Staying abroad for the first time
Isabel is 19 years old and currently doing her gap year. Last year, she finished high school and didn’t really know what to do with her live career wise: “I had applied for a few universities but never really had the feeling: that’s the one!” When she talked about her situation with her former Spanish teacher she suggested: “It doesn’t make any sense if you just sit around and wait for a whole year. How about going abroad to get some working experience?” So, after this pep talk at the end of last year she decided to actually go abroad in January. In retrospective, she would have loved to go abroad earlier but was happy that she got to do it for 9 weeks in the end.
Since it was her first proper time abroad (besides vacations, of course) she was pretty nervous prior to her stay. Yet, she felt like she was in good hands with Katharina, her contact person at Sí-internships: “I was a little scared because I didn’t know what to expect. That’s why I really appreciated the opportunity to skype three times with Katharina while I was still in Germany to clarify all my questions and doubts.”
Why an internship in a kindergarten and why in Spain?
She had the idea to work in a kindergarten because one of her friends had done an internship abroad in a kindergarten as well – on the island Tenerife. Since her friend was very enthusiastic about her experience, Isabel also wanted to test whether working with kids was an option for her future career.
At first she also thought about going to the Canary Islands but in the end she decided to take the offer she got in Barcelona. She had already visited the city a couple of times before and really liked its atmosphere. In addition, she wanted to improve her skills in Spanish – therefore, Barcelona was the perfect opportunity!
About the Internship
Even though she found out that working at a kindergarten is not her cup of tea, she’s happy that she has made this experience. She loved having a daily task as well as always meeting new people which especially boosted her language skills. During the week, after work, she participated in a Spanish course and, especially in the kindergarten, she spoke English everyday. Although, due to the cultural shock, the beginning wasn’t that easy, she quickly accustomed to the working hours and the responsibility at work. “I will always remember the emotional and special moments I shared with the babies.” Moreover, she will miss her colleagues very much: “They all were so kind and understanding”.
Insider Tips – Cafés, Bars and Sightseeing Spots
Isabel gathered a lot of insider tips she would like to share with us. Two bars she liked a lot were the First Bar and the bar Bosc de les Fades, both close to the Ramblas. Moreover, she also loved going to cafés in her spare time, for example to the Taranna, The Juice House or her absolute favourite: the Tropico. Since she lived in the neighbourhood of Poble Sec she had a great advantage: the “famous” Carrer de Blai, a street full of tapas bars offering pintxos and drinks for little money, was only a short walk away. When asked about her favourite sightseeing spot she knew immediately: “Definitely the Bunkers del Carmel during sunset hours! There’s nothing better than sitting there on a sunny day with a glass of wine and some chocolate.”
Isabel’s Favourite Weekend
“My highlight was definitely the road trip to Girona and along the Costa Brava with three friends who I met during my first intern meeting.” She, especially, loved the house they rented which was located directly at the beach as well as the car ride itself. “In general, I am so happy that I met so many lovely people in such a short period of time. We’re already planning a reunion for autumn!”
Doing an Internship Abroad: Yes or No?
“Yes, definitely! Even though it might not always be easy, I can recommend to everyone to just do it. If you have the financial means you should definitely take the chance. Even though I only stayed for a few weeks I have learned so much about myself! I really feel like I’ve become more mature and independent”, Isabel concludes. “I had to live on my own for the first time and learn how to manage my own household. In addition, I learned how to address things directly and to enforce my interests which made me way more confident. That’s why I can definitely recommend going abroad because it will boost your personal development.”