An Italian Student's Internship Experience in Spain

28 May 2018

Hi!

Tell me a bit about yourself. What do you study? How old are you? Where do you study? What special talents do you have? What type of thing do you like to do when you go out with friends or when you're alone?

Hi, my name is Andreina and I am 24. I study economics and I like surfing and listening to Latino music.

Why have you come to Spain?
I came to Spain to do some work experience. I wanted to work in a modern and cosmopolitan city like Bilbao, which was also close to the sea. I also like the Spanish way of life and wanted to discover the culture.

What do you most like about being in Bilbao? Why come here instead of going to other cities which are more famous with foreigners?
It seemed like an interesting city with lots to offer, with fewer tourists and more locals. Sometimes we think that the best option is also what is the most popular, but this isn’t often the case.

Why did you choose to come to the Instituto Hemingway?
Because of the international environment and because of how friendly the people are. I also felt safe getting in touch with them because they seemed like they were polite and took things seriously. Also the location of the school in the centre of Bilbao and close to the Old Town seemed great and easy to get to.

Did you get any support from the Instituto Hemingway before, during and after your stay?
Yes, the Instituto Hemingway was always there for each of the activities and they were always ready to help with any issue.

What makes your Spanish course/internship unique?
It's unique because I am in a young and interactive environment in a beautiful city which is full of things to discover, full of culture and history, with varied and delicious food and stunning beaches and mountain landscapes. It is definitely a unique place.

How do you enjoy spending your free time?
I like to go to the beach and surf, as well as enjoy eating pintxos, going out with friends and walking around the Old Town, and on a sunny day enjoying eating ice cream by the river or going shopping.

What should every student studying Spanish know before coming here?
That it will be an unforgettable experience and that it is worth getting to know the Basque Country, as well the fact that learning Spanish is a big advantage for both your work and social life, as it is one of the most spoken languages in the world.

How has coming here impacted on your life? How have you changed since being here?
Since coming here, I have learnt a lot of new things and have got to know people who have really left a mark on me. It has been an unforgettable experience living in the Basque Country and being part of the Instituto Hemingway team.

How would you describe the atmosphere at the Instituto?
There is a very young, relaxed atmosphere and the school has beautiful views of the city. You get to know people from all over the world, the bosses are very kind and always available to help, and the teachers have a lot of experience and make classes enjoyable.

Have you felt safe in Bilbao or in Spain in general? Does it seem a safe city to you?
Yes, it seems like a very safe city. You can walk through the city calmly without being scared and despite Bilbao being a big city, all the inhabitants are relaxed, it's not a stressful city and you can be completely at ease.

What is a typical day like for you?
I get up to do a bit of exercise then I work at the school and we do cultural activities together, then maybe for dinner some pintxos! Every day at the Instituto is different because we always have different activities and new students, so there’s always something new in line for us.

What is the cheapest and the most expensive thing compared to your country?
Everything is cheaper than in Switzerland. San Sebastián is more expensive than Bilbao, however you can find food for all kinds of prices and there are a variety of shops.

Why do you think that the Instituto Hemingway is cheaper than other similar programmes?
Because it is a simple programme that offers a good level of quality and flexibility. Whilst at other schools they may invest more in marketing, here they invest more in their staff and students.

What is the funniest moment that you've had up until now?
Until now, trying to communicate with some students who have come from Russia through sign language has been a massive challenge, especially when trying to understand what they want. So this has been quite interesting!

Would you recommend this programme that you have participated in to others? Why?
Yes, I would recommend it because I have had a good experience, the teachers at the school are great and my colleagues are really friendly. The Instituto Hemingway is like a big family that will welcome you to Bilbao with open arms and will be there throughout your time here.

Do you think that your experience abroad will open doors for you in the world of work in the future? Why?
I think so, because knowing another language always opens doors for you. I also had the opportunity to get to know and work with people from several countries and that has allowed me to build on my knowledge and adapt myself to new situations quickly.

What achievement are you particularly proud of? Why?
In my job as an intern, we focused on the social networks and we improved them considerably, increasing our audience and our followers, taking advantage of new openings in the market and improving the image of the school with few resources.

Can you tell us about a problem (academic, personal or work-related) that you had to face and how you resolved it?
Sometimes communicating with the students that have a low level of Spanish can be a problem, but I resolved it by paying a lot of attention to them and showing that I was always available to answer any questions they had.

If you had to ask for a reference for a job, would you contact the Instituto Hemingway? Why?
Yes, because I have had a good experience here and I think they have had a good experience with me working for them. As I said before, the working environment in the school is very pleasant and gives you space to develop and implement your own ideas and experiences.

What memories will you take from your experience here?
I will take back with me very happy memories of all the places that I have visited, all the people that I have met, the landscapes in the Basque Country, its beaches and exquisite gastronomy, the Instituto team, the activities we did together and each moment that we shared.

Why do you think that it is important to do this type of programme abroad?
Because it expands your horizons and fills you with new ideas and new experiences that will be useful in all areas of your life. It is a life experience that will give you the resources to face new, unexpected situations.

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