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Class Of 2012: Young Europeans Trapped By Language

Ricardo de Campano learned the hard way how critical it is to have a wide set of language skills when he left London for Berlin two years ago. The 34-year-old said he quickly found work as a special needs teacher in London with the English he'd learned at school, but the same wasn't true when he came to Germany.

"If you want to have a decent job and be part of the system, pay your taxes and have your health insurance, you need to have German," said De Campano, who is now studying the language of Goethe at an adult education college where Spaniards have come to make up the biggest single group of students in recent years.

But despite the boom in German language teaching seen also in Spain itself, the number of Spaniards coming to Germany remains modest. According to figures provided by the Federal Employment Agency, less than 5,000 Spaniards have taken up jobs in Germany over the past year â¿¿ a tiny fraction of the 4.7 million jobless in Spain.

Class of 2012 participant Rafael Gonzalez del Castillo speaks German and could work in Germany. He picked up the language on a student exchange program in the southern town of Darmstadt and lived with German flat-mates in Madrid. But, in perhaps an alarming sign for Europe, he sees more opportunity and cultural affinity in booming Latin America â¿¿ and has started to learn Portuguese so he can see work in Brazil.

It's part of a rising trend in Spaniards departing for former European colonies in Latin America, meaning that Europe is losing much of its top-level talent to emerging economies.

"I see Brazil as a country that's going to grow so much in these years," said Gonzalez del Castillo, "And I feel close to them because we are Latin people, and our language is similar."

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