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Galicia to Bern Forty years in Switzerland

Genaro Rodríguez left Galicia, where he grew up, at the age of sixteen. He was one of millions of Spaniards who came to Switzerland in search of a better life in the 1960s and 1970s. He now lives in Bern.

Genaro left school at the age of 12 to avoid more beatings from his teacher in the village of Fornelos near La Coruña. Four years later the young boy, trained as a builder, decided to follow a friend’s suggestion: “Go to Switzerland. There is work there which is well paid and a different world which is better.”

His humiliation at school prevented him from ever going back into a classroom. But Genaro managed to teach himself German. He later trained as a construction manager by taking a distance learning scheme.

(Thomas Kern, Daniel Wihler and Patricia Islas,

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