Anna (26) and Alina (23) are studying Intercultural Business Psychology in Germany. They came to Barcelona to do a mandatory internship as part of their bachelor studies.
Expectations Prior to their Stay
Anna tells me: “I wanted to make the experience of living abroad to find out whether I would be able to manage life in a foreign country and to get to know the Spanish culture. Usually, I’m always on time and very organized so I was hoping to adapt the relaxed mentality of the Spaniards”. Moreover, she says, she wanted to work in the areas of Human Resources and Customer Service since she had already done that during her apprenticeship and enjoyed it a lot. That’s why she liked the internship description on the Sí-internships website a lot. Alina adds: “I have always loved the Spanish language and culture. Plus, I’ve been thinking about moving abroad permanently so I wanted to ‘test’ Spain as an option.” When looking for an internship she mainly focused on the field of marketing but, at the same time, wanted to work in customer service because she wanted to overcome her insecurities when talking on the phone. That’s why, she says, the internship offer in Barcelona fit her profile perfectly.
Anna and Alina both did their internship at a placement agency for volunteer work and internships worldwide. Their tasks were very diverse: Alina mainly focused on the mediation of interns with a main emphasis on the US but also conducted a target group analysis. Moreover, she did social media marketing in form of Facebook – and Instagram posts and monthly newsletters. Anna, on the other hand, focused on the placement of volunteers. In addition, she worked a lot in customer service by also covering the field of customer relationship management. Moreover, she got an insight into the areas of marketing and human resources.
The atmosphere at the office was really good and both felt comfortable right from the start. Furthermore, both had the opportunity to spend their lunch breaks at the beach because the way from their office in Poblenou to the sea just took a few minutes.
“It’s really easy to make friends here”, both say. Especially in the beginning, the monthly intern meetings at bars and restaurants across the city were a great way to get to know people and make friends. “All interns of sí-internships are also part of a Facebook- and WhatsApp group so it was very easy to connect with each other and make plans to explore the city.”, both say. Moreover, through the huge amount of Erasmus students it’s easy to meet a lot of young people that are trying to connect with others. Another tip from the two: You should join at least one Erasmus Facebook group because they organize city tours and excursions on a regular basis. The girls also got to know people through their international flatmates so they never felt alone. “Moreover”, says Alina, “you should find a hobby here. I’d recommend joining a gym, a running club or a Spanish course.” In general, you shouldn’t be afraid to not know any Spanish because you can survive with only speaking English here as well.
Anna and Alina have experienced a lot in Barcelona and therefore have a lot of tips they want to share with us. Especially in spring and summer they can recommend trips to the Bunkers de Carmel which offer an amazing view over the whole city and are a great place to picnic. Anna, furthermore, was really thrilled about her trips to the Montjuïc since she was able to enjoy the tranquility there and to switch off from the hectic everyday life in Barcelona. Culinary wise they also have some insider tips for us: a few of their favourite restaurants and bars are the Carabela Bar or the tapas bar Gats in the district of El Raval. They can also recommend taking trips to destinations outside of the city for example hiking on the Montserrat or day trips to Sitges or Girona.
Anna experienced her favourite Barcelona highlight every day anew. She is an early bird and walked to work on the beach every morning – so she didn’t miss a sunrise once! Alina’s highlight was the dancing to Spanish rhythms and to live music playing in a number of bars.
Moreover, a joint highlight of both were the traditional, annual Festas de Major in the different districts of the city in late summer. These celebrations are dedicated to the Saint that is the patron of the respective barrio. The residents decorate the streets with colourful decorations and offer tasty traditional Spanish foods.
Drawing a Conclusion
“This isn’t the last time Barcelona has seen us!”, both agree. They would definitely do the internship again and also plan on visiting the office when they’re back in here on vacation. “It’s such a pity that time has passed so fast, I’d love to stay a little longer.”, says Alina. “I’m especially going to miss the great restaurants here. It’s possible to eat somewhere else every day and to still not know a majority of restaurants after half a year”. Anna adds: “Come to Barcelona in summer: the sun is shining, the lifestyle is beautiful and everyone’s always in a great mood. ”