Design and crafts at Palo Alto Market
After a year of pandemic, the festival returns to Barcelona stronger and more confident than ever. A must-attend event for lovers of design, innovation and craftsmanship.
What is Palo Market Fest?
The former Gal i Puigsech factory, in the middle of the industrial neighbourhood of Poblenou, has become a space of creative reference thanks to the Fundació Palo Alto, which has turned this venue into a cluster of artistic and cultural creation businesses. In addition, for some years now the venue has hosted the Palo Market Fest, which traditionally takes place on the first weekend of the month and, following the dynamics of the space, hosts a very special event where there is no shortage of brands of all kinds, culinary proposals from all over the world and live music to liven up the day.
The cradle of trends
Seven years after its creation, it has established itself as a reference market, both for locals and visitors, and currently has more than 30 design exhibitors for all tastes: jewellery, art, second-hand clothes, vintage, sustainable or accessories, in a selection of proposals for all sexes and ages. The wide range of artisan brands offers original and exclusive products that make the Market a unique experience.
Fourteen premium companies close the line-up with the most innovative proposals on the market, where emerging talent, design and functionality meet to create sustainable, quality products where less is always more.
The 3Ms of Palo Alto: eating, music and fashion
Live music fills every corner with the “Street music experience“, which livens up the day from different stages.
And also in terms of food, the Market has become the reference venue for the food-truck sector in the city. They manage to bring together all kinds of culinary and multicultural proposals, without forgetting healthy and vegetarian food.
Limited capacity and pre-sale tickets
This weekend is the last summer edition of the festival, which due to the pandemic restrictions is divided into two shifts: from 13:00 h to 18:00 h and from 18:30 h to 23:00 h, with a maximum capacity of 950 people. Admission costs €5 and can be purchased exclusively through the VERSE application. Children under the age of twelve and people with reduced mobility or disabilities and their companions will be admitted free of charge.
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The term “single” refers to all single, separated, divorced or widowed people, regardless of whether they have children or not, who live alone and do not have a partner.
This article does not pretend to be exhaustive; we just want to offer different options, traditional or innovative, that can serve all those single people who have to plan their holidays this year.
Holidays with children
There are plenty of holiday offers for singles with children to choose from: camping, holiday camps, trips -more or less organised, more or less conventional, closer or more exotic-, unorganised stays in rural accommodation, campsites, hotels… The list is endless.
Given that with children it is very easy for them to be the only ones who end up enjoying their holidays, holiday camp-type solutions are always a good resource and in our house we know a lot about this.
There are educational leisure activities, such as Eix Estels, with relaxation and fitness activities, such as yoga, zip line, elliptical bikes, strong by fitness, acrobatic park on the trees, aqua gym, via ferrata, mindfulness, zumba, archery, climbing wall…
If what keeps us awake at night is taking care of our diet, we can opt for Fundesplai, with menus based on the Mediterranean diet, healthy cuisine and types of diets that take into account allergies and intolerances. They also offer activities for children, such as orienteering races, Olympics, “little scientists”, aquatic gymkhana… Activities for mothers and fathers, for example, aqua gym, natur-yoga, wine and sausage tasting, cultural visits … And joint activities such as adventure park, archery, climbing wall, vegetarian cooking workshop, paddle-surfing, kayaking …
We can also find some that promote self-knowledge, creativity and emotional balance, such as Lleuredosmil. As for activities, we can enjoy the so-called “family wellness activities”, which would be family yoga, forest baths (shinrin yoku), mindfulness as a family, workshops in nature, laughter therapy, etc.
Beyond the option of holiday camps, we can find companies specialising in trips and leisure activities exclusively for single-parent families, such as Op & Kids, which also operate beyond our country and which promote and encourage traditional, cultural and natural activities.
There are also specialised travel agencies, or others that have already incorporated the single-parent modality into their portfolio of services.
Singles’ holidays without children
If we are single and without children, or if we are on holiday and the children stay with someone else, we find ourselves in a much less restrictive situation, which offers an even wider range of alternatives.
If we are in favour of not resorting to anything organised, we can always create our own singles group and plan activities of all kinds, where the only limit will be our imagination.
