This past week was Pride week here in Spain, with events almost every single day of the week that contained quite literally millions of people. There was a march that lasted almost two hours rallying for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, el corrido de tacones which is a race people do in heels, and then the parade. It was hectic but in a good way. At work this week, on the other hand, I was left to do many more tasks that I am used to since my supervisor was out at meetings, in which I was left in charge of several tasks that had to be done.
Part of the responsibilities of my supervisor as the social worker of the center is to conduct an entry interview of each resident in which we ask them what they wish to accomplish in Spain, the immigration route, why they left their country and others. This week was pretty exciting since I got to do an entry interview for an incoming resident. Although I missed a few follow up questions, I overall did pretty well and my supervisor gave me pretty good feedback to improve the next time. Over the next few weeks I think I might be able to do more. I have also been filling out a lot more reports and helping my supervisor catch up on missing work.
In terms of soft skills, I think probably one of the skills I have improved the most has been communication. I think I was a bit shy at first because I was self-conscious about my Spanish, even though it is my native language. I think I haven’t lived in a Spanish speaking country for so long that I was shy at first, but now that we are over halfway through the program I have definitely realized that I have become more outspoken. I think I am not as nervous to contribute or to push myself to complete other tasks and ask to take on more responsibilities. In addition, because I have become more outspoken I have noticed that the relationship between my coworkers has improved drastically as we get comfortable with each other.
In addition, my problem solving skills have definitely expanded. I have a very specific way of doing things, which is especially because I get nervous to do something wrong. However, I have come to realize that the only way to learn is by doing it and there is nothing wrong with making mistakes if that means that you learn. My problem solving skills have definitely come to improve as I become more confident in the workplace and experience new ways to problem solve especially through the mentoring of my supervisor and coworkers.
One of the main hard skills I have come to learn has been case management. Because the refugee center prioritizes each family or resident, every refugee carries a different case, in which they might need resources that are different from the others or who may be in a different stage of adaption than other. In this case, it is crucial to keep track of everyone and stay organized. I think this skill is very specific to social workers, but I think it is helpful for me to learn if I go on into a similar field. In this way, by learning case management, not only can this be applied to refugee but can expand to other people or to effectively accomplish certain projects.
Another hard skill that I have definitely come to improve is that of computer skills, especially in using applications such as excel or any others that may facilitate the process of making reports. I honestly had very baseline knowledge on how to this but through this internship I have definitely been able to improve this. In addition to this, I have also learned how to write in a professional manner. I think when I write I write too much as if it was an English essay rather than an informational piece, and this is something I have come to improve while working at the refugee center since many of the reports we have to write need to be concise and to the point.
I think because of the environment I am in, I have come to be more culturally aware, which in turn allows me to acknowledge and consider new perspectives. In this sense, when it comes to navigating situations that I may not be accustomed to, I know I will always be able to refer to the skills I developed during this program in which I am considerate of more than one perspective, which can even be translated into work settings.