To intern or not to intern, this is a question

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Kaitlyn Morales
November 10, 2023

Something amazing that IES Abroad is able to offer is the opportunity to partake in an internship while you are studying abroad. This is super cool but it is not for the faint of heart. You will need to sign up for the internship class, and you must make sure you don’t accidentally sign up for a different class that takes place at the same time (intuitive, I know, but if you decide to add it later it happens). Staff in your location of study will meet with you through email and zoom before you arrive to ask about what kind of work experience you hope to get. They help you find local companies that you may be interested in and that are looking for interns. You will then tailor your resume and cover letter and send it. The company then decides whether to hold an interview and once you have undergone that successfully, you will be able to work abroad. 

Something I would highly recommend is having a list of questions for your potential employer to ask during the interview, to get a sense of what working there will look like. You will spend a lot of time on this so it is important to make sure that you will be okay with what you will be doing. Talk to IES staff right away about any issues or concerns you may have. They are there to help! 

Once I did all this, I officially did a marketing internship at a cute little company called Grandma’s Cooking Barcelona. This is a lovely company where local grandmas and grandpas teach some of their best recipes to clients. It is a social impact project, trying to give grandparents something of their own to do and be proud of. I have attended many of the events and can confirm that not only do the grandparents look tremendously happy, but so do the clients as well. There is always so much laughter and joy from everyone. These events are such a great way to share tradition and culture. I was in charge of capturing and creating content for social media and editing their website. Eventually, I even started sending correspondences to clients and potential partnerships. I thoroughly enjoyed my internship, but I will say that the class accompaniment was less enjoyable. 

They said that you must sign up for the class so that you can get credit for the internship. With this in mind, I thought that the class shouldn’t have too much work because I would be doing the work within my internship. This was not the case. This is a full class attachment, so don’t you think the workload will be lighter because you have the internship. You will have roughly three units of work just for class. You will need to be prepared for eight hours of work a week, through your internship, on top of a full course load. 

While the class can be a lot at times when you already have so much else going on, it is not a bad introduction to cultural comparison for those who are new to it. But I do mean introduction. The first half of the class is there to help facilitate one to think about what life in your host city/country is like through many small reports and a handful of larger ones. I like that it focuses on some political issues of the city you are staying in, but there were some things that were a little below my own personal awareness level of other cultures. There were a couple of cool things we did that I liked, such as attending a networking event. I got to speak with people who work in Barcelona and hear their different stories. This is something I would not have done if it were not required for class, but I am so glad I did. The second half is about transferring your experience back home and some talk of living abroad in the future. This is helpful. 

There will be days you love it and days you hate it, as with anything. I got a really good placement that I am super happy with. I love working with the grandmothers and fathers and different clients. I love watching the sharing of tradition and culture, as well as laughter and food. You will have your own experience, so If you are interested in an internship and can handle the time commitment, then I would say do it! It is such a great opportunity and is an experience that is hard to come by otherwise. 

Safe travels!

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Kaitlyn Morales

I am a silly, go with the flow kind of person. I love adventure and family. Travel and home, the simple and the extravagant. I am Kaitlyn Morales. From a small town in California, I have taken every chance I can to travel.

2023 Fall
Home University:
University of the Pacific
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