Why do an internship abroad? – Emily Curtis

Hola a todos! I´m Emily, a southwest London undergrad currently in my penultimate year (in industry) of Management with Spanish studies, giving you the run-down of my year-long internship abroad in Madrid with the British Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber, whose mission is to facilitate the international business growth and development between Spain and the UK, caught my interest as an incoming Investment Management Analyst with Morgan Stanley, as it provides the opportunity to understand international business between two differing cultures and perspectives through networking and events that capitalize on this relationship like bilateral forums and cocktail parties. As an investment manager I will need to be able to work with global investors´ money and be able to help them reach their financial goals regardless of their business culture style and norms and working at the Chamber has given me invaluable experience and insight into this intercultural communication.

So far, I have been offered so many opportunities both in my business and personal life from this internship abroad. Being in Spain has meant that I have been able to travel around the country on my weekends (and abundance of bank holidays) to soak up the culture from many of the different autonomous regions such as going to Las Fallas festival in Valencia or going to the Feria in Sevilla. In the Spanish business world, through the Chamber I have been offered endless networking opportunities and access to some very influential contacts.

If I could give past me one piece of advice about what to expect from your year abroad, it would be: be prepared to be thrown into the unknown and be patient with yourself! Compared to people who chose the study abroad path, in completing an internship your Spanish will excel much faster as you don´t have as many chances to speak in English. I found it tough work transitioning from previous university life where we had a Spanish lesson or two a week to working in Spanish from 9-5 every day, but with time you will find that you become more comfortable and confident with your Spanish. If it makes you feel any better, I had a constant headache for the first few weeks!

In a nutshell, don´t try to rush the immersion into both Spain and your internship, give yourself the time to settle in and adjust to the new lifestyle – most of all remember to be patient, explore and disfruta!