The smell of orange blossoms fills the air as you wind through medieval streets and Oceanside walkways. This is Valencia. Spain’s third largest city lies roughly at the midpoint of the Iberian Peninsula’s Mediterranean coastline on the Costa Blanca, or white coast.
Valencia is host to a blend of ancient beauty and modern wonders. In the Old Quarter you’ll find charming streets lined with Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance architecture. Meanwhile, the City of Arts and Sciences is an impressive and futuristic complex that is home to a science center and the largest aquarium in Europe, amongst other treasures.
Given its ideal location on the Mediterranean, the port of Valencia is one of the busiest in the region. From here, products ranging from food and drink to ceramic tiles and textiles are shipped all over the world.
For Spanish-speaking students who want professional international experience, an internship in Valencia is not to be overlooked. It may not be Madrid or Barcelona, but that may be precisely what you're looking for...
So you want to get an internship in Valencia -- but what fields / industries should you expect to find work in?
With historical and dynamic attractions including the City of Arts and Sciences, Bioparc, beaches, and the Valencia Cathedral which is home to what is supposed the Holy Grail, there’s no shortage of reasons for tourism to flock to the city.
There's a great demand for English speakers to aid in the hospitality and tourism industry and interns can often meet the needed demand, especially in the busier summer months.
Teaching abroad is a very common way for students to have an opportunity to live and work in Valencia. During summer months, many language schools in Valencia offer short term internships for positions teaching English as a Second Language. Teaching internships in Valencia often require less prior teaching experience than do teaching jobs.
While Valencia may not carry quite the same cache as Madrid or Barcelona, it is Spain’s third-largest city and home to many business headquarters. The port of Valencia handles 20% of Spain’s imports, and therefore many businesses related to shipping, manufacturing and textiles are based here. Business interns can work for departments ranging from logistics and engineering to marketing and communications.
With a population of 47.27 million, Spain is home to a diverse array of companies that serve Spain as well as the European Union.
Many of Spain's top businesses are headquartered in Valencia, and with such a large percentage of imports leaving from the port, marketing is a huge industry in Valencia. Marketing interns can expect to develop and implement marketing strategies in English and Spanish.
With its unique port location on the Mediterranean coast, Valencia is home to a large number of engineering firms. A large number of them are concentrated in mechanical, civil and industrial engineering. Engineering interns can gain real field experience supporting specific departments that meet their educational goals.
What logistics do you need to know before taking on an internship in Valencia? What's the work culture like? How can you look for internship positions?
When and Where to Look for an Internship
To align with University schedules, most internships in Valencia are offered during the summer months. Spain suffered a great economic downturn in 2008 and has been slowly recovering since. As jobs and internships are difficult for Spaniards to find themselves, most internships for international students in Valencia are unpaid. Additionally, most internship opportunities are found through third-party providers.
Work Culture in Valencia
Etiquette: In Valencia, the work environment is generally more laid back than in the United States and not as punctual. However, communication, respect and formality are very important for the Spanish. It's important to honor these values while interning in Valencia. The siesta is also still very prevalent in Valencia. Many businesses are closed between 1:30 and 5 p.m. for this traditional afternoon break.
Language: Valencia is a bilingual city with Valencian and Spanish being the two official languages. While it may not be necessary to speak or understand Valencian, having a basic background in Spanish will be very useful. Valencia is smaller than Madrid or Barcelona and therefore English is not as widely spoken in this region.
Networking: Relationships are very important for the Spanish people. Valencia is a more traditional city than those in the South. It is important to not appear to be in a rush while in the work environment. Take time to get to know your co-workers and focus on building relationships with business partners.
Work and Labor Laws in Spain
In Valencia, Spanish work and labor laws apply to paid interns. However, it can be very difficult to find a paid internship in the city due to the country’s economic situation. For most interns, you'll either enter on a tourist visa (valid for up to 90 days) or a student visa. If you're going through a program provider, be sure to double check with this before you go.
The cost of living in Valencia is lower than Barcelona or Madrid. Due to the recent economic crisis, prices have also been lower in recent years. A one bedroom apartment in the city center will run around 450 Euros, whereas a one bedroom apartment outside the city center will run around 320 Euros.
A meal at an inexpensive restaurant will run $9. Beer won't fast break your wallet -- the average cost for a domestic bottle is under $3.
Recently, the Euro has lost value, making the exchange rate better for the US dollar. For more details about the cost of living in Valencia, visit Numbeo.