Adaeze in Seville - Candidate Spotlight - Adelante Abroad

Candidate Spotlight: Internship in Seville – Adaeze C.

Adaeze in Seville - Candidate Spotlight - Adelante Abroad

Why Choose to Intern in Seville?

President of Art Museum - Adaeze - Internship in Seville - Adelante AbroadChoosing Seville was easy, after speaking with a close friend who lived in Spain for many years, she suggested Seville because of the warmth of the people and its many festivals and holidays throughout the year like the ‘Semana Santa’ and ‘Fería de Abril’ which she knew I would enjoy. In addition to that, I was sold when she said the people from Barcelona speak a whole other language, Catalan, which may have been a bit difficult for me to grasp since I had only been taking Spanish lessons for two months prior to my leaving.

More About My Internship Program in Seville

Adaeze - Art Museum - Internships in Seville - Adelante AbroadMy internship has been an invaluable experience thus far and a turning point in my life. Besides experiencing independence from my parents (living on my own) for the first time, which I must admit feels amazing, what I am cherishing the most is embracing this new chapter and being present in the moment, experiencing every step towards creating a bright future for my family and country with respect to preserving the legacy of my father. The internship placement at ´Fundacion Pintor Amalio´ was a perfect choice, there are many similarities between my father and the painter Amalio. Amalio was a teacher, artist and poet, who created a foundation and donated ´365 Gestures of the Giralda´ 8 days before his death in 1995. The Foundation is currently headed by one of his daughters María José.

I am learning so much and really cannot wait to implement what I have learned when I return home. I am truly inspired. Spain is a magical place overflowing with love and appreciation for its culture. I believe I am well on my way and eternally grateful to Adelante Abroad for making it possible.

 

 

 

About the Contributor:

Adaeze is currently taking part in a 6-month art internship in Seville, Spain. Hear more about Adaeze’s journey on her blog!

Want to learn more about our program? Check out our internships in Seville!

Feria de Abril in Seville - Adelante Abroad

Feria de Abril in Seville: A Guide to One of Seville’s Most Popular Festivals

Feria de Abril in Seville - Adelante Abroad

Here at Adelante, we highly encourage our candidates to engulf themselves into new cultures. Whether they participate an internship or study abroad program, there’s always something to explore and experience for the first time.

Spring is one of our favorite times of the year due to the festivities held around Spain and South America. One of the most popular spring festivals is the Seville Fair, or Feria de abril de Sevilla.

 

Adaeze - Feria de Abril - Adelante Abroad

Adaeze C. preparing for Feria de Abril

What is Feria de Abril?

Feria de abril de Sevilla is held in Seville, Spain about two weeks after Easter Holy Week. The events run from Monday all the way to the following Sunday, but it’s very common to see festivities begin as early as that Saturday.

The first official night, Monday night, is known as “La Noche del Pescaito” or “Fish Night.” During the evening, fish is traditionally served for dinner while the Mayor of Seville switches on thousands of lights at midnight to emphasize the beginning of the festival.

By Tuesday, the festival brings in horseback parades filled with carriages, riders, bullfighters and breeders. Women wear their favorite flamenco dresses and dance with men dressed in traditional suits.

The rest of the week proceeds with more festivities as well as bull fights. Shows are held at the Plaza de Toros, and the top bullfighters appear during this week. You can easily participate in local activities and enjoy street food, circuses / carnivals, and dancing.

 

Flamenco Dress - Internships in Seville - Adelante Abroad

Adaeze C. and Adelante’s Seville Program Director, Catherine

What is the origin of Feria de Abril?

The traditions from the Seville Fair can be traced all the way back to the early 1800’s, where a cattle fair was held and continued every year afterward. Each year, more and more people joined in to celebrate and socialize together in Seville, which brought in ‘casetas’ for food, bars and music. By the 1920’s, Feria de abril became one of Seville’s biggest fiestas.

Looking to celebrate in Seville? If you missed this year’s Seville Fair, there’s still plenty of festivities and celebrations going on in the next few months!

There are also other celebrations happening in other parts of Spain, Ecuador, Chile, Mexico, and Uruguay! Apply now to take advantage of Summer start dates!

human rights internship in ecuador

Interview with Conner S. – Human Rights Internship in Ecuador

human rights internship in ecuador

We spoke with our current candidate, Conner, who is enjoying his time right now in Quito, Ecuador, where he is completing a Law Internship Abroad in Human Rights.

