I first heard about Molly Wooders and her blog in the Problogger Challenge group. After reading an article about Molly’s internship in Spain, I thought her ideas and experiences would also be interesting for those of my readers who plan to spend some time in an English-speaking country. This is my interview with Molly.
1. What made you decide to apply for an internship abroad?
I decided to apply for an internship abroad because it has always been my dream to work and live abroad, especially in Spain. I have been studying the culture and learning the language for the past 12 years, plus it would give me a great opportunity for my placement year!
2. Does your current work help you develop your language skills?
I work in the English Market for my company so I don’t get to speak Spanish in the office, although some of what I do does mean talking to customers in Spanish and sending emails out. So I do get a chance to see what I recognise and I ask my other colleagues who speak Spanish to translate for me so I can send it to the customers but also it gives me a chance to recognise my Spanish.
3. When you moved to Spain, what did you do to meet new people?
Luckily when I moved out here I already knew 2 girls that were coming out here, I met one girl who has become my best friend and we travelled all around Barcelona and we would just meet people out and about. Also, when the other girl came I introduced her to my best friend and we were also able to meet new people from going to new places. Since my best friend left Spain, I signed up to a social networking site called Meet Up and you say what your interests are and you can see what groups there are that take your interest. For example, I have been to meet ups with the International Meet Up Group and Language Exchange. First I went to the International Group and met so many people who I have made great friends with and always meet up every Friday and we always meet new people. The Language Exchange I have also met a lot of people from, and I have been able to practice my Spanish too!
4. Were there any differences between the Spanish that you had learned and the Spanish that you hear around you now?
I have learned the Castilian Spanish which is what every Spanish person will know and understand, and in Barcelona they also speak Catalan. I still here words I understand when I hear people talk and I meet up with a few locals and practice Spanish too so that helps me understand a bit more. I do find that once people understand that I speak Castilian they are more than happy to speak it too. I do learn Catalan too the only main difference is that some words sound the same but are spelt different. For example, Buenos Dias is good day in Castilian but in Catalan it is Bon Dia. Everyone speaks really fast here so it is really funny to try and understand because I love being in a different country and learning the culture but I do find it difficult to keep up! But I am determined to improve my Spanish and hopefully become fluent by the end of the internship!
5. Apart from the language itself, have you noticed any differences in the way people communicate with one another?
I have always said and so have others I have spoken to that the Spanish culture over here and the way people communicate is a lot more social than I have ever seen and I love it. When talking to people or messaging local people, they are really passionate about maintaining relationships and friendships because every evening till late you will see groups of friends hanging about and it is so nice. So in general, I find that the Spanish are a lot more direct and make a lot more effort I feel and especially when I go to a meet up by myself, I can leave with a lot of friends.
6. Is there anything that you miss from the UK that you can’t buy in the shops where you are?
There isn’t much I miss to be honest materialistically other than a Roast Dinner and Fish and Chips, but it means that it will be worth the wait when I come back home. I visited Granada 3 years ago, it was a college trip and a friend and I stayed with a local woman who made us homemade Spanish meals every breakfast, lunch and dinner. I loved the food from the beginning so I couldn’t wait to be here and experience it all again but luckily enough for a longer time!
7. What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about doing an internship abroad?
Do it! That’s all I can say, if you are thinking about it do it! Definitely prepare yourself, I prepared too much before I left which meant I didn’t have much to worry about when I got here! But definitely do it! It was the best choice I have ever made, I have made lots of friends, memories and I am learning so much from work but also from the culture. I am gaining experience which will prepare me for so much in my future and it is giving me so many opportunities.
8. How easy was it to find a place to live?
It was my biggest worry, not finding anywhere to live but it was the easiest thing ever! There were a lot of websites that were suggested to me and I found a website called Spot a Home and I found a room in 10 minutes! The house was exactly what it looked like, the booking process was simple and my housemates are great!
9. What skills do you have now that you wouldn’t have if you had stayed in the UK?
The main thing I have learned is that I can meet people from different cultures and become best friends with them. I have also found that I have this new sense of motivation which gives me lots of ideas for the future. I study Events and was meant to do an Events Placement but I am so happy I am doing an Online Marketing Job, it is the field that I really wanted to work in and it means I will have specific and experienced knowledge of working in Marketing. I have learned so much about SEO, CMS and international markets that I may not have learned in the UK.
10. What’s your best memory so far?
My best memory is still going on, it started from when I arrived and it will finish when I leave. Every day I get to wake up with a positive attitude and go to bed with the same feeling. I know that each day at work, or each blog post will bring something amazing and I will adapt as a person for the better and I know at the weekend I will have people there for me to create new memories with. It is the best thing I have ever done, I am living my dream at the age of 20 and it is the best feeling ever.
More from Molly
You can find Molly on twitter – Molly_Wooders
Instagram – mollywooders
And Snapchat – mollywooders.
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