Here we could consider trips with a high content of adventure, where we only have to establish one or more destinations -or a specific itinerary-, dates, and a luggage and expenses plan, while the rest can be left to the adventure.
It is even necessary not to rule out the brave option of setting off on a solo trip, more or less planned, along itineraries or places we have not yet explored, where, in addition to discovering unknown places, we will surely end up meeting more people than we thought we would, because, often, what makes a difference is usually a mere question of having the right attitude.
If these alternatives make us feel a bit lazy, on the Internet we can find many singles groups dedicated to all kinds of activities: cultural, sporting, leisure, etc.
For example, we can find cultural and nature trips at the Centre Europeu de Barcelona, a cultural centre specialising in trips for singles and committed to sustainable tourism.
We should not forget the more traditional organised options, which offer everything from conventional trips to cruises and all kinds of routes.
If it doesn’t matter, then… Let’s be original!
In this section, we propose ideas for singles holidays that can be taken with or without children.
The option of travelling in a caravan or motorhome gives you a lot of freedom, autonomy and flexibility, and you can choose to do it in the company of whomever you want. On the other hand, it is important to be aware of all the logistical and legal details: supply, routes, time availability, weather, camping or parking facilities and requirements, etc.
Hiking or mountain biking are also popular options these days. In addition to the obligatory requirement of being in a good physical shape, this alternative requires careful initial planning of logistics and catering, taking for granted that the trips, even the shortest, involve a few days outdoors and, usually, in sparsely populated or unpopulated areas.
Another interesting option is the so-called nautical charter, which is the activity of renting pleasure boats, with or without a skipper. This alternative allows you to enjoy marine landscapes that are only accessible from the sea, to learn a little about navigation and on-board tasks, and to enjoy a peace and silence that you will hardly find anywhere else. If you are lucky, you will also be able to see cetaceans and swim in waters where perhaps no one has ever been before. It is best to choose a sailing boat; this way, we do not pollute the marine ecosystem, and we also save noise pollution to our ears.
The yacht charter sector is in full evolution, especially in terms of marketing through the Internet. There are companies using tools such as 360° recordings and chatbots, among other innovations.
Whichever option we finally opt for, our recommendation is that it should be people-friendly and environmentally sustainable. And we must not forget possible restrictions and COVID-19 risks depending on the areas and countries of our itinerary.
The emancipation rate stands at twenty-nine years, youth unemployment is around 30%, and 90% of hiring is temporary. This is the context in which thousands of young people must emancipate themselves every year, at risk and without family support. Everything is even more complicated if you emancipate yourself after being a minor under guardianship.
They are young people who have had to leave home in very different circumstances or without parents who can take care of them, either temporarily or for a long time. The emotional burden behind foster children forces them to grow in advance and mature within a society that stigmatizes them and, in the case of foreigners, discriminates against them.
The complexity of the situation is exacerbated when all this has to be experienced during childhood. Ensuring their protection and assistance is a paramount task on a social scale that is often made invisible. We cannot put faces to all the protagonists of these stories, but we will try to provide data that bring us closer to their reality, lived from Catalonia. We spoke with Josep, a foster father, and Joan Carles Martín, the director of services of ASJTET Girona, which is managed by the Suara cooperative.
Catalonia, a pioneer in the support program for ex-foster children
The statistics of the Department of Social Rights of the Generalitat count, as of May 2021, 7,590 minors in terms of protection, of which 334 have arrived this year. Catalonia was a pioneer in recognizing the need for protection for ex-foster children and has legally done so since 2010. The rest of the Autonomous Communities have joined to a greater or lesser extent, but the network that has been created in Catalonia and its geographical position remain a call for foreign minors arriving in the country.
The Generalitat has a large support network for minors under guardianship through the DGAIA, the Directorate General of Child and Adolescent Care, which is responsible for safeguarding the rights of children and ensuring that they are offered opportunities and quality of life. From here derives, among others, the CRAE, the Residential Center for Educational Action, which hosts hundreds of children who do not have access to foster families.
