08 Aug 56 days. 5 Spanish cities. 25 new friends.
56 days. 5 Spanish cities. 25 new friends. I have been in Madrid for almost two whole months but it feels like I just arrived at the airport yesterday. Each month was filled with adventure and experiences that I will never have again. Nothing else will be able to compare to the days I spent in Madrid with amazing people from around the world!
I will be heading home with excitement to see my family and friends but I will also feel upset knowing that this experience is over. When I get home, I will have a thousand different stories to tell my mom! There are so many unforgettable memories on rooftop terraces, weekend trips, Spanish nightlife and the summer heat.
I loved being able to travel! I went to Toledo, Valencia, Segovia and Barcelona. Each place had its own unique charm that I won’t soon forget. I had the opportunity to experience 2 Pride Festivals; one in Valencia and one in Madrid. The environment was breathtaking! Toledo was nothing like I've ever seen before and Barcelona...well it's Barcelona! I would tell anyone thinking about interning in Madrid to take advantage of the trips planned by Absolute Internship!
Although, this trip was amazing in many different ways, there were definitely challenging times. I came to Spain knowing very little Spanish. In Canada, we are taught French in school so I had barely been exposed to the Spanish language. I knew a few words here and there but ultimately I knew no Spanish.
It’s challenging when I’m wandering the city alone because I cannot understand anyone around me. A few times I could bring out my phone to use a translator but it didn’t always help. Overall, I was able to get by without knowing Spanish and on most occasions people spoke a little English which helped. Although, if I were to do this all over again, I would have made more of an effort to learn some Spanish before arriving. I have learned some words and phrases that have helped me get around the city with more ease.
Madrid has taught me other things as well. I have learned to become more independent and to believe in myself that I can do things. I’m normally the type of person who won’t do things on her own. When I look back, I wasn’t too afraid of getting on a plane and travelling 6000km away from home all by myself. I don’t know how I did that! I have come a long way. Now, I can happily say that I have found my way around the huge city of Madrid all by myself! I am thrilled to have found my independence through this experience as it is something that I have always envied in other people.
I feel I am leaving Madrid having learned a lot. I have learned from my supervisor, Antonio, because he was there for me since day 1. He had guided me with the work I had to complete but he also gave me freedom to work on things without direct supervision. I was able to have responsibility within the company and that has taught me a lot about the working world. All of the employees were so welcoming to me since I arrived in June. They were always kind and spoke English as much as they could to include me in conversations. I am going to miss working alongside Antonio at my host company and I will carry the experience with me for a very long time.
If you’re reading this and you’re thinking about taking a chance and doing something exciting, such as an international internship, my advice is to do it! When I’m 30 years old I still won’t be regretting this decision but if I were to have turned down the offer of this internship I would be regretting it for the rest of my life. I would continue to wonder what I missed out on and what people I will have never gotten the chance to meet. I’m not going to lie but when I got accepted to the program, it was a scary and hard decision but I knew in my heart that I had to do it and I am beyond happy that I did.
Now that I am leaving, I have been asked “what was your most favourite thing about being in Madrid?” I sat there for a minute thinking about what I would say. Eventually, I said that I could not verbalize what my most favourite memory was. I simply cannot choose. I loved the people I met, the cuisine, the heat, the culture and the adventures across the city.
I could write about my experience in Madrid with thousands of more words but I will end it with simply saying that I had the best summer of my life and I wouldn't change it for anything in the world.
- Emily DeGaust. Alumni Intern 2018