Barcelona (ACN). The economic crisis seems to be the end of opportunity, the end of jobs, and the end of optimism. But not all is what it seems. There are motivated people out there who still find ways to achieve their dreams, to reach their goals. Jiajia Wang is an example of this. She arrived from China at the age of 8, and now, aged 23 has her own publishing house in Barcelona and has prepared an unprecedented project in Catalonia: the first Chinese Summer Camp for children and teenagers. It is taking take place in June in Prades, near Reus and Tarragona. It will be organised by English Summer S.A., a company that has been organising English summer camps in Catalonia for 30 years.
At the age of 8, Jiajia came with her family to Catalonia, and they opened a restaurant on the Costa Brava. She studied Economics at the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, and gained a €35.000 scholarship to study for one year at Harvard University. When she finished university, the multinational Deloitte offered her a stable job. She refused it. It was not what she wanted to do with her life. Nowadays she is a young entrepreneur: she has her own publishing house in Barcelona (JiaJia Ediciones), and she sells books for Spaniards who want to study Chinese.
When she came to Catalonia with her family there was no economic crisis. In 1997, Spain and Catalonia seemed to be a limitless growing economy. A lot of migrants were arriving from everywhere, due to all the job opportunities available. The Wang family was looking for a hopeful future for JiaJia and her brother, and so they opened a restaurant, “like all Chinese people do in Spain”, says JiaJia with a smile on her face. Before going to university, her life was organised around studying and working in the restaurant. When she finished secondary school, she decided to study something related to Humanities. Her parents said “no”, because they wanted her to do something “with a future”. That’s why she chose Economics at the Pompeu Fabra University, one of the most prestigious universities in Spain.
For her and her parents education is the most important to climb the ladder. When she refused the job at Deloitte, she couldn’t say so to her parents. She knew they wouldn’t allow her to do that so she tricked them. They thought that she was working for a big multinational company when in fact she was starting up her own business. To earn money, she taught Chinese for adopted Chinese girls, and was hired by the Pompeu Fabra University as an assistant teacher. “I don’t want a straight road, I want to spin”, she says. When her parents found out what was she doing with her life, they felt betrayed. Despite the fact that she had won an award for entrepreneurship from the Banc Sabadell and Pompeu Fabra University, in recognition of her publishing house JiaJia Ediciones.
The next project is the Chinese Summer Camp. With the economic support of English Summer SA, Jiajia is running a camp for kids and teenagers in Catalonia where the main language is Chinese. It is an international summer camp, and kids from all over Europe (and the rest of the world) are welcome. According to Felipe Fleix, owner of English Summer, “this is not a short term project”. As he says, the Chinese Summer Camp “is something that will give us benefits in the future”. The camp is taking place at Prades (on the mountains of Tarragona coast) from June 24th to July 6th and is aimed at kids between 5 and 14 years old. The price is €1,250, similar to English summer camps of the same company. The website (www.englishsummer.com) offers all further information.