Once the state tutelage is over, Catalonia offers them another resource: the ASJTET, the Support Area for Foster and Ex-Foster Young People, which accompanies them, by means of a network of resources assigned to the entities, in the process of emancipation between the ages of 18 and 21. Professional support to access a home, which may or may not be assisted; academic support to accompany them in training, and employment to gain independence, along with a minimum benefit to which they can access to begin this new stage of emancipation, often forced by context.
Children looking for a future
In the case of Josep, the foster father of an eleven-year-old boy, the process of emancipation is still a long way off. Foster care involves being with the child until the parents recover; therefore, nothing can assure them that they will be together at 18 years old.
It will be the child who decides, in due course, where he wants to live, but no doubt they will want to contribute to his growth: “He is very clear that he does not want to go back with his parents; he tells us that his parents do not have a good quality of life, and he wants quality of life. We have told him that he can come with us and, if he wants to continue studying, we will also help him”.
They are an example of how foster care can mean the birth of a second family that, despite not being of blood, provides the child with an emotional care that he had never had. He and his partner are a part-time collaborating family; therefore, they only see him on weekends and holidays, although they keep in touch during the week and often make video calls or go to see him at football matches.
He tells us that it is 100% emotional support and that, thanks to this experience, the child does much better at school. In fact, on the day of returning to the centre where he spends weekdays, he constantly asks them for the minutes left until the time of leaving and “returning to his raw reality” that still has to accompany him for seven more years.
Three-way emotional charge
“In this world, you can learn in two ways: from well-done things or from badly done things. These young people have learned to do things right because their parents’ guidelines were to do them wrong.” Joan Carles’ words describe the reality of many young ex-foster children. A three-way emotional burden for young people, who suffer from it greatly, but also for foster families and social professionals who are dedicated to helping them and trying to make things easier for them.
They find that the life experiences they drag on tend to be especially harsh on the natives. Unstructured families; poor quality of life; parents with no interest to give their children a dignified life; abuse and rape; and so many other circumstances that make access to guardianship an opportunity for some young people to make progress, and perhaps the only one. Others, though not the majority, will look forward to eighteen years to return with their parents.
An emancipation marked by social stigma
It is suffered by the natives and is aggravated in the case of foreigners. The difficulty of social integration for ex-foster children adds to the personal circumstances and the emotional burden that most carry. “The common feature they all have is that at home they have not been protected or loved”, says Joan Carles. A reality often too complex to live without family support, and where the support from ASJTET and from entities such as Suara becomes vital.
Fortunately, the support network is wide in Catalonia, but the demand is even wider. The mass arrival of young foreigners in recent years has saturated the system and has meant that many natives are not protected if they are not in a very precarious situation. For all of them, social inclusion is key so that they can adapt to society: “This is the wheel that should be broken in a good state of well-being, to ensure that the children of people who have been cared for are not cared for too”. A social task of integration that is often tainted by racism and that has led their lives to be the subject of political campaigns.
Racism, the added difficulty for young immigrants
In Catalonia, the minors who have made the migration process are currently 1,353, 95.9% of whom are boys, and 60.7% are seventeen years old, that is, near the age of emancipation. Guarding these foreign minors means that parents give up their child.
After years of experience, Joan Carles remarks that “you don’t leave your country, your home, on a boat or under a truck, or come to a place where you are alone just because you feel like it.” Many pursue the European dream that offers them an opportunity outside their village, where their destiny is already set. Others do it following family orders of going to work and sending money. Different reasons that describe a harsh reality: thousands of minors risk their lives in search of a future.
He explains that at Suara they find difficulties every day for young foreigners to access jobs or housing, despite having an income, speaking the language, and studying. “We need a society with memory. Many of our grandparents travelled to survive after the postwar period; I don’t know if we are returning what we owe. But we do not lose hope: we are there and will continue to work. It’s a work of architecture, of putting things one on top of the other, so that they can hold on and move on.”
Joining efforts to offer them a dignified life
Josep comments, from his experience, that the reception and everything that surrounds the minors under guardianship is not only an invisible issue but, when it is talked about, one opts more for the morbidity of the situation than for the support and the attention the situation really deserves. “There are many children who cannot find families and, fortunately, in our sector, we are a showcase. Adoption is known, but foster care is not.”
