Why did you decide to go abroad with your provider?
Shaun: One day I was browsing my school’s job search portal looking for a summer internship and I came across an ad to teach abroad in Spain. I had absolutely no prior interest in teaching, however, the job description sparked my interest, and it seemed like it would be an interesting experience, so I decided to apply.
Within a week of submitting my application, Spain Internship followed up with me to set up a Skype and telephone interview. They were there for me through every step of the process and answered any questions I had.
Since I go to a fairly large university, it was somewhat difficult for me to find the right person to sign my training agreement (a document required for all interns under Spanish law) however they helped me through it all.
It was then that I decided that they were the perfect placement company for me.
Describe your most meaningful souvenir and why you love it?
Shaun: My most meaningful souvenir is a keychain of the oso y el madroño madrilleño. It is a keychain of a statue of a bear climbing a tree. It may seem pretty insignificant but this bear statue served as a meeting point for my friends and I.
Since we found the cell phone service in Spain to be fairly expensive compared to our home countries, many of us often only used our phones for emergencies or when on Wi-Fi. So whenever we wanted to meet up we would go somewhere where there was Wi-Fi and message each other through WhatsApp, a free Internet based messenger, saying “ill meet you at the oso (bear) in 15 minutes, or something along those lines.
If you do end up working or studying in the center of Madrid you will probably hear a lot of reference to the iso, or you might end up using it yourself, as it is a central meeting point for many.
Did you forget to pack something important? Did you feel as if you were missing something?
Shaun: Just a word of warning, if you use stick deodorant or solid deodorant you might want to pack a few extra sticks in your bag because it is near impossible to find in Madrid. I made the mistake of only bringing one, thinking that I could just purchase a couple sticks when I arrived.
However, much to my surprise stick deodorant is not very common there. Many people use roll on or aerosol sprays such as “AXE”. There is nothing wrong with this, but it is not what I was used to and it made me a little uncomfortable considering that the temperature in Madrid can reach upwards of 100 degrees Fahrenheit at the peak of the summer.
Do your self a favor a drop a couple of extra speed sticks in your bag before you take of for Madrid, it will save you a lot of unneeded hassle.
How has this experience impacted your future?
Shaun: My experience in Madrid definitely impacted me personally, professionally and academically. I think that Madrid is the perfect place for anyone to intern or study abroad because it has a very large international community.
I was able to network and meet people for all different parts of the world that I probably would have never met otherwise. I was also able to get a real local’s perspective of the city due to the nature of the program. I had to find everything on my own, housing, transportation, etc.
This resulted in a non-watered down, fully immersive experience. I lived in a regular flat, went grocery shopping and commuted to work everyday to work like a local. I really enjoyed the lifestyle in Spain and I am strongly considering returning there in the near future for graduate school.