Conner answered a few questions for us about his experience with our brand new program in Ecuador.

Conner - Internships in Ecuador - Adelante Abroad

Why Did You Choose to Intern in Ecuador?

I chose Ecuador because of the cultural influence of indigenous cultures. Seeing as I wanted to work with human rights in a legal setting, a large population of indigenous tribes, those of whom have maintained themselves in isolation of western influence up until the late 20th century, Ecuador, and DELE**, seemed like the best fit for me to match my legal and anthropological interests.

 

What’s a Typical Day Like in Your Internship?

Monday through Friday I wake up at 7 AM, have breakfast and get ready at home until 8-8:30 AM, then walk, run or taxi to work. At work, we have a small collaborative group that works together in brainstorming and project development. Right now, we are looking for funds to carry out projects. We always make an effort to have lunch together from 12-1 PM. We always wind up having interesting conversations about politics, culture, news, etc.

 

Conner - Ecuador Homestay - Adelante Abroad

How is Your Experience So Far Living in Quito?

My experience so far has been great due to a buddy at work who is my age that has taken me under his wing; taking me to play football, to parties, to cultural events, etc. Across the board, everyone is friendly.

 

What Have You Gained So Far From Your Program?

So far, I’ve gained linguistic abilities I didn’t have before, friends I didn’t have before, and eye opening, mind-expanding realizations that come from living in a different country. One sees how different everything is, which makes one re-examine his or her own country, instead of taking all institutions, values, cultural identities, political processes, etc., for granted. Living in a different country is an exercise in critical thinking.

**The Diploma of Spanish as a Foreign Language (DELE) is an official qualification, recognized by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport of Spain. For more information, visit www.dele.org.

Conner in Ecuador - Adelante Abroad

Interested in an internship in Ecuador? We have several spots still open for Summer in Quito and Ambato, as well as programs in Chile, Mexico, Uruguay, and Spain. July and August start dates are still available, but hurry before these spots are filled!

Internships in EcuadorNominated for GoAbroad’s 2017 New Innovative Program

Summer 2017 Internships

Apply Now for an Internship Abroad

Shayan V - Candidate Spotlight - Adelante Abroad

Adelante Internship Abroad is “Definitely Worth It!” – Candidate Spotlight with Shayan V.

 

Shayan V - Candidate Spotlight - Adelante Abroad

Here’s an article written by one of our recent candidates, Shayan, who just came back from her internship in Madrid! We offer year round internships in several countries for our candidates so that they have the opportunity to travel and intern any time of the year between one to twelve months.

Internship in Madrid – Definitely Worth It!

Let me start off by saying the decision to intern abroad has turned out to be the best decision I have made in my personal, professional and educational life. It’s hard to believe I was so nervous and scared at first but after support from my family and the staff at Adelante, I embarked on a once in a lifetime journey that changed my life.

Prior to this internship, I attended school at San Jose State University before taking a semester off in order to transfer schools. However, I did not want to waste the semester, and since I had always wanted to go abroad once I found out about Adelante, I was sold. I’m currently studying communications hoping to one day find a job working with a major sports organization. Since I’ve always been a huge fan of sports, especially Real Madrid Club de Fútbol, having this internship under my belt will definitely help me with my future career goals.

Why I Chose to Intern in Madrid

For as long as I can remember I’ve been in love with Spain. My dad lived in Madrid when he was younger so growing up he would always tell me stories about his adventures which made me fall even more in love with Spain, especially Madrid. I also learned a lot about Spain in my history classes which prompted me to do my own research and learn about the rich culture and beautiful scenery.

Finally, after years of obsessing over this beautiful country, my mom surprised me with a spring break trip to visit the place I wanted to see more than anywhere else in the world. I remember my mom specifically telling me to not get my hopes up because I’ve built up this amazing place and she doesn’t want me to be upset if it doesn’t meet all my expectations but as I expected, it exceeded all my expectations and she had to drag me back to America kicking and screaming. On the trip back home I told my mom that I would be back so I started planning my return the second I landed.

