23 Jul Absolute Challenge – My Main Takeaways – By Lauren Rath
For the short amount of time I’ve been living in Madrid, life has thrown a lot of different lessons my way. During the last two months, I have been interning with a small sports management consultancy office called “,” in Pozuelo de Alarcon. I wanted to share some of these small yet invaluable lessons as to truly attempt to describe my life in Spain.
You Must Devote Time to Meals
I quickly learned that meal times are for connecting with your company. You devote time to eating good food and enjoying company to recharge yourself. At home and at school, my lunches are rushed, frantic, and rarely relaxing. But to sit and be away from the world for a little bit to talk to your coworkers and friends is a calm I have never experienced before. It is something I hope to incorporate into my life at school, the ability to remove yourself from the stress and rush of work for even just 30 minutes at a time. But under no circumstances should you talk about work at lunch, this I learned quickly as well.
If you don’t ask questions, you’ll never fully understand the task at hand. In my office, I am expected to ask many questions about a project even though this isn’t a normal practice at home. This practice of communication of unapologetic questioning has built the ability to effectively navigate daily tasks. A successful office place is a collaborative space comprised of well-functioning individuals. Without the ability to speak up and make your confusion or question known, communication falls off and tasks are left incomplete. ASK QUESTIONS. Yet it is made clear that you are to be a functioning individual at the same time. If you’re having problems with Excel, you find the answers on Google. You’ll never know if you never ask, but consulting Google first can prove to be beneficial.
Listen When Native Speakers Are Willing to Help You
This is my first language immersion experience. When everything, culture, language, work practices, is all new to you, take the time to listen when people are trying to help you. It is a certain mindset that you need to be in because it´s hard to take in corrections all day. I have found that the most helpful language lessons are the ones I learn on the fly. My coworkers will correct my conjugations, gender agreements, and pronouns during passing conversations throughout the day, and it’s these passing opportunities that keep me engaged all day.
Take as Many Opportunities as You Can
If a group is going out to a new place for dinner, go. If your friend asks you to stay an extra night in Barcelona, stay. If your friends are visiting and need a city tour guide, be the best tour guide you can be. Every interaction and exchange presents a new opportunity and these two months have taught me the importance of taking every opportunity that comes your way. This mindset is helpful when learning a new language and learning a new city because you find experiences and conversation you wouldn’t have anywhere else. Not only has this mindset significantly bettered my Spanish but also my experience in Madrid as a whole.