The psychological work for is hard for everybody, but the reward is even greater, and all witnesses agree in this. After all, this is what life is all about: contributing, accepting weaknesses, adding strengths, and letting everyone do their bit in order to build a free and fair society where everyone has a place and, above all, an opportunity, regardless of their origin or experience.
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We are already in the middle of summer and we will start to see and experience traffic jams on Fridays and Sundays, as is customary in our country. Everyone thinks they know the best time to get around, but there are often miles of queues. 11Onze analyses it.
The summer of 2020 was fully marked by the restrictions imposed due to COVID-19. Maybe that’s why this 2021 we are looking forward to leaving. The possibility of taking a plane for a trip, whether domestic or abroad, is already a reality, but even so, the aeronautical experience will still not be the same as before the pandemic.
For this reason, many road trips are expected, like many summers, and consequently long queues. We already had an apéritif for Easter and for the Sant Joan long weekend.
If we pay attention to the information provided by the Catalan Traffic Service, when high mobility is foreseen, as in the case of departure or return operations, special traffic, management, and traffic regulation measures are put in place: additional lanes and lanes in the opposite direction to the usual; inversion of priorities in roundabouts; cancellation of slow or incorporation lanes; or change in the normal operation of the HOV BUS lane.
Still, there are many times that this attempt to improve traffic flow doesn’t seem to be effective, so how do we manage avoiding getting stuck in a huge queue of cars?
The best time slot to travel by car
Is there a better time to drive without traffic jams, or is it a fallacy? The truth is that it is really difficult to get it right, because we always believe that the decision made is the right one so as not to get stuck again, but we end up queuing at the toll, to get on the highway, or to get out of it.
The RACC and the Catalan Traffic Service have sections on their websites in which they give mobility advice. One of the most important, that many of us do not follow, is to consult the traffic condition before leaving. But it is also interesting to note the time slots in which a greater influx of vehicles is expected on the road, which vary according to the departure operation we face, although the variation is negligible.
Thus, the usual forecast is as follows:
Obviously, the departure is not always on Friday, nor the return on Sunday, as it often coincides with the beginning and end of the summer fortnights. But in any case, it is interesting to consider these hours as a guide.
We can even find a forecast calendar for special traffic operations, which, at the close of this article, is marked every weekend in July 2021, in which a high intensity of traffic is expected.
Avoiding queues or getting out of them
As we have seen, avoiding queues is difficult, but not entirely impossible. Getting out of a traffic jam is a different thing, as we insist on staying on it because it is the fastest route (if we are in it, it is not very fast at that time), or because it is the route we always take.
Following the mobility tips, if we have planned the route correctly, we should have planned an alternative route in case we encounter problems, so that the moment we find a detour or an exit from the congested road, we can take it and access the route that will take us to our destination, possibly more quickly and comfortably.
Of course, first check the state of the traffic, in case you end up in the same situation.
We present a collection of the 11 best TikTok profiles made in Catalan. These young people have gained popularity on the trending social network by making videos in Catalan.
When we hear the word TikTok, the trending app born in China in September 2016 that allows us to make short music videos of up to 1 minute, many think that this platform is only dedicated to dancing, fashion, makeup, and fun. However, it brings us Catalans something more. Its use, in the hands of some young people, young influencers, has become a great tool for spreading and promoting Catalan. Today we want to let you know what we can consider the top eleven TikTokers which promote Catalan. Let’s get started!
- ferranxidk: Ferran, who lives between Girona and Barcelona, is a guy who makes funny videos, has more than 70,000 followers and accumulates more than 9 million likes on TikTok.
- long_lixue: This other well-known Catalan YouTuber, who lives in Girona and has Chinese nationality, also succeeds at TikTok. Well known for collaborating on iCat, he is also famous for fighting racism with millions of likes to his TikTok profile.
- sanyesmag: This young man from La Garrotxa is famous for his magic videos. He has more than 27,000 followers and half a million likes on TikTok. He is a strong promoter of Catalan through this social network.
- walter_capdevila: with nearly 200,000 followers and 5 million likes on the net, we could proclaim this Barcelonan the king of absurd humour. His TikTok profile is a guarantee of laughter.
