As I added the finishing touches to my study abroad application early last semester, I couldn’t help but feel excited about the prospects of living and learning in Madrid. It was an opportunity that I was (and even more so, still am) thankful and excited to have at a school as globally networked as NYU. However, to dismiss any semblance of apprehension during the build-up to studying abroad would be remiss. Don’t get me wrong: the idea of daily warm Madrid sunsets, strolls through expansive plazas, and endless tapas was enchanting (and also equally unrealistic, but a girl can dream, right?). Even though I was looking forward to soaking in all that Madrid had to offer, I had a severe case of upcoming FOMO. I was worried that taking a pause from New York would also mean forgoing all the opportunities to continue growing personally and professionally in the city (and school, especially during midterms) that never sleeps. Interning abroad seemed like the perfect gateway to assuage these doubts, while also diving into an entirely new environment. Here’s my take on interning abroad and what it’s meant to me!
To offer educational internships to students, NYU Study Abroad partners with EUSA, a “not-for-profit international education organization which works in partnership with colleges and universities to implement study abroad programs in London, Dublin, Madrid, Paris, and Prague.”
NYU makes the application process and coordination with EUSA very accessible! After deciding to try my hand at interning abroad, my first step in the process was submitting an essay to NYU centered around on what I’d hope to learn and accomplish, if accepted. Here, I shared some of my professional aspirations and personal goals for what I would have liked to have accomplished by the end of the semester. For me specifically, these included gaining a deeper understanding of international business and finance, while also furthering my Spanish interpersonal communication skills. Depending on the site you plan to study abroad in, requirements to intern may vary (for example, intermediate proficiency in a foreign language), and I’d definitely recommend using NYU Global’s site as a resource to research more about your options.
Once you’re in, EUSA helps from there! After the school year ended, I was paired with a EUSA representative with whom I shared my internship field interests. In June, I expanded upon these interests within EUSA’s online portal questionnaire and later video-chatted my EUSA representative for a brief follow-up interview. She was not only instrumental in gauging my professional inclinations, but also helpful in pairing me with a provisional offer to a firm here in Madrid.
I received my internship placement in July and found out that this semester I would be interning at Servicios de Prepago Integrales, or SPI - SPARK. A rapidly growing provider of prepaid cards, SPI is emerging as a leader in the Spanish market with its leading SPARK Mastercard and Galp card brands. Over the course of my internship so far, my primary objective has been to uncover Spark Mastercard’s breakeven point in order to deliver insights that better inform SPI’s business decisions. As I had hoped, I’ve definitely gained a better understanding of how SPI’s operations are reflected in their data aggregation and how it informs their distribution strategy. I’ve analyzed various metrics along the way, ranging from average customer life cycle, the distribution of highest grossing card transactions, and customer spending behavior, for example. I’ve loved creatively problem solving my way through complex financial data, while also working to ultimately deliver meaningful information to SPI!
Beyond the technical aspects of my internship, I’ve enjoyed getting a taste for the Spanish workplace culture. It’s been really rewarding to see how my Spanish has improved over the course of the semester, and I’ve loved being able to learn about my coworkers’ lives as young working professionals in Spain.
The internship possibilities are endless and expand across a variety of majors/fields. Here are some perspectives from two of my classmates here in Madrid, who are also interning in business-related fields:
Julia Hinckley — ’22 Finance & Accounting Intern @ Socios Inversores:
"My company connects startups and investors to give normal people safe investment opportunities and simultaneously help startups grow through crowdfunding. My job involves doing a lot of market research about the industries the startups are entering and comparing them to the competition. I also do some accounting work where I calculate solvency and profitability ratios to analyze the financial stability of the startup. I really like my internship because the work environment is super relaxed and after lunch we always play pin ball! It’s a really friendly group of people to work around, so I actually look forward to work every day. This internship has really shown me I love accounting and I am super happy to have found my passion within business!"
Mariana Fernandez — ’21 Marketing Research Intern @ Nita Suri:
"This internship has really helped me get to know Spanish business practice, improving my decision-making skills and self-confidence. I am proud to say that all throughout the internship, I have applied theoretical concepts that I have learned in various classes over the last two years into real world practice, helping me understand them on a deeper level. I have also discovered that I really like the field of fashion, even though I had never considered to actually pursue a career in this field before."
Recently my roommate reminded me of a saying we heard during the first few weeks of our orientation here: “allow yourself to let Madrid in.” It is easier said than done to allow yourself to fully embrace a culture and community, but I’ve found that actively seeking and grasping after any opportunity available to you definitely helps in the process. If there’s anything that studying abroad has taught me, it’s that taking a pause from one environment (aka New York), doesn’t mean fast-forwarding past opportunities to continue developing yourself. Growth manifests in a multitude of ways, and being abroad has helped me redefine what personal and professional growth means to me. Interning has been one of many ways through which I’ve dived into the unknown, dipped my toes outside of my comfort zone, and still stayed afloat while doing so!
I hope that if you are thinking of studying abroad in the future, this post leaves you hopeful, informed, and excited about another amazing opportunity NYU study abroad programs have to offer you to engage with the culture firsthand. If you have any questions about studying abroad/Madrid, or want to share any noteworthy new NYC boba places I’ve missed out on while away this semester, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And to find more information specific to interning abroad, be sure to check out these links: