Alumni Spotlight: Paula Ganhão


From a very young age, Paula has always loved the feeling of experiencing new things and learning from them. This is why she sees the world as the best classroom and traveling as the means by which a person becomes their best self.

Why did you choose this program?

The Intern Group, with its wide range of opportunities abroad, came at a perfect time. They were very helpful in terms of getting the most appropriate internship for me and were ready to help with any questions I had.

Madrid ended up being my chosen destination because I’ve always wanted to go to Spain. This also seemed like the perfect opportunity to put my bilingual skills to the test.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

I found this opportunity through my Golden Key Honour Society membership. Everything after that, I basically organized with the Intern Group, which provided me with a number of pre-departure materials and informational videos about the workplace in Spain.

The Intern Group also helped me in terms of creating a more complete CV and found me an internship that pushed not only my academic knowledge to the test, but also made my own experiences as an immigrant be put to good use.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

I would tell them to make the best of it. Remember that while you are there to work, you are also there to enjoy yourself. Go out with your flatmates, explore the city, and most importantly, travel! I myself went into the program thinking only of my job and how I wanted to be successful at it (which is important). In the end, I came out with new friends and a wide range of experiences that I will always treasure in my heart!

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

You'll go to work in the morning, and if you're going to Spain, expect to take long lunch breaks with your colleagues. If you go during the summer, you'll usually be able to leave the office around 3 PM. Normally, however, they tend to work late in Spain.

The Intern Group has a wide range of activities organized for you throughout your stay. We, for example, were able to see an authentic Flamenco show, went to the Bernabéu Stadium, and had a day trip to Toledo. These were the activities we paid for in advance. Throughout the week, there are also events such as bowling with other interns and having a picnic at the park.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was that I would not feel comfortable where I lived or with whom I lived. I overcame it by actually making the effort to get to know the people around me. In the end, I got to make friendships that I believe will last a lifetime.

My views changed because I realized we were all fearing the same thing, and therefore the only way to overcome it was to become friends and make the best of our time in Madrid.

Some more advice..

If you're going abroad, you should be open to new experiences and remember that you are in a new country with people who will likely have different mindsets than you. This should not be a scary thing but quite the contrary as there is no better opportunity to learn and grow than when you are in a completely different setting.

I would also advise that you make the effort to speak and learn the language because it will make your experience much more rewarding and those who receive you in their country much more likely to be open and friendly to you.