Alumni Spotlight: Aubree Brown

What originally inspired you to intern in Spain with Adelante?

Aubree: I ended up going to Spain in a kind of round-about way. I graduated high school in 2011 having decided to take a "gap year", or a year away from school before attending college, to work and, most importantly, to travel. The big question was "where?". Being a travel junky, I wanted to go everywhere; Nepal, Iceland, Croatia... you name it and it was on my list. The only down side of all these ambitions was that monetarily, my parents had given me a budget that I could only combine with working two part-time jobs from July to January.

I had already decided to travel with a program, having had a great experience two years prior with a travel program, but most gap year program costs were more than we could afford. It wasn't until mid-December that I stumbled upon Adelante on the web, right as my window of opportunity was coming to a close (we had set a Christmas deadline to have everything planned for my travels). It was perfect! Adelante fit our budget and would let me improve my Spanish while getting more work experience in a field I wanted to explore, social work. I chose Spain because it was a good jumping-off point for further travel and I chose Sevilla because it was the only place that listed the opportunity to work with a non-profit that worked to further LGBT rights, something I had never considered or seen much of in the U.S.

Amazing Spanish architecture

Describe your day to day activities as an intern in Spain.

Aubree: At Fundacion Triangulo, I was the only intern not from Spain, not fluent in Spanish meaning I couldn't do a lot of what their average intern did because I could not answer phone calls, etc. (especially with the Sevillana accent). They had to figure out what to do with me! I started out doing administrative work, entering data into an excel spreadsheet, and doing odd jobs around the office but quickly grew tired of it.

After some brainstorming we discovered something that I could do that the other interns and staff members could not: translate. I was given a bunch of articles from Matrimonio Igualitario, a sister organization that worked towards improving the rights for gays and lesbians and ensuring that their right to marriage would not be revoked, and was able to translate them from Spanish to proper English in no time.

How has this experience impacted your future?

Aubree: I had always thought that when I "grew up" I would want to live abroad but, despite my experience in Spain being generally a positive one, I learned during my three months there that I'm not sure that that's something I want to do. I had traveled internationally extensively even before this year but had never lived abroad and I learned that there is something about America, and specifically my home town Austin, that I would hesitate to leave for long-term travel again. Academically, my internship reinforced my desire to study social work and to learn more about global cultures/ societal development around the world.