Our very first speaker from Absolute Internship was also the best one of the lot. Her name was Jackie. Together with her Danish partner John, she created the Wagas empire, a chain of high-quality foods with dozens of stores in China.
If you’re walking around Shanghai and you hear music, follow it. Yes, keep walking. You’ll come across a small crowd eventually. They’re watching transfixed as a small group of elderly ladies slow dance to a resonant lament. A female Chinese voice swoons from a large speaker mounted from a moped. A few onlookers see how fun it is. They join in. Their friends come too. Everyone’s smiling or hiding a smile.
On the plane ride over to Shanghai from the states I watched the movie Office Space, a comedy about office workers who hate their jobs and decide to embezzle money...
My experience as an intern has been quite different from my day to day life at home. I can’t speak for the other interns as the general consensus seems to be that many are university students who spend a large portion of their time in school. I took a less conventional route and put off college for about three years after I graduated high school to work. When I finally did start school, I opted for online courses so I could work full time and be a full time student.
While Absolute Internship has organized many major events for us, I would have to say the most significant one that contributed to my understanding of European culture have been to the more historical sights. This includes the trip to Stonehenge and listening to the various theories surrounding its construction as well as the trip to Paris the weekend before last. When touring the streets of Montmartre (which I still don’t know how to say) I got an idea of the most important aspects of European culture. I know, I know, the culture of Paris is different from the culture of France the same way the culture of London is vastly disparate from the rest of England. But these two cities held some things in common with another city I visited-Bath. All of these places were absolutely filled with pedestrian traffic. Okay there’s no revelation there. Actually what’s fascinating is the sheer amount of history these locations are filled with.
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.
Beginning your career abroad may be one of the best decisions you make along your professional path. I would like to give others the same advice that I was given before accepting my position in Spain with Absolute Internship. So let me set the scene: After a long night of classes, homework, and officer work in one of my extracurricular clubs, I mentioned to one of the other officers that I had just applied for a position abroad, however, I was hesitant because I would have to pay to go there! In other words, I felt that I was paying to work for someone. A few of the older officers heard me, and they quickly asked where I would be interning. I replied, Madrid. They exclaimed that they had interned in the same city in the same situation without pay. More importantly, they told me to take the position if it was offered to me – that it would be worth the expense and make for one amazing experience. They couldn’t have been more right. So here is my advice: intern abroad. Your career will thank you, your future employers will thank you, and you will thank you. The experience is priceless.
Absolute Internship gave our Madrid group the chance to broaden our horizons – literally and metaphorically. Literally, we took a weekend trip to Barcelona, Spain where the horizon was made up of the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean and the pale blue sky that seemed to smile as I lay on my towel on the beach. Metaphorically, Absolute Internship organized two sessions with guest speakers who expanded our mindsets; the first being with two representatives from a company that one of our members was interning for and the second with the CEO of a startup company here in Madrid.
Madrid, Spain is an interesting city in the way that I quickly found myself forgetting I was actually in Spain. Now, this may surprise some people or perhaps even dishearten them, but let me explain. When my mom asked me what it was like living abroad, in Spain of all places, I realized it really didn’t feel much different than living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during the semester. Cities are more alike than different all around the world, it appears. Nonetheless, to answer my mom’s question, I did notice a few differences that serve as subtle reminders of my European life.