Maria’s International Internship Story
Here is one student’s personal account of how her international internship… Maria’s story.
My internship in Granada was an amazing experience. It allowed me to see another whole aspect of Spanish life. I had studied in abroad in Spain for about four months and during that period received an email from my university’s study abroad office about this internship working for the Union Iberoamericano de Municipalistas. I wanted to stay in Spain a while longer so I applied. The application process simply consisted of sending an email to the UIM that told them why I would be a great candidate for the position. I did not have to go through a formal interview process.
Eventually I found out I got the position! I was so excited and a bit nervous at the same time. I wasn’t very sure what to expect but I knew that regardless of my fears, it was going to be one of the best experiences of my life.
I worked for the UIM for about a month. It wasn’t that long but in that month I picked up on a lot. The main thing that stuck out in my mind was the fact that I was no longer speaking my first language. I have become pretty comfortable with speaking Spanish, although this was not always the case. I did not have the option in Granada because everyone spoke Spanish. They knew it was a tough situation and their understanding of the challenge made me more comfortable. It made me realize that I could make mistakes when speaking and that I shouldn’t feel embarrassed about it because after all it isn’t my first language.
I thought I was going to be judged and was more apprehensive about things but the reassured me that they understood how difficult it was for me. I can honestly say that the Spanish in general are very understanding and compassionate.
Another neat thing was that everyday we would take a break, which usually lasted a little over half an hour, where we would go to a nearby cafe for coffee and toast. It was a really great chance for me to get to know my co-workers much better. We would usually go in small groups that would change on a daily basis. It provided for a more comfortable setting where we would talk about various things from traveling to work to future plans. It was something I looked forward to everyday and not just because there was food involved!
Aside from the language barrier, I didn’t encounter too many problems. I had a great time and it was awesome to see that side of Spanish culture. Everyone was very welcoming and accepting of me.
The people I worked with were also much older than I was so they were a bit surprised to find out that I was only 21. However, at the end of the internship I knew I had done a great job because they let me know how much they appreciated the work that I had done. In fact, they even threw me a small going away party. I knew that they appreciated the work I had done.
After completing my internship, I can honestly say that I could see myself working their in the near future.
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