The last week of my time abroad this summer was the culmination of my first time in Europe, first work experience in my career field, first time living with a host family, first time interacting with a lot of different cultures in the same country, and many more moments that I was only able to experience and live this past 12 weeks by being in Madrid. For sure, the most important experience this summer was doing an international internship instead of an internship in the US because of the great advantages that are tightly linked to work in a foreign country. My dream and goal for my life is to travel within my field job. This is my second time abroad while being a student at Pitt, and after finishing my internship and reflecting about it I know that I can work globally in a few years. I will be a professional businesswoman working around the world!
I decided to spend my last weekend travelling, but this time outside of Spain. Since this is my first time in Europe, I took advantage of this opportunity by visiting a new country, Germany. Also, I wanted to see my friend, who is also an IIP student, and share our experiences before starting class on August. I was supposed to arrive in Berlin on Friday night, but sadly my flight got cancelled and I ended up arriving Saturday at around noon. Thanks to my friend Jeff, I went to a lot of touristic and non-touristic sites, tried new food, practiced a new language (German is harder than I thought), interacted with locals, used different means of public transportation, and the best part is that I had a lot of fun while exploring an exciting environment.
A big cultural difference that my friend helped me notice between Madrid and Berlin was the lifestyle. After living in Madrid for 2.5 months, I am proud to say that I could live like locals do. When I went to Berlin, I was walking and eating at a slower pace than the majority of people. In Madrid, locals like to walk slow and take a lot of the space on the streets. I think is because they don’t feel the necessity to rush to their destinations. Also, eating is considered a social activity, specially dinner. They like to talk about their work or school, meet with friends and have some drinks to continue socializing. In a restaurant, even if you finish eating the waitress will not bring you the check unless you ask for it. In Germany, people ate also at an earlier time than Spain. Now that I am back in the US, it will take me some time to get used to the culture in here because it is more similar to Berlin than Spain.
My last week at Be Madrid felt the same as other previous weeks regarding the amount of work for me to do. However, my supervisor asked me if I wanted to help her with the creation of events and front desk, and I gladly agreed to be involved in projects not related to accounting or finance. With events, I saw that some of the trips had a different layout from others or extra information, so I decided to create a template. My supervisor told me that she liked my templates a lot because it includes important information and details, and it will be easier for the new interns to create events by using the this template. Also, I wrote descriptions of trips while doing some research about cities in Spain and at the same time this increased my knowledge about Spain and its culture. I reviewed the grammar, dates and tickets in English and Spanish and made sure that the information matched with the one from the official webpage. With front desk, I welcomed our clients and customers, answered the phone, registered them for our trips, and thanks to this I could record a sale and receive a payment at the same time.
Regarding the social aspect at my work, I built long lasting relationships. Some of them strictly work related, others personal or both. At cultural and social activities, I talked with international and exchange students about our culture, and time abroad in Spain. I made new friends from France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico and the United States. My coworkers were and are the best part of my internship. We worked hard, had meals together, collaborated in projects, worked over the weekends, share our stories and backgrounds, and we made a promise to keep in contact and see each other again. Working full time for the first time made me realize that doing your duties is important but not as essential as networking, communicating and interacting with a diverse group of people.
I would like to thank my family, parents and siblings, for always supporting me and helping me make my dreams come true. Also, my extended family, friends, professors and advisors for believing in me, their advices, and motivating me to keep moving forward. Finally, my international coworkers, Spanish host family and IIP Madrid classmates for making my summer an unforgettable one. Can’t wait to study abroad next year in another incredible Pitt program! ¡Muchas gracias España y nos volveremos a ver muy pronto!