- misstagless: here we have Sílvia, with 10,000 followers and more than 150,000 likes on TikTok. This Valencian fights for the use and defence of Valencian, playing with home-made humour and a lot of personality.
- filologa_de_guardia: this student of Catalan Philology is called Aida. Her TikTok profile has more than 5,000 followers and almost 50,000 likes. These will be your new Catalan online lessons!
- apitxat: here we have Xavier, with almost 50,000 followers and a million likes. He is another activist for the Valencian lands. You’ll have plenty of jokes and humour in Valencian.
- Can Putades: these girls are from La Garrotxa and live in Barcelona. They have 40,000 followers and almost 1 million likes. Their videos raise unknown words in Catalan from the Garrotxa region, among other funny videos of jokes from their day to day, without ceasing to have Catalan as the basis of their TikTok profile.
- Aroagr8: here we have Aroa and Paula, with 15,000 followers and over 130,000 likes. Famous from confinement, these two girls play with words according to their region, one in Girona and the other in Amposta. Listening to Catalan had never been so curious.
- Bertaarocach: if you prefer a Catalan profile that sticks for its energy and its typical teenager performances that you will want to see time and time again, here is Berta. A profile with more than 100,000 followers and 4 million likes.
- Julen_gs: as we are in the summer, and with the sun we feel like dancing, we say goodbye with Julen’s profile. He makes some superb versions of well-known songs, playing with Txarango’s music, or doing a mix of Plats Bruts with music from the Friends show. He has about 10,000 followers and almost 90,000 likes on TikTok.
The previous TikTok profiles have thousands of followers on the trending social network, and best of all, they have gained popularity by showing themselves to the world in Catalan.
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Summer is a time that allows us to do things as a family, share, and enjoy a few days of holiday. The pandemic that had us locked up at home last year is passing, and many families are considering going on holiday for a few days.
Planning a holiday is a job that needs to be done, especially if you are travelling with children. Finding a place that is right for them and at the same time enjoyable for adults is no easy task. Not all tourist destinations are designed for children. Therefore, it is necessary to look for destinations ready to welcome families, with spaces and activities designed for children and adults. In fact, the tourism sector is specialising more and more according to customer needs.
Catalonia is a country full of opportunities. A tourist destination par excellence, it has been able to diversify its offer. Family tourism is one of them and, today, there is a wide list of proposals that adapt to all kinds of families: large, single parents, with one, two children…
When choosing a destination, one must take into account, among other things, the budget, the tastes and ages of the different family members, the duration, the distance, and so on.
Choosing a place tailored to the needs of children and adults is key. Catalonia has quality destinations that meet a series of requirements considered suitable for family tourism, to which the Catalan Tourism Agency grants the Family-friendly Holiday label. These destinations are certified as providing a diversified offer of accommodation, restaurants, and leisure establishments aimed at children.
Sea or mountain?
Specifically, there are 27 destinations that have the Family-friendly Holiday label. These are divided into two groups: sea destinations and mountain destinations.
Sea destinations have the Family-friendly beach label. Nineteen coastal municipalities have it. For example, Pineda de Mar, Castelldefels, Vilanova i la Geltrú, Salou, and Cambrils, among others. Lifeguard services, catering with children’s menus, activities in the sand, on the water, and a long list of others, designed for young and old, help to make time pass more easily for everyone.
As for families who prefer mountain activities, there are 8 municipalities with the Family-friendly adventure label. Nature lovers will find a wide range of leisure activities: educational centres, adventure sports, ski resorts open in summer, and so on.
In addition, in both sea and mountain destinations we will find accommodation ready to accommodate families: hotels, campsites, or apartments that even offer a pram, cot, and high chair so that you do not carry them; childcare service; complementary activities; monitors, and so on.
Travelling as a family is an opportunity we have when we can enjoy a few days of holiday. Planning them well and choosing a suitable place according to the age and tastes of the little ones in the house will guarantee the success of your stay.
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Catalans are preparing for the summer with optimism.
If you are thinking of travelling this summer and want to get out of the usual beach and mountain circuit, in this article you might find some suitable proposals within Catalonia.
