a living. They have to learn English or German in order to find work outside of this country. They have to come to me.
It’s a balance of feeling guilty and feeling lucky to have this chance. To appreciate my privilege of being a native English speaker and using this 100% to my advantage to live around the world. To educate the youth. To bridge gaps between languages and cultures. To educate myself on other people and ways of life.
I try to make the most of what I have been given — and I want to use that to share with others. If not to share my gifts (whether its being a native speaker or writing or photography), why am I here?