How to prepare for Madrid internships
Interning abroad in Madrid, let’s face it, is very cool to say out loud: “What are you doing this summer?” “Oh, I’m interning at X company in Madrid, Spain.” This is sure to shock the majority of your family and friends, and spark a ping of jealousy among many of them too.
But, for anyone who has interned abroad, they know there’s a lot that goes into preparing for the experience too! To truly get the most out of any internship in Madrid, remember to prepare the following five things before leaving your home country:
1. Prepare Yourself
If you don’t want to try the food, meet the people, or live the lifestyle, you might as well stay home.
You are going to an entirely new country with a very different culture. You are going to have to be flexible, adaptable, and open to new things! Things are going to be different from your day-to-day life at home - embrace it! Take the public transit, eat at the normal meal times (10 p.m. dinner anyone?), and try the local cuisine (croquetas and tortilla espanola are two of my absolute faves!). Try to gain an understanding of how life works in Madrid, then decide what aspects do you like more than your home country or what aspects of your home country you now appreciate more.
The best way to prepare yourself, as well as show respect, before entering Madrid is by practicing Spanish! I recommend using - you can use the app on your phone or complete the lessons on their website. It is an amazing way to begin acclimating yourself to the sites and sounds you’ll hear in Madrid! (I highly recommend at least 10-15 minutes a day, every day, before you depart! It will help immensely!).
Always remember to be polite, smile, and adapt to the new life you’re living! Go with the flow and take it all in!
2. Prepare Your Cell Phone
International Cell Phone service can be a pain! Make sure to check with your home country provider to see if your phone is unlocked. If it is, awesome! When you get to Madrid, just go to a provider (like Vodafone or Orange) and buy a SIM card with data. Your phone will work like it does in the U.S. (minus that you can’t text non-iPhones).
If your phone is not unlocked, see if you can get it unlocked and follow the steps above. If you can’t unlock your phone, see what from your current home-country provider OR buy a cheap, old version of an unlocked phone and follow the above steps.
Should you really get data? YES! When you’re interning abroad, this is not the time to “go rogue” and be unreachable. You need data - it will allow you to use your phone like usual, access Google Maps when you get lost, and reach your coordinators in case of an emergency.
3. Prepare Your Wallet
You will spend more abroad. Madrid is an incredibly liveable city and is one of the cheapest Metropolitan cities in Europe - however, you will get excited by the food, shopping, travel opportunities...oh and did I mention food? You didn’t come to Madrid to eat the same things you do at home and sit in your room watching Netflix; you’ll end up shopping for hours on Gran Via, eating tapas at 1 a.m. and traveling to other close countries (like underrated Portugal!) on the weekends.
Additionally, remember to check your credit cards before leaving for Madrid. Make sure you have a card that does not have international transaction fees and one that doesn’t charge you foreign ATM fees. For example, if you get dinner and it costs 20 Euro, on a card with a 5% international transaction fee, you would be charged 21 Euro. Now imagine if you spend 300 Euro on a weekend trip with the same card at 5%, the end total would be 315 Euro. Avoiding those additional costs on each and every transaction can really add up (Seriously, it could save you hundreds by the end of your trip!).
Lastly, remember the exchange rate can change at any time. Currently, it sits at $1.19 for every 1 Euro, which isn’t terrible. Just keep an eye on it, otherwise you may have some surprises to your bank account.
4. Prepare Your Resume
To start, evaluate your true level of Spanish and add it to your resume! Even if you’re a beginner, you’re going to be interning in Spain! Show your employer that you are trying to learn her/his native language. Make sure you present your most polished resume, and include all relevant work and leadership experience clearly on a concise single page. If you need to, use a template; templates are super helpful in presenting your resume in a clear and aesthetically pleasing way!
Want to go above and beyond? Try to rewrite your resume in Spanish. Even if it’s not perfect, employers love to see the effort you’re making!
5. Prepare For Your Life To Be Changed
You will be a different person when you return home than when you left. You will find yourself more compassionate to those different from you. You’ll have an appreciation for the beauty of traveling. You’ll feel a love of adventuring into the unknown. You will have seen sights that left you breathless and your confidence will have grown exponentially. If you can go across the ocean, live without your parents, and work in a foreign culture that speaks another language, what can’t you do?!
***BONUS: Prepare to Bitten by the Travel Bug***
With a new found desire to see all the places you haven’t yet, your life will be different having woken up on the other side of the earth - es un promiso!
Are you prepared for Madrid internships yet?
Whether you view interning abroad because you are searching for the “immersion experience of your life” or a “professional vacation,” you’re bound to grow both personally and professionally during any Madrid internships. As long as you prepare beforehand, stay flexible during, and take time to reflect once you’re back home, your Madrid internship experience is guaranteed to change your outlook on life - and potentially your future career! Con ojos abrir, el mundo es tuyo!
Ready, Set, Find Your Dream Internship in Madrid Now
This article was contributed by The Global Internship by We Find Group, a company that aims to expand students’ global education by providing them with the opportunity to obtain global work experience in Madrid, London, or Lisbon. Each program provides students with all the necessities for a successful internship, including placement options, accommodation, pre-departure assistance, a welcome orientation, cultural activities, coaching, networking, and on the ground support through the 24/7 assistance of a live-in resident director.