I’ve travelled around the United States, a few countries in Mexico and the Caribbean but nothing compares to Spain, particularly Madrid. There is a different atmosphere in this city and it welcomes every visitor with open arms. Madrid is the perfect mixture of old Europe mixed with modernization. The buildings rocket into the sky with the architectural design of the 19th century and the technology of the modern day. Around every corner is a plaza or square commemorating Spanish history and of course, an endless supply of museums to visit. Down every cobble stone street you will find an array of restaurants and bars serving a variety of tapas and drinks, and within those establishments you will not find a single person engulfed in their phone but instead they are enjoying each others company.

In case the history, the views and the food wasn’t enough, the city has some of the best shopping in all of Europe with an assortment of shops all over the city. It’s impossible to have a boring day in a city where you could spend a lifetime but still not see everything. However, the absolute best part of Madrid is the people who live there and I’m convinced the kindest, most generous people inhabit this city. Madrileños, as residents of Madrid are frequently referred as, are always willing to help recommend a place to eat, guide you in the right direction or simply help with your Spanish. The kindness of this city is the first thing a visitor will be exposed to which makes everyone who visits this city fall in love.

A Typical Day in Your Internship

As far as the internship, I was fortunate enough to intern with the Real Madrid Foundation | Real Madrid CF which turned out to be the greatest experience for my career goals. A typical day at my internship involved hopping on the Metro to Retiro Park in order to get to the practice field. I would meet with the coach of the team and we would discuss the plans for practice that day. The Real Madrid Foundation have many youth teams that play all over the city of Madrid and Retiro park just happens to be one of their practice grounds.

The coach would tell me her plans for practice and in order to help improve my Spanish I would be the one informing the young players. The practices usually consists of 3-5 exercises and a scrimmage at the end, once I finish explaining the exercises I would help guide the players making sure they were completing it correctly. Each practice is roughly 90 minutes and we work with two teams a day which made my schedule Monday-Thursday 5:30pm-8:30pm with occasional games on the weekends. Not only was the schedule easy to adapt to but every single person whom I encountered at the foundation and park provided me with support and assistance anytime I needed anything. They were all so welcoming and made the experience even better than it already was.

 

Living in Madrid

As excited as I was for this internship it was still rather difficult to adapt to in the beginning. The entire time I was speaking only in Spanish and even though the classes helped, I was still not extremely confident but after a few days and help from the coaches, it improved daily. Like I mentioned, the people in Madrid are extremely kind and helpful so if they see you’re struggling, like I was in the beginning, they are more than happy to help you.

 

What I Gained from My Internship Abroad

This was an opportunity that I would have never received in America. Being able to intern with such a respected foundation and having the ability to network provided me with professional relationships that I can potentially return to after I finish school. Living in a foreign country, being surrounded by a new culture and interning gave me a new perspective for my career path, encouraged my independence and the need to push myself to achieve my goals, and to put it simply, it was a fun adventure unlike anything I had ever done before. Regardless of what you do or where you go, you will grow from your experience and it will look amazing on a resume. For me, the ability to be submerged in the culture, learn Spanish, travel, and meet new people all while experiencing a once in a lifetime internship will forever shape the person I am.

– Shayan V. (Internships in Madrid, Spain)

Shayan V - Internship in Madrid - Adelante Abroad

 

It’s not too late to apply for a spring internship! Apply now for an internship starting in April 2017 by Wednesday, February 15. We offer several summer internship and study abroad opportunities in other parts of the world as well. Summer study abroad programs are available in Spain, Costa Rica and Scotland.

HowToAdult Realities - Adelante Abroad

6 #HowToAdult Realities When Going Abroad

HowToAdult Realities - Adelante Abroad

We All Have Had Those #HowToAdult Moments

Whether you’re 13 or 30, you’ve been through some kind of stage in your life where you had to start doing things without the help of your family. It’s definitely tough in the beginning, and you may not even realize how tough it was going to be. But eventually, it starts to become second nature.

The same reality goes with travelling abroad. Whether you choose to intern or study abroad for a few months, here are the realities on #HowToAdult when going abroad.

#1: You’re in Charge of Everything

Unfortunately, your parents or guardian can’t come with you to your abroad program. I mean, they could, but is that really what you want? Weren’t you trying to travel so that you could get away and explore on your own? Sooner or later, you’ll learn that you have to take charge of everything while abroad; fortunately, many programs provide you with some helpful resources prior to your travels.

