Trabajando Con Esteban: Healthcare Work in the LGBT Community

Esteban C. is currently a healthcare intern in Madrid for a local LGBT organization. The work he is doing for the LGBT community in Spain is impacting the locals. 

Adjusting to Spain

LGBT Spain

 

It has been two months since I landed in sunny Madrid, and I can’t believe my time in this city is coming to an end. The insight into the Spanish culture, language, and lifestyle are unlike anything I’ve experienced before. The people I have worked with, the places I’ve seen, the food I’ve eaten have left lasting impacts on me. I came into the program a little anxious, and to be honest, the first few weeks were difficult. It was difficult adjusting to the time difference, the transportation system, a new internship, and being alone in a new place.

Spanish is my first language so I did not take the Spanish classes offered. It left me lonely and prevented me from meeting any fellow travelers. I had trouble with figuring out how to get around, and since I did not know anyone I was nervous to go out. This fear was unlike me, as I am an incredibly social person, but for some reason, I felt uncomfortable. This led to an almost debilitating anxiety that kept me in my apartment most days after work. Once I became a little more confident with the Spanish, the metro, and living on my own I was able to get out and take advantage of all Madrid has to offer.

Healthcare in the LGBT Community

LGBT Spain

 

I came to Spain to work with a Health internship with an LGBT organization called Fundación Triangulo. I worked different hours depending on the needs of the organization, from scheduling rapid HIV tests to tabling with the Spanish Red Cross on the street. Spain takes its summer vacation in August, so when my internship location closed for 2 weeks, I worked with another organization called COLEGAS, another LGBT group, and helped educate the local community about LGBT rights as well as volunteered at a food stand to help during the Fiestas de Lavapies, one of three religious festivals celebrated for the first 2 weeks in Madrid.

Through this work, I was able to work closely with members of the LGBT community as well as local citizens and develop my interpersonal, educational, and organizational skills. Being able to observe how HIV tests are done and the struggles that Spanish members of the LGBT community still face was eye-opening and something that would have been difficult to do in the United States. I was given a glimpse into how a local NGO works and the intricacies that come from the day-to-day job. Since one of my majors is Global Health, I was able to apply what I learned in my classes and experience working in the public health sector, albeit in another country.

The Culture

LGBT Spain

While I worked hard from Monday to Friday, I still took the time to enjoy myself. I tried tons of new food, visited tons of museums, met many new people, and even traveled a little around Spain! Through weekend trips through Barcelona, Toledo, Seville, and Granada, I learned more about the rich culture this country has to offer. Surprisingly, I learned a lot about myself and did things I never had before. Like staying in a hostel and going to a music festival alone. The travelers I met and the great times I had will stay with me forever.

Madrid is a bustling city, combining old architecture with the hustle and commerce of a modern city; however, it’s this juxtaposition which creates its unique flair. Overall, my summer has been a wild ride, but certainly a welcome one. If you are looking to travel abroad, Spain is the place to do it!

Learn more about Adelante Abroad’s Madrid, Healthcare and LGBTQ programs at www.adelanteabroad.com.

The Dos & The Don’ts of Traveling in Spain

 

You need to know the Dos and the Don’ts of traveling in Spain if you’re planning to blend in, or at least attempting to. Traveling is very exciting but there’s a lot of planning and packing that has to get done. Yet, sometimes we forget to do one of the most important parts… research on the culture! It is important to have cultural knowledge of the specific place you’re traveling in order to avoid any international trouble as well! We’ve all heard stories…

Here’s What You Need to Know…

1. Passports must be valid for at least 3 months after your planned departure date. You may be denied boarding and/or denied entry to any of the 26 European countries in the Schengen area. Make sure you’re not left behind!

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2. Leave regionalism and religion out of your discussion topics:

Regionalism and religious topics are very sensitive for Spaniards. Avoid swearing and using God’s name in vain, it may offend the people around you.

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3. Catalonia has its own language and culture – They really take pride in their own language and culture, again be cautious about bringing up regionalism topics.

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4. Don’t even think about walking around the city streets with a swimsuit. It is illegal in cities like Palma de Mallorca, Malaga, and Barcelona. Unless you are on the beach or surrounding streets, you may end up with a fine! It’s not worth the Instagram post… make sure to bring a cover-up.

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5. DO Dress accordingly- If you are visiting a sacred place, a monastery or church make sure to dress accordingly to avoid any trouble. Spaniards follow seasonal fashion rules! Leave those shorts back home if you’re planning to go during winter.

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6. DO Learn about their culture- Myths and beliefs they have, like not passing the salt shaker from hand to hand. According to Spanish belief, it is bad luck to do so! Don’t forget to leave a cactus on your window, it will ward off evil spirits from entering your home.

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A little superstitious…

7. Friday the 13th? Nope, it’s Tuesday 13 – Don’t even think about leaving bed.
Tuesday= bad luck. Their saying for Tuesday is: En Martes, ni te cases, ni te embarques, ni de tu casa te apartes – which translates to “On Tuesday, don’t get married, don’t board, don’t leave the house.”

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Late dinner is the new late night snack

8. Don’t expect dinner before 9 PM. Don’t plan to have dinner before 9 PM, restaurants won’t open before. Trust me, you don’t want to be THAT person.

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Don’t think you’re the only one who is late…

9. Be patient, don’t rush! Expect to wait 15 to 30 minutes. Spaniards typically are not strict about punctuality so, if you’re running a bit late, relax! DO take your time.

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10. El Coco- Who hasn’t heard about hundreds of stories about the Boogieman? In Spain, children refer to the Boogieman as ‘El Coco’, the terrifying creature that eats or kidnaps kids who misbehave. According to legend in the 20th century, ‘El Coco’ was Francisco Ortega, El Moruno, who was sick of tuberculosis and was told the cure was to drink children blood, so he did, by kidnapping a 7-year-old boy. Don’t leave your naughty children unattended.

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At the end of the day, make sure you make friends while abroad. They might give you a few tips that are hard to find on the internet. If you’re interested in interning abroad in Spain, read more on Madrid, Barcelona, and Seville.

Scotland from a Candidate’s Perspective

The Scotland Abroad Program spots fill up fast because of how organized and affordable the program is. Our two programs, Equine and Observation & Research, include housing, transportation from the airport, meals throughout the week and more! These programs allow you to expand your resume with international experience and give you the opportunity to travel the beautiful landmarks in Scotland.

Scotland – Equine Program

The Equine Program is a special four-week program available for animal science and pre-veterinary students. Candidates are enrolled into two courses, Equine Anatomy & Physiology and Equine Fitness. These two units will give you six hours of US credit and are fully transferable towards your degree. When future employers look at a candidate’s resume, they find interest in their experience abroad because it reassures them that the candidate is capable of working outside their comfort zone. Candidates take advantage of this learning experience and travel on the weekends to nearby locations, which tends to be affordable.

Scotland

 

Scotland – Observation & Research Program

The Observation & Research Program is aimed at serious students with academic observational and research assignments in different sectors, which include agricultural business, ecology and conservation, psychology, speech and hearing sciences and more! This six-week program, like the Equine Program, begins in mid-May and is one of our most popular summer programs.

Scotland

Candidate Spotlight – Natalie M.

Our Scotland programs are one of the most popular programs for our summer candidates. We like to receive feedback and stories from our candidates about their experiences during the internship/study abroad program itself. It gives you, the reader, a better understanding of what you could possibly do in the future.  Our Observation and Research candidate, Natalie M., wrote about her time in Scotland and gave us more insight on what it’s like to be an intern abroad.
Check it out!

Observation & Research Candidate, Natalie M., Blog

Scotland