The summer of 2021 arrives as one of the most desired, in which many hope to return to the normalcy the pandemic took from us and to which, little by little, we are returning. The article What are holidays going to be like for Catalans? told you a recovery of 50% in tourism compared to last year, during which Catalans spent 42% less, is expected.
We are therefore preparing to enjoy a holiday knowing that the restrictions to travel are disappearing. It is time to select and discuss destinations, without forgetting that many wallets have suffered, and also that we may still be asked for expensive tests if our destination is abroad.
If we don’t want to spend too much or suffer a quarantine at our destination, it goes without saying that in Catalonia we have everything we need. Perhaps, however, we like something that comes out of the most well-known routes. Just in case, we will now propose several of those routes:
The gold in the Segre river
If you thought you had to go to the far west of California to look for gold, you were wrong. You can actually enjoy this experience for the whole family much closer: on the river Segre.
In these outings, which you can do from Balaguer during July and August, they explain why gold is found in the Segre river, they teach you how to look for it and distinguish it as the real seekers did and, if you find any, you can take it home.
The experience, which lasts about two hours, has very affordable prices: €8 for adults and €5 for children under 16. You can find all the information on Balaguer’s Museu de la Noguera website. If you decide to make this trip, you can also take the opportunity to visit and get to know its interesting archaeological, artistic, and ethnological collection.
The scenes of the battle of the Ebro
A key memory of our country, the Ribera d’Ebre has made a great effort to recover the spaces and scenarios that witnessed this decisive battle of the Spanish Civil War, and continues to work to disseminate it to travellers.
Deciding on these routes means entering anti-aircraft shelters, such as those in Flix or Font Gran in Benissanet; in trenches largely preserved, such as those of Berrús; camps of the Army Corps of the Ebro, such as the one we find in Ascó; defensive bunkers, such as Reguers; or castles that became a refuge for soldiers, as in the Middle Ages, and were heavily bombed, such as the castle of Mora d’Ebre and the castle of Miravet.
At turismeriberaebre.org you can check routes, accommodation, where to eat, and everything you need to organise your trip. In addition, you will find many other proposals to enjoy in the area, such as navigating the Ebro with the Llagut lo Roget.
Sleep on the trees
For the more adventurous, in the counties of Girona, there is a very peculiar accommodation: the Tree-Top Cabins. Located in the middle of the forest of Sant Hilari Sacalm, these wooden huts are integrated into the landscape and allow you to literally sleep on the trees.
This is the first accommodation of this kind to be opened in the state and, as its founders say, it will allow you to disconnect absolutely from your routine and let yourself be absorbed by nature; you will even have to go to the main farmhouse if you want to charge your phone. Total relaxation.
The animals of the Pyrenees, in their environment
If you like walking in nature, but you want to know the fauna too, in Catalonia we have a good number of parks where you can observe the animals in their environment. We highlight two:
- The Zoo of the Pyrenees, located near Port del Comte, is ideal if you like birds. It offers many activities that help you get to know them and even be able to touch them.
- Molló Parc, in the middle of the Vall de Camprodon, in Ripollès, offers us a fabulous route during which we will find bears, foxes, deer, chamois, and even lynxes, as well as many other native species.
These are just some of the options that the country has to offer, but if you want more, you can consult the Turisme de la Generalitat website, where you will find all kinds of ideas. And get your suitcase ready.
Can students find an affordable flat that is suitable for their needs without paying a fortune or ending up sharing a room with half of Barcelona? 11Onze will try to give you some tips and tricks on the difficulties of becoming independent and entering adulthood.
The stress of university entrance exams is over, and after a well-deserved break, students enter a new stage: university begins, a phase of life in which they will learn about the sector in which they want to specialise and where existential doubts, far from fading, are often multiplied.
At this age and after so many years of effort, we often want to take advantage of this feeling of freedom and live new experiences, meet different friendships and, ultimately, fully enter adulthood, becoming independent of our parents: the search of the ideal flat begins. The latter, however, can be much more difficult than it seems.
