What is life like in Spain? Five alumni from The Intern Group Madrid tell all in their photo-op series, “Interns of Madrid.” From the food, to the warm culture, to the sunsets in parks, we can all agree that Spain is magical.
Fatima Ouedraogo // Burkina Faso // 22 // York University
“One thing that surprised me the most about Madrid is how outgoing people are. From strangers initiating a conversation with you randomly in the streets or in the grocery store, to the two kisses on the cheeks, your personal space is tested a lot. One might find it overwhelming or disturbing at first but the Spanish lifestyle, as well as its people’s joie de vivre, is contagious and you’ll learn to love it and, will even pick up some of the habits like functioning on Spanish time…”
Olivia Higgins // Singapore // 23 // Nanyang Technological University
What do I love most about Madrid?
Love. It’s everywhere in Madrid. Love for the family, love for work but most importantly: A love for life.
I see people bringing their children or even their dogs and cats to work. When they greet each other, they exude a passion and cheeriness I have not yet found somewhere else. In the evenings or on Fridays, some people leave work earlier to take their partners or children to the park. They simply sit there and bask in the Spanish sun – no phone, no distractions, nothing but their own time, enjoying the presence of the moment.
Work-life balance is highly-valued and practiced here. It’s still fast-paced, but life in Madrid is about doing what is best for you and living life by savoring the beauty of moments. Your open-mindedness is treasured and your individuality is celebrated.
I’ll be sitting in Retiro or Parque del Oeste eating strawberries watching children or dogs running around, popping by The Prado for the classics and talking to a stranger about current affairs after saying hola to her bulldog – all in the same day.
The Spanish sun, a good book, a nice run or some tapas– that’s all you need really.
Apart from the rich culture, history and typical Spanish life I got to indulge in, I also experienced a lot of kindness. I will never forget how a lady was begging loudly outside the Catholic church and a group of people were crowding around her, listening to her story as she told them about a loss she just experienced. Although I could not fully comprehend the entirety of her tale since it was in Spanish, we felt her pain. Another time, I remember a man who was a complete stranger coming up to an elderly man who was begging on the streets because he had no arms, and what the man did was simply helping him button his shirt up because it was getting colder and windier. That’s the beauty of connecting with others by even the smallest of acts.
Everyone strives for that human connection whether we admit it or not – we crave the need to connect, listen, empathize and ultimately, to love. I found that gem in Madrid. I made unforgettable connections, found myself in situations where there was nothing else but growth.
There is a strikingly unique spirit of vigor and joy about the Spanish culture that must be experienced at least once in a lifetime. I am incredibly lucky to have experienced all the kindness, love and warmth Madrid had to offer and it will always have a special place in my heart.”
Hannes Malfroy // Belgium // 24 // University of Ghent
“The most important lesson I’ll take away from my internship in Madrid is that it is okay to take a jump into the deep and take risks in life. Before I came to Madrid, I was a bit anxious and didn’t know what to expect for the coming 6 months that I would stay there. Looking back, it was definitely one of the best experiences in my life. Not only did I have an interesting internship abroad, I also met amazing people and lifetime friends from everywhere around the world.”
Amira Abdulrazaq // Nigeria // 26 // University of Manchester
“The most important lesson I learned in Madrid was how to show confidence on the outside even when I didn’t feel confident on the inside, particularly when meeting new people. #Fakeittillyoumakeit.”
Maria José De La Torre // Mexico // 25 // Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey
“What surprised me the most about Madrid was its warmth, I felt at home almost immediately. I came with no expectations and Madrid turned out to be the ideal place for me to be. The amount of parks, museums, restaurants, bars and coffee shops means there is always something to do. It’s impossible to be bored. You can find lots of beautiful towns and villages rich in culture, gastronomy and landscapes. Madrid is the ideal city if you want to experience a bit of everything. I will always be grateful to have lived this city and I am looking forward to visiting it again.”
Now that you know the answer to “what is life like in Spain?” learn more about how to boost your career with an internship in Madrid.