Did you know that Adelante Abroad gives you a pre-departure orientation (PDO) packet a couple of months before your trip? That packet provides plenty of information on the area that you’ll be living in, plus helpful tips on going to different places. It can be a great resource to show you the next step in your travels.

#2: You Need to Learn How to Cook

While some internships are based in large urban cities, many programs are centered in rural areas, where grocery stores and restaurants are not as close by. What does that mean for you? It just means that you’ll have to experiment with local ingredients and mix them up in a kitchen pot. Yup, that’s right. You’ll need to cook.

Never cooked before? That’s alright. It is strongly advised to practice some basic cooking skills before travelling. Even if you’re not interning or studying abroad and just travelling on your wanderlust journey, cooking could save you hundreds of dollars on your trip.

You don’t have to be a culinary major to understand the foundations of cooking. Check out this WikiHow on cooking, or check out these 30+ dishes that anyone can make (quick tip: pasta is a great dish for starters).

#3: You Won’t Have a Cleaning Maid

You may have a host or hostess who comes in every so often to fix leaks or cracks where you’re staying, but they won’t be picking up dirty laundry for you. Although many of our parents teach us the importance of keeping a clean room or doing the dishes in early adolescence, not having someone remind you to clean up on your own may be a new experience.

Even the most seasoned college students and those who have lived alone for years can often forget a pile of clothes on the floor or even to vacuum the carpet from food crumps and dirt. Did you really think it just vanished magically?

Cleaning does not have to be difficult. Set up a reminder once or twice a week and dedicate a couple of hours to straightening up the house. You’ll be surprised what 20 minutes a day can do for an apartment. Look up “life hacks” online for quick tips on keeping your place looking nice and organized with little effort, too.

#4: Without a Budget, You Probably Won’t Last Too Long Abroad

If your parents have given you money before, and you’ve spent it all in less than a day, then this trip may be the best thing for you. Travelling abroad means being away from family, meaning being away from your constant cash flow that you were used to back at home.

It’s completely okay if you’ve never set up a budget for yourself before. Do you know how many adults in their 30s and 40s STILL don’t know how to budget? There are some easy ways to ensure that you don’t spend your entire savings halfway through your trip.

Do some research before you leave to determine how much money you need to save up. This includes cost of food (groceries and going out), transportation (bus and train passes, etc.), and souvenirs for yourself and your family.

Add some additional funds for emergencies (you never want to go without a backup). Then decide how you will split up your money each week. Write down what you spend and try not to go over your weekly budget.

If for some reason you end up spending more than planned, or there was an emergency, do not be afraid to contact your family for help. They may have extra money saved up for situations like these. However, this, of course, is a last resort.

#5: You Will Make Friends from Different Cultures

Here’s a shocker – you’ll probably meet other people just like yourself when you travel. And you’ll also probably meet people NOT like yourself when you travel. And that’s totally okay!

As you continue with your travels, you are going to meet people that you like a lot and people that you don’t like a lot. Your journey going abroad will bring these obstacles, but you will learn how to make friends with people from all over the world, many of which you might have not attempted to be friends with if you stayed at home.

You’ll learn different cultures and languages (especially if you’re in one of our Spanish countries), and those friends will be helpful as well in your journey as you learn to adjust to your solo travel life.

#6: You Will Learn How to Be Independent

If you haven’t figured it out by now, you will probably have to do everything on your own. Congrats! You’re officially “adulting”!

By all means, we encourage you to be as independent as possible. Not only will you master your adulting skills faster, but you will have a far better experience once you learn the ropes. And if you still need help, you can always ask your family (and your Adelante Abroad team) for some assistance. We’re always here to help and want to make this “adulting” abroad experience the best one ever.

Dealing with Loneliness Abroad - Adelante Abroad

Dealing with Loneliness Abroad

Dealing with Loneliness Abroad - Adelante Abroad

Considering studying or interning abroad and worried about being away from home for too long? Loneliness abroad is a completely normal feeling, and anyone can have some discomfort while in a new place, whether it’s culture shock or being on your own for the first time.

Here are some ways to ease your transition when living abroad:

Put Yourself First

Allow yourself enough space and comfort when adjusting, and give yourself a break if you need to. Your physical and mental health are the most important; taking care of yourself always comes first.

If you’re feeling under the weather in any way, give yourself some time to rest – use Adelante Abroad’s resources provided during your trip if you feel the need to visit a local doctor in your city. Use common de-stress methods such as breathing exercises, yoga, writing in a journal, or even soaking up in a bubble bath. Do whatever you can in order to feel “at-home” in your new place abroad.

