Álvaro couldn't believe it when we told him he'd been chosen to run cafébabel's Spanish edition for the next 10 months. At the time he was in Bristol, where he'd been living for about three months. "I was at home and getting ready to go to work," he remembers (he worked as a food-deliverer at the time). "I had taken a sabbatical for a change of scenery and to improve my English."
Unlike many of the people who pass through the Paris office, Álvaro has never done an Erasmus year or got a Masters degree. Still, at the age of 24 he's already had a long and varied career as a journalist. "I learnt a lot at El Confidencial and Vocento Media Lab. I've also worked for Agencia EFE, even if I didn't do as much as I would have liked, and I've taken part in a lot of local initiatives like CREA Radio in Valladolid. Apart from that I've been coaching football since I was 16 and I'm also a Scout, which has helped me learn to work for a greater good."
From the moment he set foot in the office Álvaro made sure everyone knew where he came from; he's very proud of his home city. Whatever the subject of conversation he always manages to talk about Valladolid. "The place where you grow up has a huge effect on you," he says. "It's where you create your personality. I had a very happy childhood there, which is why I hold on to my roots."
cafébabel: What are you looking for most in your time in Paris?
Álvaro: An apartment! Everybody told me that starting out in a city like Paris is difficult, but little by little it wins you over without you even realising. For the moment I haven't felt that anxiety, but I haven't really had the time to stop and think about it either.
cafébabel: Why journalism?
Álvaro: I love communication. When I was little I listened to the radio every night. I preferred reading newspapers to books, but that's changed over the years. We study journalism because we want to change the world. We have to start small, because that's where things have the most impact. Then, maybe, the ripples get bigger.
cafébabel: If you weren't a journalist, what would you be?
Álvaro: A teacher. A lot of people think that teenagers are too stubborn, but if they have support they have enormous creative potential.
cafébabel: What do you hope to get out of your time at cafébabel?
Álvaro: I like the fact that we all come from different countries and backgrounds. For 10 months I get to throw new ideas at the wall and see what sticks. I want to challenge my worldview; meet new people; work on my prejudices and learn new languages.
cafébabel: You've certainly come to the right place. ¡Bienvenido, Álvaro!