Preparing for a Summer Internship Abroad in Barcelona
I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t full of nerves before leaving the country for the very first time to embark on my CEA CAPA 8-week internship abroad in Barcelona. I knew I'd be busy Mondays through Fridays interning 30 hours a week; however, I had no idea what the first few days before my internship would look like. The arrival date for my program was a Thursday, and due to a regional holiday (Pentecost), I wouldn’t start my internship until the following Tuesday. Because of this, I was unsure how I’d get adjusted, meet other students in my study abroad program, and get acclimated to Barcelona. So here’s some insight into what I got up to before my internship started and how I got situated in my host city for the summer.
Arriving in Barcelona
I arrived at my apartment in Barcelona around 11 a.m. on my program start date. Luckily one of the other students in my apartment arrived at the same time so we could head out and explore the city together. One of my favorite parts about being in a new place is simply walking around without an agenda. I feel like this is when I've had the most memorable moments like randomly feeding parrots in Parc de la Ciutadella or seeing an incredible sunset against the Arc de Triomf.
CEA CAPA Orientation
Friday was entirely booked with orientation at the CEA CAPA Barcelona Center. From around 10 a.m.. to 12 p.m. we went over internship expectations and a general overview of culture and what our daily life will be like in Barcelona. Then we had what could only be described as a feast of tapas (small appetizer-like dishes). They brought out plate after plate of Russian salad, Spanish omelet, patatas bravas (fried spicy potatoes), and so many other traditional Spanish dishes. I personally love eating meals this way because I get to try so many different foods that I wouldn’t be able to with a typical one-plate meal. It’s safe to say that this lunch quickly made its way to the top of the list for the best food that I have had in Spain.
Afterwards, we ended the day with a bus tour of the city where we got to learn about some history and culture as well as see some of the main sights (without having to walk thousands of steps). The bus stopped at a vista up on Montjuic Castle hill which gave us our first view of Barcelona from above. Seeing the city as a whole helped me gain some perspective on its size and even identify some landmarks like the mountain and the ocean on opposite sides of the city, which helps with navigating.
Finding local markets
On our first full free day a few students I had met the previous day and I decided to see what was happening in the city. Since it was the first weekend in June, there were lots of different markets going on so we decided to go check them out. We found ourselves taking the metro to a new part of town for the Palo Market Fest. This was a festival filled with booths set up for food, handmade jewelry and clothing, and there was even a stage for live music. My favorite part was that it was a smaller festival filled with locals rather than tourists so it felt like a truly immersive experience in the local culture. We also explored Fleadonia which is a large secondhand flea market. There was vintage clothing and other goods set out with so many different booths to stop by. A few of my new friends even walked away with some unique finds so all in all I would say the markets made for some successful outings.
Getting ready to start our internships
Monday was a national bank holiday meaning that all our internships wouldn’t start until the following day. I am interning with a creative marketing and advertising company on their strategic team, and I was excited to get started! Since we wanted to make sure we had no issues getting to our internship sites on time the following morning, my roommate and I decided to take the metro to our buildings and make sure we found the correct place. It’s incredible that just a 20-minute metro ride away from the city center can take you to what feels like an entirely different city. Right next to my roommate's internship placement is a gorgeous modern park that is surrounded by large buildings that don’t look anything like the parts of Barcelona that we have seen so far. Seeing these new parts of town made me so excited and ready to begin my internship the next day.
Abby Spangenberg is an official blogger for Summer '23, sharing her story in frequent posts on our blog. A Chemical Engineering major at Ohio State University, she is studying and interning abroad in Barcelona this semester. All views expressed are her own and may or may not reflect the experiences of other students.
Abby Spangenberg is the Content Creator - Blogger.