Updates from Spain!

Just a warning in advance: This post is going to be very picture heavy. This is because 1) I am a visual person and I’d rather see something rather than hear someone explain it to me. 2) To properly show you what I’m explaining, I think pictures will be more effective than lengthy descriptions. Anyway, here I will tell you all about my traveling on the weekends within Spain throughout my internship here in Madrid (because if you’re in another country, you have to take advantage of all the opportunities for travel). 

As you might remember, I have been to Spain before in high school with a homestay program. With this program, I spent 5 days traveling to Madrid, Granada, Toledo and I spent 5 days staying with a family in Sevilla. I feel very lucky to have seen so many cool cities in Spain, but upon returning for my internship this summer, I realized just how big Spain is, and how many places there are to see. Furthermore, I had only ever visited Southern Spain (Andalucia) and Madrid. Just like the United States, there are different regions within Spain that have different cultures, languages, accents, and food. 

  1. One of such cultures that is incredibly different from the South of Spain is the Catalonia region. This is the area up near Barcelona and northern Spain that speaks Catalon in addition to Spanish. This culture is very different from Andalusian culture, which can be seen in the way they speak and the way they dress. Plus, if you are up to date on any world news, then you probably know that Barcelona and Catalonia are trying to succeed from Spain. This is visible in the rebellious culture of the youth, in the graffiti and street art which is everywhere, and even in the way they choose to respond to you in Catalonian if you speak to them in Spanish. 

I went to Barcelona to visit my two friends from OSU who were doing a month-long study abroad program there. They also made comments about how cool it is to see the pride that Catalonia has in its culture.

Here is a picture of the city of Barcelona from the height of Park Guell. In the distance you can see the ocean, which is the thing Barcelona has that Madrid doesn’t- the beach. (If Madrid had a beach, it might actually be the perfect city).

Another cool thing about being in Barcelona was getting to see the huge influence that Antoni Gaudi had on the city. I had spent my time in high school Spanish class learning about the huge Sagrada Familia cathedral and his unique style of architecture that has shaped many artists since and given way to the adjective “gaudy” to describe something as “extravagantly bright or showy.” 

Something they don’t teach you in Spanish class when you learn about the Sagrada Familia is how cool the inside is. I think the beautiful, nature-inspired inside of the Cathedral is even more magnificent than the extravagant exterior facades.

It is always cool to see things you learn about in class right in front of you. Even better though is to learn new stuff while exploring a new city. I had heard of Park Guell before visiting it in Barcelona, but I knew nothing about the background of the Park. I highly recommend reading about the history of the Park which was originally supposed to be residential development, with the downtown area built by Gaudi.

2) Another culture in Spain that I got to experience was that of the Valencian region. Made up of the “Costa Blanca” or “White Coast,” Valencia, Benidorm, and Alicante, this region is a beautiful coastal community on the Mediterranean. Not only is this a popular region for vacations (like the bachelorette party of Sophie Turner in Benidorm), but it is also rich with its own unique culture. The birthplace of Spanish paella, it is a beautiful, always sunny, always warm-watered place to explore. I happen to have a friend who lives in Altea, a small beach town 40 minutes north of Alicante and two hours south of Valencia, so I naturally went to visit him and soak up the beautiful Mediterranean sun. Even more fortunate was that I visited on a weekend where I would get to experience a great Valencian community tradition. Called “El Dia de San Juan,” this is a celebration of the birth of San Juan, who according to the Bible was born on the 23rd of June. This is also a celebration of the summer solstice which is the longest day of the year, thus the shortest night of the year. While technically this day is the 21st of June, they celebrate it on the 23rd along with San Juan. This festival, originating in Alicante, is made up of parades, food, and on the night of the 23rd, bonfires and fiestas on the beach all night long. While it is a day celebrated throughout Spain, the Valencian community makes it a real spectacle. Each town celebrates it differently, and because Altea is on the smaller side- there were smaller more intimate parties. However, it was still one of my favorite nights I think I’ve ever had. The Spanish know how to celebrate their Saints, being such a historically Catholic country and known for their parties. I felt really lucky to have been in this area for the Festival, and it was definitely my favorite memory of Spain so far. 

Here is the private beach we went to the first day in Altea. As you can see, it is breathtaking. Also breathtaking- the hike down the hill you see here to get down to the actual beach.
Altea is a part of the “Costa Blanca” which is appropriately named from the white buildings that make up the town. Downtown Altea is beautiful as you can see, giving me Greek vibes with all the white buildings

An interesting part of Spanish culture I did not know- their dogs are much better behaved. Dog beaches are extremely common in Spain, as well as dogs walking around without a leash. In Spain, dogs are trained to stay by their owners side and not greet other people or dogs as they are walking throughout the city. Here is my friend’s dog happily splashing around at the beach in Altea.

3) It is extremely easy to take day trips from Madrid. My friends and I took two different day trips from Madrid, both within an hour bus ride from the center. 

First stop: Toledo

Pronounced Toe-lei-doe (not like Toledo, Ohio), this medieval town is within the larger Madrid metropolitan area, so our bus ride was included for free with our student transport pass. Toledo was one of the cities that I had been to before in Spain, but it is so unique and beautiful that I did not mind one bit going back here. It is surrounded on three sides by a river and one side by large city walls, so it was not conquered as much as other cities in Southern Spain throughout history (such as the Moors). Due to this, it maintains lots of its ancient charm and walking through this city truly feels like you are back in medieval times. 