Search Online for Other Expat Blogs

Chances are that someone else has travelled to the same city that you’re going to (okay, pretty high chances). Our team provides you with as much information as we can about the neighborhood you’re staying in and the resources available to you with your package; however, there are several websites and blogs made from expats currently living or have experience living in the same area.

Adelante also provides you with access to a private Facebook group before and during your travels so that you can network and potentially meet up with other Adelante Abroad candidates staying in your city.

Join the Club

Outside of working or studying within your program abroad, you can join fun clubs or groups in your neighborhood area, where you can mingle and network with locals who share a common interest with you. Try looking for a group on Meetup, for example; you might even discover a new hobby while abroad!

Take a Class

You may sign up for any classes offered locally during your free time while abroad. Take up an art class with other like-minded locals, or even take tours in nearby museums to learn more about your city’s culture. You can learn something new while also meeting someone new!

Get Uncomfortable

If the above ideas are not available, you can go out and introduce yourself to new people in the city. While this may be a scary thing to do for you, getting out of your comfort zone may be the solution to your homesickness. Ask the locals about the best places to purchase lunch or dinner, offer to spend time with someone, or even give a simple gesture to a stranger.

Please note: Make sure to follow any resources provided to you before and during your trip about safety when going out alone in the city. By staying safe and following city guidelines and tips, you’ll have no problems meeting new people and having a happy experience.

Get Used to Being on Your Own

Being homesick is a feeling that should be taken seriously, but it can also be temporary. Many candidates abroad experience this for a couple of weeks and then adjust to their environment soon after.

Set weekly and daily goals for yourself, such as creating a routine before your internship or classes, or making at least one new friend each week. Focus more on absorbing your new environment and less on reminiscing with people back home (maybe call your family here and there to let them know you’re okay).

Going abroad is an amazing opportunity, but it is okay to go through regular ups and downs while travelling. Remember that this is only a temporary part of your once-in-a-lifetime experience!

PSYCHED About Scotland: Psychology Research Abroad

Psychology Research in Scotland | Adelante Abroad

Our summer Observation and Research Assignments in Scotland program is underway! This year we have four students doing Psychology Research Abroad in Edinburgh. Each student is working closely with faculty members at a research lab in Queen Margaret University for six weeks.

Psyched about Scotland

Upon sharing that I study psychology, most people respond by asking, “Oh so you want to be a psychologist then and help people with their problems?” While the clinical route of psychology is certainly important and as challenging as others, I prefer a different path- the route of psychology research. I thrive on the opportunity to learn new things, and making abstract, theoretical ideas turn into concrete and tangible studies. This is something I’ve found as enticing as it is rewarding. That’s why when I found the opportunity to work in a psychology research lab abroad, I could not let the opportunity pass.

I’ve only began traveling within the past year, but the second I started I couldn’t stop. In the past year I’ve been to Italy, Greece, a brief visit to Turkey, Costa Rica, and now Scotland. Cross-cultural psychology, or the study of how human behavior differs across assorted cultures, has always been a fascinating subject for me. What better way to get acquainted with assorted worldly cultures than visiting them myself?

The internship here in Edinburgh is usually open for two applicants, however, this year there are four of us. Skye & Karen are originally from China but are currently international students studying in Wisconsin. Melissa, my roommate here in Edinburgh, is originally from Turkey but currently studies in Lebanon, and then of course there’s me- from little ol’ Minnesota, USA. We talk about the cultural variances across the four of us all the time and it’s so fascinating to be surrounded everyday by a plethora of culture different from my average surroundings in the US.

Psychology Research in Scotland | Adelante Abroad

A TYPICAL DAY

We generally wake up around 8/8:30 in the morning and begin getting ready for the day. We make breakfast in our flat (I usually make eggs or oatmeal) & make our way down 41 stairs to the outside alley, then back up another 40 stairs to reach the Royal Mile where we head to our bus stop. The bus ride to Queen Margaret University is about 40/45 minutes depending on the amount of stops, but the ride has become a wonderfully relaxing part of our day: we pass through many towns- my favorite is Portobello, the seaside community of Edinburgh, and get to see the waves of the North Sea crashing against the shore every morning.

