To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect meeting the current interns. Would they be mature? Hardworkers? Travel-savvy students? Or the opposite? One of the many takeaways that I learned from the GE Barcelona Director was how much work goes into their intern selection process prior to even interviewing for the internships.
When an intern is selected for the program, the GE team works incredibly hard to find an internship placement in the student’s field of interest AND matches the type of work that they want to do day-to-day. On top of that, they’re vetting organizations that will provide a nurturing and positive experience for their interns.
GE doesn’t want to partner with an organization in Barcelona that gives their interns “busy work” or doesn’t foster a learning environment to further their students’ professional development skills. The Barcelona Director consistently takes advantage of local networking opportunities and events to find great organizations for her interns to be placed in.
To further this -- if the intern doesn’t have any Spanish skills, Global Experiences seeks to find a supervisor whom the student can effectively communicate with.
Throughout the internship, the GE students have opportunities to participate in several cultural events around Barcelona. I had the privilege to experience Gaudí's famous Park Güell with the current cohort.
Needless to say, the GE team works very hard to meet all their participant, placement and program criteria. Thus, the type of student that this program attracts is typically driven, culturally-sensitive and mature. I personally experienced this with the cohort that I met.
Learn a little Spanish! Even better, if you’re able to hone basic conversation skills ahead of applying for the Global Experiences program -- the internship placement opportunities will be even greater. Spanish is not a requirement for this program by any means, but I wanted to mention this as advice I’d want to know so I could maximize my planning process and my time abroad.
Not to mention, getting around Barcelona and traveling throughout Spain is a lot more fun when you can talk to the locals in Spanish. It’s a great ice-breaker and being bilingual is a very advantageous skill to acquire (or hone) regardless.