The budget: a scarce commodity
To start with our research, the first thing we need to be clear about is the budget: we need to define what is the maximum amount of money we can afford to spend each month. This is of paramount importance, given that many students at these ages either do not have a regular income, or they have one but it is very meagre.
Unfortunately, however, the rent will not be the only aspect to consider. We must also keep in mind the distance between the flat and the university: the flat with the cheapest rent in Catalonia will be of no use to us if we have to waste four hours a day to go to class! Surely the key is to find a middle ground between being close enough to the university but not in the city centre, with enough transportation available, such as subway or train stations.
The more, the merrier?
Aside from distance, there is another factor that can increase or decrease our monthly spending: the number of roommates. Obviously, the more roommates we have, the less money per person we will pay, but we will have to take into account how many people in the same house we can afford, as too many people sharing a few square meters can become burdensome and decrease our quality of life. And in the same way, being on our own in a huge flat can make us feel alone.
Time is gold: start the search as soon as possible
Once we have decided the budget we can spend on rent, it’s time to start the search! Of course, we can take into account a few tips to make this search much more efficient.
First, the calendar must always be kept in mind: much of the demand for rental flats for university students is, of course, concentrated before the start of university. It is therefore very important to start the search before this period: this way you will have a lot more offer and you will be able to choose what is best for you. If, on the other hand, we start looking for a flat in October, we will most likely be left with flats that no one has wanted, either because of an excessive price or bad characteristics.
Agency or contacts: what is more efficient?
Acquaintances are a great way to start looking, instead of real estate agencies or websites. You’d be surprised how many people prefer to rent to acquaintances and decide not to post their ad on the internet. This way, aside from avoiding the entire search process, we might get a better room for the same price, thanks to the trust they have in us.
Related to this, universities often have a housing stock market where many homeowners publish their offers. Thus, many students can benefit if they find an offer that suits their needs, using the campus or university website.
If you do not find anything with any of these methods, it is time to use the most traditional search tools: real estate agencies or websites, many of which have their own app. Here we have many options, but some of the best known are:
Once we have chosen a flat, we must sign the agreement and pay the stipulated deposit. Remember to read the contract carefully in order to check that there are no errata or abusive conditions. Also, check the state of the flat and verify that it is in the same condition as detailed in the contract (for example, if the agreement says the walls are well painted, check that it is so). It would not hurt to take some pictures of the general condition of the place on the first day.
It is therefore necessary to think it through and not throw caution to the wind at the first opportunity: we have all heard or been involved in true horror stories between roommates, or student flats that look like more a landfill than a home in proper condition. It is therefore in our hands to avoid ending up being the protagonists of one of these stories.
Good luck with the search!
In the real estate market, and specifically in the rental market, we can find very different situations that can lead to abuses and breaches of current regulations at all times. But does the tenant suffer all the abuse? Or can the owner also feel helpless?
Last September, the new Rental Price Containment Act came into force (11/2020 Law of September 18), with the aim of curbing the huge rise in prices that was being experienced, especially in Barcelona and the metropolitan area. This lowers and freezes the price of new rentals in areas with high demand for housing. An average reduction of 4.12% has been achieved.
With these measures, it seems that politicians are responding to the demands of platforms and unions, in favour of affordable or, at least, regulated housing. A Quick Guide has even been published to announce the scope of the new regulations.
What are the abuses?
Clearly, it was unsustainable to keep the upward pattern in rental prices, as has been happening in recent years. Tenants have basic rights that are sometimes violated, and they should report them if they find themselves in any of the following situations of abuse:
- Upon signing the rental agreement, the owner must deliver the certificate of occupancy and the energy certificate. Obtaining these documents comes at a cost, so some owners may try to rent the home without having them, even though they are mandatory. For the rental of commercial premises, only the energy certificate is required.
- Make a peaceful use of the home, without the owner being able to disturb it. Many times the so-called real estate bullying (harassment) occurs, that is, making the tenant’s life miserable and forcing them to leave, thus being able to speculate with that home. These actions are usually carried out by large holders, such as mutual funds.
- The owner must take care of the necessary repairs and maintenance. The tenant can make these repairs if they are urgent, with prior notice, and they can be deducted from the price, but sometimes these repairs are not considered necessary, and there is no refund of the cost.