Psychology Research Site | Adelante AbroadThe bus finally reaches Queen Margaret and we enter the Academic Building through automatic sliding glass doors and make our way to the third floor. We have ID cards that have to be scanned to even open the door into the psych lab and then the four of us each head to “our” desks, respectively. The thing I love so much about this internship is that there are constantly different projects to be working on; “routine” is the last word I’d use. The four of us work underneath two professors, Jamal & Steve, and we assist them with different parts of the research process in a seemingly infinite flow of studies. So far we’ve had the opportunity to code experiments on software we’ve only recently learned how to use, organize & run participants through assorted studies, and even had the opportunity to begin building our own ideas for studies that run synchronous with some of the research Jamal & Steve are currently doing.

After we’ve completed a day’s worth of work, we head to the door and press the green exit button to unlock the door allowing it to open; the amount of times we’ve tried to open the door without pressing the exit button is a continuous stream of laughter for us. We again ride the bus home, walk down the 40 stairs to reach our building, and back up another 41 to reach our flat. We can be found spending our evenings differently depending on the day. Some evenings Melissa & I, both enjoying physical fitness, make our way to a recreational center where we’ve been attending pole fitness classes every week. Other evenings, we can be found sorting through photos and videos, updating diaries & social media, or simply walking around the city enjoying what Edinburgh has to offer. The sky stays light for so long in Scotland and the darkness doesn’t generally nestle in until around 11:30 or so in the evening, but eventually around midnight or so we finally lay our heads down and lay to sleep for the night.

Psychology Intern Abroad in Scotland | Adelante Abroad

Living a Life in Scotland

It’s crazy to think that we’ve already been here three of the six weeks our internship lasts, I can’t believe time is flying by so quickly. However even such a short period of time has allowed for many cultural differences to emerge-

Though we’re in an English speaking country, almost every measurement in the UK is different: money is pounds not dollars, distance is kilometers and meters rather than miles and yards, temperature is Celsius not Fahrenheit, and time is 13:00 rather than 1:00 pm. You would be amazed how often you use measurements in your life once you no longer can understand even a simple weather broadcast or bus schedule. The bar, or should I say pub scene, is still prominent here in UK, but it’s so strange meeting people at bars who are only 18 or 19 years old rather than the minimum of 21 they have to be in the US. The Netflix options are different as well, that one caught me a little off guard! I’m not a tech wiz so I’m not sure how Netflix knows, but I’m only able to watch shows that are available on UK Netflix- one of which is the Big Bang Theory, not available on US Netflix, and is also on cable here almost 24/7.

Aside from cultural differences, some things remain constant worldwide. News about the American political season is published in the Newspapers almost daily, and native Scots talk to me all the time about my political beliefs (which is a stimulating topic for me to get into, to say the least). I still get lightly ridiculed at for how I say the word “bag” and “tag” by not only other Americans but by Scots as well, and the daily chore of doing dishes and laundry is just as tedious abroad as it is at home.

It’s been so wonderful to get acquainted with the other interns, the professors at QMU, and just the general city of Edinburgh itself- sometimes I forget that I don’t actually live here permanently. So far we’ve been to the Royal Mile, the Edinburgh Castle, Princes Street Gardens, Portobello Beach, The World of Illusions, Dynamic Earth, and a haunted Ghost Tour, as well as a handful of restaurants, art galleries, grocery stores & pubs. This weekend we’re hoping to make it up to Arthur’s Seat as well as a trip planned to the Highlands, Glencoe, & Loch Ness. Next week we’re heading down to southern UK for trips to Manchester, London, & York, and the following weekend we have a tentative trip planned for the Isle of Skye. I can’t wait to see what the next three weeks of learning and adventures will bring, and I can’t wait to check in again near the close of our program. As the Scots would say, Cheers!

– Jenni M. (Psychology Observation and Research in Scotland)

Psychology Intern in Scotland | Adelante Abroad

 

Interested in doing a program like Jenni’s? Check out our Psychology Observation and Research in Scotland program. We also offer other internship opportunities in other parts of the world, check out our internships abroad page. 

Setting Expectations for Your Program Abroad, Part I

11 - Puerta del Sol

As with most other services or businesses, all over our former interns and study abroad candidates have the opportunity to review their experience. This entry responds to the most salient issues that crop up in intern reviews.

