I still can’t believe that I have been in Spain for over a month! Time flies! Well, I need to use my time wisely for the next 6 weeks in order to enjoy every day of my time abroad. This week, I wanted to tell you more about my internship experience. As I said in previous blogs, I am working in a business called Be Madrid. They are a community of international and exchange students that works by providing services to new students that arrive to the city of Madrid. Some of the services they offer are phone, banking, health insurance, legal services and housing. They also organize events for people to get to know each other and have fun in Madrid. I would say that events are divided in two main categories: cultural and social. Some of the cultural events that my office offers are sangria workshops in which you can learn how to make the typical drink of Spain, tortilla workshops in which you prepare the famous Spanish dish that contains eggs, potatoes and onions, flamenco shows to watch a show of flamenco in a “tablao” which is a bar/club that has a small stage in the middle for flamenco performances. Other cultural activities include tasting different “tapas” which are similar to appetizers but they are usually accompanied by an alcoholic drink, tasting spanish wines and a tour in the city of Madrid. The social events are basically going to clubs late at night and enjoy some drinks and live music. They organize these social events because is a way for them to promote their business and let their main customers, international students, have a spanish experience for free and meet new people. All the employees that work in the office have to attend social events. The first week I was ignoring those events because it was pretty late but I realize that is the best time to interact more with my coworkers and have fun with them while dancing and listening to music in Spanish. Plus, I don’t go to work until noon so I don’t have to worry about waking up early for work.
Another main objective of Be Madrid is to plan and sell trips inside Spain, and countries next to Spain: Portugal and Morocco. The trips are in general not expensive since they want more people to buy them and to increase their database of customers. I went with them to visit Ávila and Salamanca as a client, and worked as a coordinator in their trip to Toledo. Since I was a coordinator, I traveled for free! All the employees can be coordinators on trips and because this is a job, we don’t have to pay for that trip. Since I am new in the office and city, I just had to count people and make sure that everyone was in the group, and talk about Be Madrid to the people that went on the trip. Most of my friends from Pitt went to this trip, so in my free time I explored the city with them and took beautiful pictures as well enjoyed some delicious tapas and typical deserts. I will be traveling with my company in other trips, but I am not sure if I want to be a coordinator since I want to take photos and not be responsible for a large group of people in a city that I have not been before. In Toledo, some students asked me for information about the city, and I felt bad I couldn’t answer them since that was also my first time in Toledo. Being a coordinator is an important job since people rely on you and you must know information about the place and entertain everyone. I prefer my job as an accountant, but still I am glad that my boss gave me the opportunity to do something new and different besides working with numbers and files.
I work in the Finance and Accounting department, but since it’s a new business, there was only an employee working there before I arrived. His name is Rob and he is from The Netherlands. He speaks Dutch and English, and basic Spanish. He speaks to me all the time in English which I’m grateful for because I need to practice my English skills, specially accounting and business terms. He was my teacher at my job and he did a great job! He is leaving soon to go back to his country because his internship is almost over. When he is gone, I have to teach the job duties to a new intern so I hope to do a good job like he is doing right now teaching me. Since the office is small, I work in the same space with other interns. They have been working for months there, so they know each other very well. My coworkers are from other countries like Italy, Belgium, Mexico and France. I wish there was someone from Spain so I can learn more about the Spanish culture, but I prefer having to interact with different cultures while in Spain since that’s my goal for my future career. All the people that work in the office are very friendly and is easy to get close to them and give them a 2-kiss as a greeting, even to the CEO. In here, everyone talks, eat and do many tasks at the same time. It is a different environment from my work back in Pitt because I am the only one who is a student, and there’s complete silence for hours. I like more the work environment here in Spain, and working in teams and collaborating in ideas and projects with people from different backgrounds. The only thing that I would change is my work schedule. I prefer to enter work at 7 am and finish before 8 pm. However, if I do this, then it would be so hard to wake up for work after going to social events until 1 am three times a week.
I like to take pictures (a lot) to buildings, monuments and even doors! This is my second picture I post with a door on the background. This time, I am guarding the “Alcazar” or museum of the army like spanish soldiers did during the Civil War many years ago. I am protecting Spain from the enemy! Gracias por leer sobre mi experiencia laboral. ¡Nos vemos muy pronto!
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