This week has been filled with many different emotions. Firstly, I went on a solo weekend trip to Granada. This was my first time traveling alone and I just have to say… I LOVED it! I got to Granada Friday night and immediately met one of my roommates; he invited me to go to a Feria with a few other Americans. The night was filled with a lot of dancing, making new friends, and fun rides. On Saturday, I went to a large street market, visited the Alhambra, and wondered around the Albacín neighborhood. Although it was excruciatingly hot, I managed to push through and spend most of the day outside exploring. I even met a Pittsburgh alumni on my bus ride to the Alhambra!! We really do go “To the World”! That night at the hostel, I met even more Americans that are also studying abroad; we ended up getting dinner and ice cream all together. Sunday was relaxing and I decided to just wonder around new parts of the city and go wherever the day took me. While this IIP program has shown me a lot about myself, this solo trip only made it even more obvious. I am realizing that while I really do enjoy spending a lot of time with friends and meeting people and planning new activities, I need time by myself to just think and do whatever I want in that moment. Also, I would describe myself as an extrovert, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get nervous at the thought of putting myself out there and introducing myself to new people. Although, in Granada, I forced myself to make small talk with new people to be friendly and each and every time I did that, I left feeling happier and typically with a new friend! It proved to me that while not everyone is going to want to be my friend, it is always better to try, then to never try at all. Secondly, I have been a little sad this week at the thought of only having three weeks left in Spain. I am especially heartbroken by the fact that I must leave my host family. Both the parents and the kids welcomed me into their home with open arms and have brought so much joy into my world. Although I want to stay here forever with them, I keep reminding myself that this is definitely not my last time in Spain and when I do come back, my first stop will be this house.
Along with learning things about myself, I have also learned about the leadership style I appreciate the most. Before this internship started, I would have said that being organized, open to new ideas, giving people space to solve problems or create ideas on their own, but while giving them general guidelines so the organization has the same goals in mind. Additionally, a good leader is someone who can give constructive criticism, but also knows when to give support and thanks for their team’s hard work. After this internship, I would still describe good leadership qualities as such. However, I have really learned how valuable it is to give team members space to solve problems/develop new concepts. At my internship, I have completed multiple tasks which have required a lot of critical thinking. For example, during my first week my boss assigned me two business case studies to review, analyze, and then answer questions about it. These case studies were very challenging as one of them involved supply chain concepts my classes have not fully covered and additionally, both were in Spanish. However, my boss gave me all the time I needed to understand and answer the questions and was also very helpful when I needed to ask a question. Another example of a problem I had to solve is when I was given the task of creating an excel sheet to keep track of our returns, but I need to include multiple factors, including but not limited to: lot number, SKU, and sort it by month and week. This took multiple attempts, but at each step my director gave me specific feedback and targeted advice on how to improve the model. These two examples, along with many others, have proven to me over and over that good leadership is having trust in your team, but when they do need guidance, to not knock them for not knowing how to do it the first time. Rather, a good leader understands the importance of balancing constructive feedback and encouragement.
A message from my host family:
Silvia, lucia, Jorge, pablo y Saoirse <3 (The names of all the kiddos)
H4L1 S3LV31 (It means Hola Silvia in a code Silvia learned in school)