03 Nov Summer Internship in Barcelona: Sarah’s Experience
Hi everyone! I’m Sarah Fluetsch, an Absolute Internship alumni and ambassador. I did the Summer Internship in Barcelona Program in 2021 and have now graduated with a Bachelor of Science in aerospace engineering. My hobbies include going on adrenaline filled adventures or binge watching a TV series I have already seen seven times!
The further along I get in my career, the more I see how initial aspirations can turn into something completely different. I have never been one to abide by moderation, so as of now, my ultimate goal is to become an astronaut. While I have a long way to go for this dream to even become remotely tangible, experiences like Absolute Internship will allow me to get one step closer.
“This internship has become the gold star on my resume as well as a talking point to bring up in interviews.” – Sarah
Why I Chose Absolute Internship
During the summer of 2020, knowing that once I have a job traveling opportunities may come far and few between, I decided to apply for a summer internship in Barcelona. I knew it would be the perfect culmination of gaining professional and personal experience.
Having travelled with my family to Europe before, I was well versed with going abroad prior to this experience. But, with an opportunity to travel alone, I knew there was one place I wanted to see first: Spain. Barcelona is one of those cities that I have always dreamed of visiting; the beautiful beaches and rich culture have always enticed me, and so, when I discovered the Absolute Internship – a chance to travel to Spain while also working for an engineering firm – I knew I had to go on this adventure.
My Summer Internship Experience
As an engineering intern, my days could vary. I had the luxury of working in a hybrid model: sometimes working at the office of my host company or from the residence in which myself and the other interns lived for our duration in Barcelona. This was the perfect combination of working with my coworkers in the office; seeing the sensors that were part of my project and the physical representation of the wonderful company I was able to be a part of; while also being able to spend less time commuting and more time sleeping, doing laundry, or visiting a castle!
As for my actual tasks, I had two main projects I was a part of: redesigning a sensor rig and researching a platform robot. These two projects were greatly focused on using SOLIDWORKS, a computer-aided design program, and researching information that could be utilized by any other employee at a later time. It was amazing to be a part of projects that were important and allowed me to learn new skills and utilize the ones I have learned in college; these internships have nothing to do with getting coffee!
My Favorite Thing About the Program
My favorite thing about the program was the continuous adventures that I went on: either through Absolute or through my own desire with the friends I made along the way. With Absolute, we went to Madrid for the weekend; being able to walk around the city with an amazing tour guide, learning about “the heart of Spain” and its rich culture and history is an experience I will never forget. With my friends, I loved discovering new restaurants almost every night, walking around the city, and enjoying nights on the beach. My most cherished activity would be diving with sharks, my favorite animal!
Worries I Had Going in to the Program
Having been to Europe and traveling alone before, I did not have many worries about traveling to Spain. My biggest fear was not knowing any other interns, or any other person, in Spain. Walking into an unknown situation will always spark some fear or anxiety; but, having a welcome event just for the July group was incredible. The other interns were so welcoming and sweet! My worries quickly melted away and I went on to create amazing memories with the whole group as well as with the other interns from the June and August group.
Support I Received Whilst Abroad
Throughout the whole experience, Absolute was there to support myself and the other interns. From day-to-day questions or concerns, to giving me a slice of cake for my 23rd birthday, eight days into the program. I never felt alone or afraid of being in a situation that I couldn’t ask someone to help me with.
Opportunities After my Summer Internship in Barcelona
Me, writing this at this very moment, is proof that this internship has already opened a door for opportunities, namely becoming an ambassador. This internship has become the gold star on my resume as well as a talking point to bring up in interviews. Engineering is such a broad field and working in a more mechanical engineer role within this internship has allowed me to expand the roles I can apply for.
My Advice to You
I believe everyone experiences things differently, but if I were to give a piece of advice, I would say to trust your skills and do not be afraid to ask for help. This internship is as much of a learning experience as it is a showcase of the knowledge and tools you have gained through your education and life. Experience is vital in furthering your career and this is just the beginning.
My Goals for the Future
In completing this experience, I am one step closer to my goals; both professional and personal. A large component in furthering your career is to have connections. This can be through an array of factors but something like traveling to Spain, interning for a company that utilizes robotics and artificial intelligence to change the construction game, visiting Barcelona landmarks, or even swimming with sharks can be that one thing; that single spark that will differentiate yourself from other applicants.
What Would I Change about My Experience?
As cliché as it sounds, I would not change a thing. In any adventure you set out to experience, there will be ups and downs. I loved both sides of this while abroad because even with COVID worries and homesickness, I will forever carry the multitude of memories I made in the beautiful city that is Barcelona.