Sometimes the biggest issues are ones that are totally avoidable with a little bit of preparation, research, and a tempering of expectations. Now let’s clarify, we’re not saying set the bar low… rather, set realistic expectations as opposed to over-romanticizing the idea of your travels. As almost any experienced traveler will tell you, there’s the good and the bad in every destination or travel experience; things rarely ever go as planned or as advertised.

And with that, let’s look at a couple of qualms we’ve heard over the years:

1. “I loved my program but I didn’t like the city I lived in.”

As a program provider, there’s not much we can do about this one, unfortunately. However, what we can say is that this is an easily preventable predicament.

Step 1: Do Your Research – if you’re going to be doing an international program in a foreign place, you’d better be prepared for what you signed up for! These days there aren’t any secrets with the internet; so take some time to do research outside of travel blogs and the sites/articles getting all the top hits on Google. Get firsthand knowledge or experiences from others. You can even see or watch street activity via Webcams to see what’s like to walk the streets everyday!

Step 2: Reflect – After doing your research, what are you supposed to do with all that new information? Well, it’s time to process it in the context of you. You know yourself better than anyone, so be honest with yourself… Will I like this city? Am I compatible with it? Can I adapt? What will I struggle most with? Some places are more agreeable than others when it comes to meshing certain personalities. So think about how you may fare in any particular destination. Either way, one thing we can guarantee you is that there isn’t any one place on the planet that absolutely has it all, bringing us to…

Step 3: Prepare Yourself  – Murphy’s Law: anything that can happen, will happen… especially in travel. Refer back to step 2, think about what you may have problems with but be ready and able to roll with the punches. We can’t stress this enough. Bottom line is there will be things you’ll have to deal with, what can separate a good experience from a bad one is the realization and mindset of “alright, this kind of sucks but it’s alright I’ll deal with it and everything is going to be ok.” Trust us, if some seemingly catastrophic event occurs, we’re willing to bet you’ll live through it. If anything, it will become a great travel story down the road.

2. “My internship wasn’t what I expected.”

Let’s first address this qualm by saying there are a host of different things not limited to the following that can affect your internship experience; how long you will be going for, what time of year it is, your previous experience, your Spanish skill level, and even how proactive you are upon your arrival. Now, let us elaborate:

Longer programs almost always are more beneficial to an internship experience. Let’s face it, companies are not going to give you VIPs (Very Important Projects) if you’re only there for a month. Conversely, they’re far more likely to give you meaningful work if you’ve spent time at the company, gotten to know the culture, and if they have gotten to know you also.

Time of year matters. Take Spain for instance, most North Americans like doing programs abroad in the summer time. However, in Spain the months of August are extremely slow. Businesses close down for days, have atypical operating hours, and it is not uncommon for bosses to be gone for weeks. So, adjust your program abroad time frame accordingly or temper those expectations if you plan on being there in the summer.

As with any position in the workforce, your skills (in this case, technical and language) count! Your company abroad will likely base your workload on the skills you possess. In other words, if this is the first and only experience you have in a given field with limited Spanish speaking ability… don’t expect to get those VIPs! Rather, work on the little things, turn your weaknesses into strengths. Give yourself the elemental skills in your field, get more comfortable in your Spanish speaking.

If you feel confident and want more work, be proactive! A past intern complained about not having anything to do. When we spoke to her supervisor, the supervisor responded with “Well, she was always in her cubicle and on the computer looking busy.” Companies, especially the larger ones, aren’t always going to stop everything and cater to a one or two month foreign intern. Sometimes we forget that even though this is our experience of a lifetime, this is just life going on for a Spanish, Chilean, Costa Rican, etc. company. If you want more projects and responsibility, approach your supervisor for it!

Above all else, how can I make my internship experience count? Don’t forget where you are… in a professional setting in a foreign land. Not many are privy to this opportunity. At the very least, learn as much as you can and take anything and everything in. Learn about the company’s culture, how people conduct themselves, how business operates in an international setting. Befriend a co-worker, learn as much as you can from them, inquire about the ins and outs of their job.  If you put your mind to it, there are an infinite amount of things you can take away from an international internship experience.

Intern Life: Living in Marbella

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Stephen H. just wrapped up his Intern in Marbella program. He was kind enough to give us a quick little summary on Marbella and what to expect from this little blip in the Costa del Sol.

