It is undoubtedly brave to enrol on an internship, and set off to a new country on your own in search of adventure, excitement and the chance to learn another language.
However there is a fine line between bravery and stupidity, and for me to expect an internship to mirror my ‘good times’ University life, with the main difference being the climate, definitely erred on the side of stupidity. An internship provides so much more, as you find yourself immersed in a whole new culture, completely out of your depth, and yet relishing each new day.
My Internship Experience in Spain: Work & Learn
To say I had a culture shock upon moving in with a Spanish family, with little in the way of the communication between us, is to put it mildly. I was all for diving straight back under the safety blanket that is my English culture, and jumping on the first plane available. However gentle persuasion from my family ensured I put a smile on my face and begin to explore the great city that is Barcelona.
I found that despite my embarrassing lack of Spanish, my flatmates were generous, patient, and more than willing to welcome me into their home. On reflection I feel there is no better way to partake in an internship than to live with the people of the country as; as well as invoking a desire to learn and providing ample opportunities to practice, it gives you the chance to learn the true Spanish culture as you are living right at the heart of it.
Your work as intern also introduces you to Spanish culture, as it is no longer possible to be an observing tourist, instead you must partake in Spanish life. Thus your internship provides goals and ambitions to your holiday, and I find myself writing articles while on the beach, or researching the Barcelona transport system while taking in the sights, all the while practising my Spanish and enjoying my experience immensely.
An internship is not the dreaded addition of work to what would otherwise be a perfectly good holiday, it is rather a chance to further your education and experience whilst broadening your horizons, and testing your boundaries. I have found myself to be capable of things I once would have found daunting such as exploring a brand new city by myself, and this in turn has boosted my confidence and can only have a good effect upon my future.
Learning a new language has also provided me with opportunities for the future, as I am enjoying my course so much that I would like to continue lessons when I go home. The Spanish classes are a great addition to any internship as there is a friendly and fun atmosphere in the lessons, and I find myself learning Spanish far faster than I ever did in my High School lessons.
The language schools also provide the chance to make plenty of new friends, which is important as it is far more fun to explore the city, experience the vast nightlife with somebody. It can be a bit lonely and daunting at first if you are travelling on your own, and I would recommend living with people of a similar age, going on plenty of group excursions such as tours, and making lots of plans with new friends.
Internships add a whole new dimension to your average holiday, providing the chance to gain experience and learn a new language; they also allow you to make new friends, unforgettable memories and live life in Spain as the Spanish do.