Madrid Part I: Research

The intern group.jpg

Finally, my first Madrid blog has arrived! After many late nights of reading and re-reading, making adjustments and correcting grammatical errors (for all those that are like me– bad grammar phobia), here is my first post about the technicalities of my internship. These are all essential to know if any of you are interested in doing the same thing or similar.

I’m sure for those who have never done one and want to, have many questions, so I will try my best to cover as much as I can (also as much as I intend to, as my later posts will cover other broad topics).

The most asked question so far when I tell people that I have been overseas to work is, “how did you find it?”. Put simply, it is all research research and research. Evidently, when you start doing some research, you will find a whole lot of organisations that help students access these types of opportunities but more importantly, you’ve got to find out which ones are good and which ones will actually benefit you– as cynical as that may be. If you are in a field, such as law, that has an oversupply of graduates and one that is extremely competitive, it is essential for your sake to do anything possible that will give you a competitive edge. I came across an organisation called The Intern Group which immediately caught my eye. They offered program destinations such as: New York, London, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Columbia, Berlin, Dublin, Shanghai and of course, my chosen destination Madrid. I admit, I researched the bare minimum and assumed that it would all work out for the best– thank god it did. With better hindsight, I would suggest to everyone to do more thorough research, just so you know what you ACTUALLY get out of it.

The basic requirements to apply for an internship with my particular organisation include:

  • Current university student
  • University approval
  • Academic credit towards your degree
  • CV

After the formal application process, you will have a scheduled interview with the Program Direction or equivalent via Skype. I had mine with a lovely lady called Bridget– she is a program director based in London. This is when they ask you some basic questions such as: Why do you want to do this internship, what do want to get out of this experience, etc. Basic stuff. Once this is done, the waiting period begins. Your application will go through an entire process between the board, your destination program director and program advisor. There is a dry period where you don’t hear anything from them and you are nervously waiting for some confirmation or acceptance of your position in the program. Then finally, expect a phone call from your program adviser personally offering you a position. I received my acceptance call in the middle of a busy Sunday night at Groove Train, Plenty Valley. My excitement and disbelief was through the roof, I still try to relive that feeling today. Unbelievable. The process of finding a placement and doing interviews is the next step. Pretty self explanatory.

From there onwards, it is all a waiting game; preparing for the trip of a lifetime and ensuring you are equipped with all the necessities for whatever the climate can throw at you. As for the financial side, it is a hefty investment. Hence why I recommend to everyone, do your research! You don’t want to spend X amount of money for it to go to waste. Ball park figures: the internship fees, airfares and travel insurance (mandatory) left me approximately $10,000 (AUD) behind. To be fair, the internship fee (approx $7.5k for 2 months, based on currency rates at the time) covered accommodation (very central in Madrid), flashy airport pick up and drop off, organised events (Real Madrid stadium, Toledo and Flamenco night) and 24/7 assistance. The remainder of the amount spent was my return airfare tickets and travel insurance. Also, remember that you should have savings for your day-to-day expenditure during your internship. Being a pathetic budgeter, I roughly spent an additional $6000 over the 2 months– including a trip to other various cities in Spain and a weekend in Switzerland which proved to be an extremely expensive, but worthwhile trip. As Madrid falls in one of the places that are relatively cheap, you can definitely survive for way less if you are able to buy groceries and cook instead of eating out every day. But, you miss the whole cultural experience if you don’t venture out to eat tapas at some point.

All in all, internships are not cheap. Most require you to pay a hefty amount to be able to participate and keep in mind, you do not get paid to work. You are merely there for experience which nonetheless, is more rich in terms of all the valuable perspectives and life-long memories you gain from a journey as such. I will cover my actual stay in Madrid in my next couple of posts so stay tuned to read about my fantastic adventure. After all, it was more of an adventure than anything else.

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