 Marbella is a very nice Andalusian town that attracts tourists from all over the world during the summer. If you have been to Spain’s larger cities and want that sort of ambiance while you’re in the country, Marbella may not be the town for you. I would describe Marbella as a large pueblo. In no way is it a city, but it is not a small sleepy town. For those looking for a relaxing time with plenty of sun and beach this is the town for you!  The language school Inlingua was great and the staff was very welcoming and helpful. I recommend working here, but be warmed that during the summer there are not many students and you may not get many hours. The old town of Marbella is picturesque.  Navigating around this part of Spain is easy with the bus service from Marbella. Málaga is very close and great. Ronda is definitely worth a day visit.  All in all, you will enjoy your time in Marbella as I did!

– Stephen H.

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Intern Life: Traveling, What Does it Really Mean?

The following is blog from a current intern, Charlie I., who is doing an International Business internship program in Barcelona. 

Traveling

The modern economies of many states today rely on tourism as cash cows in their portfolios. Globalization and technological innovation allow for the free-flow of human capital and ideas across cultural borders. Theorists suggest this will reduce the threat of violence and create gains from trade. Meanwhile, global unemployment and inequality continue to be problems. The internet has condensed the information contained in libraries into the pocket of every smartphone user. Social media has turned the foundations of personal relationship building and maintaining on its head. Many problems of the past will be easily solvable for institutions because of advancements in computing power, while it also has the power to render entire labor markets obsolete. This places compensating differentials on human talents. The 21st century brings along with it cultural wars, global warming, and economic fragility. The time to ponder the tough questions is now, and traveling allows it to happen freely. Nobody wants to live a life of delusion. That is why traveling can be a necessary disruption in the banality of knowing only one culture.

“What do you want to do in life?” is a common question college students face. A typical answer is, “Travel the world”. What does this mean? Going on a family vacation to Disneyworld is not the same thing as natural disaster relief work; yet, both are defined as travel. Knowing what you want to get out of a trip will help narrow down the available possibilities. For college students, options include studying abroad, backpacking, Woofing, Gap Years, work programs, internships, Teaching ESL, volunteering, and plenty more. A few months abroad will help students who know they like travelling to figure out what it is about travelling that they like. For people who don’t like to travel, spending time overseas can do one of two things: help solidify the pre-existing notion that getting out of the comfort zone is a nightmare, or form new opinions about the possibilities of other cultures having things to enjoy.

Budgets will need to be made, saved for, and spent, but in the end, it’s better to die with experience than money. There are significant differences in what each program offers. Schooling abroad is a default choice, but actually doing homework and focusing on grades can be painstakingly strenuous. We would all like to spend our holiday lounging by the pool in a luxury hotel, but that’s easier said than paid for. It is important to consider learning valuable skills for strategic resume building(a new language). A job or volunteer position abroad can be an interesting stand-out item for the CV. Some people prefer a homestay, where life will be simplistic with home cooked meals, compared to living in an apartment or shared flat where independence is abundant. Isolation and immersion can be beneficial for a variety of reasons. Introverts can learn to come out of their shell, and extroverts can learn to thrive in solitude. It would be foolish to not completely assess the risks as well. Talking directly with the people whose job it is to send students abroad will provide the detailed questions and answers.

Graduation can be a slap-in-the-face realization for people. The pressure is on. It’s time to select a career and then maybe a spouse. It’s not a good time to have an emotional breakdown. Don’t avoid thinking hard about the core of your character, as it will affect the types of relationships, personal and professional, fostered throughout life. These things will undoubtedly impact life’s happiness like a meteor.

Living in a foreign country for  at least a three months allows a fresh kind of freedom to arise. The conscious boat will be rocked, so to speak. It is true that the food, wine, books, adventure, relationships, and beaches are “the fruits of life”, and experiencing them in new ways can shape your life’s definition of success. A global network of associates never hurt anyone’s chances of success, either. Having a great, safe travel experience will depend on awareness and action. Going independently means that other people’s preferences will never be the trump card in deciding what happens. Focus is heightened. The consequences are real. It erases the controlling environment of home, and forces unabridged intrapersonal and oft repressed realities into conscious clarity. The familiar people in life shape our thoughts, styles, sayings, preferences, and tangibly speaking, our brains. None of these familiar vectors will be present once the plane takes off, and that moment will be the freest you have ever felt.

– Charlie I.