One of Gonzalez del Castillo's friends is a 26-year-old Spanish civil engineer who graduated last October, and moved to Brazil last month after a six-month job hunt in Spain that netted not a single job interview. She represents a sharp reversal for countries like Spain and Portugal, which for decades were on the receiving end of migrants from Latin America.
She has already had better luck in the booming business hub of Sao Paulo, getting an interview within two weeks of arriving. The woman did not want her name revealed because she entered Brazil on a tourist visa and fears she could be deported if caught seeking work.
In bailed-out Ireland, emigration has become a defining national characteristic. More than 76,000 people left last year, representing 1.7 percent of the population. They joined 200,000 who have departed since 2008 at the end of a property boom-gone-bust similar to Spain's. Their top destinations are Britain, Australia, Canada and the United States. Official statistics show that the vast majority of those leaving are in their 20s and 30s.
Orla Kelleher, executive director of the Aisling Irish Community Center in Yonkers, New York, said the volume of newly arrived Irish jobseekers had multiplied six times "if not more" since 2009, following the implosion of the Celtic Tiger economy.
Brian Whelan, 28, moved to London from Dublin two years ago after being recruited to work on the Irish pages of the Yahoo news site. Many of his Dublin friends are living outside the country, many in Canada.
"If I hadn't landed a job in advance I'd have been heading to London anyway," said Whelan, who now works as a freelance journalist. "Irish people are not having any difficulty landing jobs abroad. It's often the best and the brightest who are going abroad. Some of the best trained and most able young people are leaving because Ireland can't afford to keep them."
Italy, whose decaying economy may soon need a bailout, has long been bleeding much of its finest talent as rigid labor laws and chronic cronyism force highly skilled young people abroad. Italy doesn't track how many citizens leave, but the country's statistics agency said the number of Italians with college degrees living abroad rose from 8.3 percent in 2001 to 15.9 percent in 2010.
Maria Adele Carrai, 26, got her bachelor's degree in Chinese language and culture in Rome, graduating at the top of her class, and went on to complete a master's in Venice focusing on Asian languages, economics and legal institutions. When she finished, she could find only low-paying work as an Italian-Chinese translator for a court that always paid her late — or not at all. She did freelance translation on the side, making €5 ($6) an hour.
Carrai would rather be home but left Italy for Hong Kong, where she's doing her Ph.D.
"That's the only way to become economically independent," she said. "Italy is an unthinkable destination right now."
Oviedo, the physics master's candidate, thinks he would probably be able to land a well-paid job in Madrid, where large banks pay good money for math whizzes like him to be analysts, known as "quants," and design complex trading formulas.
Oviedo says he would hate himself if he used his math skills to help big banks profit off the financial crisis.
"I don't want to do that job. It would be like helping the enemy," he said. "They have destroyed the world. I see the results every day in Spain."
Associated Press writers Paola Barisani in Rome, Derek Gatopoulos in Athens, Shawn Pogatchnik in Dublin and Daniel Woolls and Harold Heckle in Madrid contributed to this report.
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