- They can terminate the contract and have the deposit back, but there are owners who do not want to return it, and this money could not have been deposited in Incasòl as required. This may mean that the rental has not been registered and, as a result, you may have more difficulty having the deposit back.
However, the right to the return of the deposit is lost if the home is left damaged, which can lead to a repair cost.
Protection of owners
However, you may find that the owner is not to blame for a conflicting relationship with the tenant. For example, it may happen that the home has not been legally rented, but someone has decided to move in without permission; that there are defaults on the agreed rent; or even that there is a misbehaviour of the tenant.
The new law does not resolve any of these situations in which an owner may be. However, as citizens, they also have the right to be given tools to resolve them. The only forecast that is made is for small tenants who may be in a vulnerable situation, who are allowed a 5% increase in rent, above the established maximums.
Owners can easily find themselves helpless as they are considered to be the strongest side in the deal. But the truth is that they can see how a tenant stops paying or damages their home, and that the solution to the problem always has to end up in court, which means a high cost of time and money.
The point is that this problem affects investment funds and small holders alike. With the new regulations, it seems that this situation is beginning to reverse, as they take into account the diversity of owners that exist, and make the distribution of responsibilities in this madness that is the real estate market a little more equitable.
The network of female entrepreneurship Extraordinaria has become a space for cooperation and growth where thousands of women who choose to lead their own lives converge.
One in four small business is created and run by women. Whether out of necessity or vocation, the percentage of women entrepreneurs grows every year. We spoke with Gemma Fillol, entrepreneur and CEO of Extraordinaria, to find out how female entrepreneurship is lived from within.
Let’s start at the beginning: what is Extraordinaria?
We are an organisation with an informative and associative attitude. We believe in a new business paradigm in which companies are at the service of the people. The companies many women are leading and building are not only based on economic benefit, but also on contribution. In the generation of wealth in a holistic way.
How was the project born?
The project stems from my personal need to meet other women with a similar path. It is very important that we create spaces of conversation, of true female generosity, for sharing not only in the professional but also in the personal sphere, for asking ourselves where our leadership is leading us.
What impact has it had on women entrepreneurs?
Extraordinaria’s growth and impact has been brutal. We started six years ago with 30 people and we currently have 700 members and 60,000 followers; we have given a lot of visibility to the entrepreneurial woman, we are building referents and spaces of authentic cooperation in accordance with feminine values.
What does women’s leadership mean?
For me, leading is giving, guiding, coordinating, collaborating, committing, helping, visualising, contributing, aiding… Precisely, women are great donors: we give life. I believe a lot in cyclicity and circularity: everything is born, reproduces, dies, and grows back.
Do we focus too much on gender differentiation?
Sometimes I’m not too sure if we should call this type of leadership feminine because, on the one hand, it’s not inclusive, but on the other hand, I think we also need to vindicate exclusivity, because we really live in a world and in a society that is not egalitarian. It strives, it tries, it is biased. And it’s deeply uneven: we don’t have the same opportunities.
How is Extraordinaria’s leader?
Very optimistic. The curious and resilient attitude is inherent in the entrepreneur; it is the essence of leadership.
Do we start a business, and lead, from emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is crucial, but also transversality, sustainable and organic growth, active listening, humility, transparency, vulnerability, communication … Everything that is done with a contributing will.
Why do we want to start a business? What can it bring us?
It brings us the possibility to live on our business and our talent, which should be like a fundamental right. We should focus on how women not only want to create economically sustainable businesses, but also human businesses. Taking care of women workers, generating a social impact. Companies are being built from somewhere else and this is very revolutionary.
How are these conscious businesses created?
For conscious businesses, those that go beyond generating money, at Extraordinaria we define three pillars: the first is the axis of the business, the business base. Then, the part of personal growth and leadership; here we could also talk about success, which in the end means fulfilling your desires, your dreams. And, finally, the creation of a network, of spaces to share from generosity, to say “I have fallen here, and this is my path, not yours, but I tell you in case I can help you.”
It is very important that companies manage to understand this new paradigm in which, if we all build beyond ourselves and add value, companies will be able to generate wealth for people, and not the other way around.