Una semana después…

One week ago, I was boarding a flight to come to Europe for the first time in my life. I was very excited, but I was also very nervous and anxious. Luckily, having someone else from Pitt to travel with (shoutout Jesse) calmed my nerves and made the trip much easier. In just a week, I have learned so much about Madrid and I truly feel right at home. We have explored many neighborhoods in the city and each one amazes me. I have an amazing host family who does their best to ensure that I am comfortable in this new setting. I am gaining confidence in my ability to understand and comprehend the language with each passing day.

Today, Tuesday May 17th, I interviewed for and accepted a new placement (that’s why this blog is a day late). My original placement didn’t use much Spanish in their everyday work (it was a school for children to learn English), and it also would not have provided me with as many hours as I wanted. The reason I chose this program was to use Spanish in the workplace each day and significantly improve my ability to speak it by the end of the trip. I knew that I needed to switch my placement in order to achieve this. I worked with the company who places us and luckily we were able to find an alternative – a company where I will be completing similar marketing activities but in a Spanish-speaking environment for several more hours per week.  

I will be working for two slightly different companies that work together in an office. AIPC Pandora and LEA Global Pathways are both founded and directed by Ann Eseverri, who is also my supervisor and will be guiding me through the internship. AIPC Pandora is a nonprofit organization that offers youth programs, teaching, and mentoring in various industries in more than 60 countries. LEA Global Pathways is another nonprofit organization that offers universities all over the world tailored educational programs, also offering services covering various areas of study. 

One key strength necessary for success is creativity. Particularly for my marketing duties, creativity is needed to help distinguish these organizations from others. Developing unique strategies is a challenge I will face immediately. A more important concept is increasing awareness of the organizations. During the interview, my supervisor told me how this is one of the most important things that must be addressed. Since these programs are designed for people in other nations, we must discover ways of effectively communicating with organizations outside of Spain. We have discussed some potential ways of doing this, and we will continue to find more creative ways over the next couple months. 

Another skill that is required for my position is a willingness to learn new ideas. Since this is my first official internship, I do not have a ton of experience with various platforms and sites. I must learn from my supervisor and coworkers in order to be successful in this job. This will require lots of patience as many times these abstract ideas can be very tedious. A language barrier, in addition to many unfamiliar ideas, will add to the challenge. I must remain calm and have trust in my abilities to allow my confidence to rise. 

Another skill that is required is communication. I learned during my interview today that I will be working with another student, as well as many experienced members of the organizations. Learning how to work as a team will make the tasks much easier and more efficient. Bringing together ideas from different perspectives will allow for growth that is otherwise not possible.  

Adapting to the work culture in Spain will be difficult. There are many factors that affect a workplace. For example, time and urgency is virtually nonexistent in Spain. In the United States, things are planned ahead and are carried out in a formal and timely manner. In Spain, time is flexible and nothing is rushed; it happens when it happens. I have already noticed this when communicating with the people in Spain to find a job placement. It’s just something to keep in mind as I work here for the next two months. Also, in Spain, group work is valued much more than in the United States. In a job where I know I will be always working with others, I must learn about each individual as quickly as possible and try to adjust my work behaviors in a way that aligns with theirs. 

Hasta pronto!