Before coming to Madrid this summer I knew what internships were but I never actually had one. There are many generalizations that surround internships that can sometimes ring true or false. The generalizations that I had about internships were as follows: you’re usually the youngest member of the team, you have to get coffee for people, many coworkers don’t know your name and refer to you as “the intern”, you spend most of your time by the paper shredder and your duties usually revolve around filing documents. while this can be the case for some internships, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the amount of work that I am given and also the amount of confidence my supervisor has in me when it comes to using the center’s online database.
I basically do what my supervisor does. I think it would be appropriate to call myself the “social worker in training”. My tasks are not solely filing documents and shredding paper. I actually complete tasks that are necessary for the center to run in an effective and timely manner. What I do is important. I never could have imagined that my responsibilities would include managing the health care and economic assistance of another person. It’s a great feeling knowing that what you’re doing every day is actually making a difference.
Working at a center for refugees who are seeking asylum has definitely broadened my global mindset. Most of the residents currently living at the center are from Venezuela and then the next two largest groups are from Ukraine and Palestine. In addition to learning about the Spanish government and their refugee asylum process, I’ve also learned a lot about the current political situation in Venezuela from a first hand perspective. By having conversations with residents I’m able to better understand what being a refugee actually means.
While I’ve been an intern at CAR de Vallecas, I have been able to sit in on initial interviews that are given to residents when they first enter the center. These interviews go over medical history, family background, educational background, work experience and why this person has left their home country. On my second or third day of work my supervisor told me that I would be conducting one of these interviews on my own. This means asking questions in a way that is clear to the resident and makes them feel comfortable all the while typing what is said in a relatively cohesive manner. A few days ago I was told that I would conduct one of these interviews that day. I couldn’t help but feel nervous and reviewed the interview outline probably about 13 times before having to give the interview. I was finally told to go back into the office and that the resident would be coming in shortly. I was grateful that the interview would just be the resident and I (if my supervisor was in the room my level of nervousness would’ve been through the roof). During the interview my nervousness subsided and it actually went really well.
After a long week at work I finally get to relax this weekend and am taking a trip to Valencia! Looking forward to spending the day on the beach and enjoying delicious paella.