This is the last week of my internship and I can feel the nerves bundle up in the pit of my stomach and in my hands. I feel like I still have so much left to do. These past two weeks, I have felt so immersed in the culture and in my work that it is hard to imagine how I will function after this experience. This week was particularly very busy as I was finishing up all my responsibilities and roles in the organization. I have conducted about eight entry interviews along with getting the new residents accustomed to the way the center works. This week it has been particularly difficult knowing that I will no longer be able to work in this center and not only help the residents and my coworkers, but also get to know them.
I have found that success in Spain, just like all over the world, is very dependent on ones goals. Spain in particular has had many issues with the employment industry since most people have excellent formation yet struggle to find a job that equivalates to their skills or the payrate that they deserve. In this sense, success might mean getting a job that actually pays a fair salary. For others, success might mean being able to perform your job in the most efficient way, in which your coworkers or the people you work for are always satisfied with what you do. In the industry I was working in, which is social work, a lot of the success or satisfaction that one feels is similar to that of American culture, in which you do as much as you can.
Before this internship, I underestimated how much work it would truly be. This was my first time working in anything related to social work and I definitely understand how it can be very overwhelming. I think a lot of the success people feel is knowing that you did absolutely everything you could to help the person you are working for. The biggest frustrations come from legal barriers that limit how much you can actually do for the residents, which is honestly sometimes pretty difficult to deal with. However, I think that success in Spain isn’t focused so much on the professional aspect, but how you balance your professional life with your personal life. I think being happy and healthy is especially prioritized and can be easily seen all over Spanish culture. Success, I think, comes from being content. It comes from learning how to be an efficient worker and how to still enjoy life. I definitely appreciated how people are prioritized over work.
These past two weeks that I was largely working by myself, I learned what it means to be an effective or successful worker. In the field I was working with, I found that time management and organization are essential to be truly successful. If you don’t have these skills you are sure to get overwhelmed, which brings me to the second point of being a successful worker. In this field, it is essential to manage feelings of being overwhelmed and learn how to deal with them effectively, which largely comes from completing work as needed. I think that as long as people have the necessary skills for the position and actively practice them at work, they are most likely to be effective.
I found that my coworkers and supervisor thought I was an effective worker when I completed my tasks on time and even beyond what they expected me to accomplish in the given time frame. Because there is a lot of paperwork in the field, as long as you are up to date with everything that needs to be done, your work will not only be effective, but will help your coworkers complete their jobs with the same efficacy. The more effective I was at work, the more responsibilities I was given, which made me feel like I was truly collaborating and making meaningful contributions to the organization. In this way, I think the behaviors and actions of a successful employee in Spain are very similar to those of the United States, in which you actively practice skills that are necessary to your field. I think the only thing that differs is the attitude, as mentioned earlier, in which people truly value a work life balance and consider true satisfaction with life to be success.