The view of the ancient city from above. It looks like a scene from medieval history
Walking over cobblestone streets and seeing all the old buildings, you can get a sense of what people 1,000 years ago must’ve seen

Toledo has lots of rich history, including a large amount of paintings from the famous painter El Greco who lived there for much of his life. Toledo also boasts the “most expensive” cathedral in Spain. Full of paintings and sculptures from famous artists and gilded in gold and other rich materials, it is extravagant and gorgeous. The only other church I’ve seen that is more impressive than the Cathedral of Toledo is the St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. 

 

Walking over cobblestone streets and seeing all the old buildings, you can get a sense of what people 500+ years ago must’ve seen.

Second Trip: Segovia

Am I the only one who thinks of the country of Genovia from the Princess Diaries when you hear the name of this city? No? Well anyway, it certainly is a city that you can picture what the days of a royal family living here were like. In fact, its castle was the inspiration that Walt Disney had when creating Princess Cinderella’s castle. 

Can you see the similarities to Cinderella’s castle?

Anyway, this town which is a lot less touristy than Toledo has just as much charm as the latter. It has its own impressive cathedral, and plenty of beautiful views. 

The Cathedral in the town’s center is an impressive sight

However, what most people go to Segovia to see is the ancient Roman aqueduct that is in almost perfect condition. This aqueduct was built when the Romans occupied Spain and has survived over 2,000 years. After seeing this incredible sight in person, I am in awe of the achievements of ancient civilizations. However, there is the theory that aliens did it… I mean look how big this thing is and tell me it’s not a possibility.

The ancient Roman aqueduct which is what Segovia is known for

So that’s it for my visual presentation of my tour through Spain. I highly recommend visiting Spain, due to its plethora of history, beauty, and culture. Plus, Spain, just like most European countries, is cheap and easy to travel around. Besides cheap flights, trains, and buses, there is also this amazing app called Bla Bla Car. It is sort of like a long-distance Uber, and it is what I used to get both to and from Barcelona, and to Benidorm (next to Altea). While Spanish people often gripe about the long drive times, like the 7 hour drive to Barcelona, to us Americans it is a breeze. I mean I drove 19 hours to Florida this past Spring, so I am definitely not complaining about a 7 hour drive that only cost me 30 euros. Plus, it was another opportunity for me to practice my Spanish with other random travelers. I had some great conversations with my Bla Bla Car drivers and fellow passengers!

Overall, interning in Spain has given me the opportunity to learn more about a different culture and appreciate what it is to be a global citizen. I feel very lucky to have such great internship and global opportunities through OSU and through Fisher!

If you have any questions about any of the places I visited or just about Spain in general let me know! Plus, I can give you any information you need to know about the Madrid Summer Global Internship program with Fisher. My email is ward.1277@osu.edu!

 

 

An Overview of the Fisher Summer Global Internship Program

In this post I’m going to explain how the Fisher Global Internship process works, how I ended up at the company I am currently interning for, and how I know I made the best decision!

When applying for the Fisher Global Internship program, you’ll first start at the main website.  There you can learn more about the Summer Global Internship program as a whole, such as the application process, the eligibility guidelines, cancellation policy, etc. You can also look into Location Specific Information. This is perfect to learn more about the dates of the program, the program cost, and extra information. I knew from the start that I wanted to go to Madrid because I wanted to learn more about Spanish language and culture. However, there are many exciting opportunities out there around the world through Fisher! If going to a location that doesn’t speak English makes you really uncomfortable, you can apply for the London, Sydney, and Dublin programs. If you are up to the challenge of going somewhere non-English speaking, there are programs in Lisbon, Singapore, Hong Kong, and (obviously) Madrid! If you are an international student, you are also eligible to go to Chicago or NYC to delve even deeper into American culture.

You don’t necessarily have to speak Spanish to work in Spain! From left to right: Caroline understands most Spanish and can speak some, Emily speaks no Spanish (she took French in high school), I am majoring in Spanish so understand and speak it pretty well, Madison also took french in high school so didn’t know any Spanish coming in, and Fernanda is from Mexico so she obviously is fluent. The most important thing is a willingness to learn the language and culture, and you’ll have a great summer!

Once you know that you meet the eligibility requirements and know which country you want to venture to for the summer you can apply. The application has several parts, but none of the parts are incredibly difficult if you put in effort. You have to submit your resume, of course, and a resume review agreement which demonstrates that you took the effort to get your resume checked by someone who is qualified to do so. Yes, it is required, but it is also incredibly beneficial to your chances of getting into the program and for applying to internships in general. I’m not going to lie, when I went to the Peer Career Coaches walk-in hours, my coach literally crossed out ¾ of the page. Yet, my resume knowledge improved so much after a short 20 minute meeting and I have since gotten another job (other than this internship) with my impeccable resume. The final part of the application is a personal statement about why you want to participate in the program and what kind of internship you are looking for/expecting. Before you get nervous at this daunting task- know that it is only a page long and is basically just talking about what you want. It is more helpful for them to find you a proper internship than to assess you. Your academic record and resume already give them enough to go on when deciding whether you are a suitable candidate, so the personal statement won’t make or break your admission into the program.

The applications have different waves of deadlines. If you apply before a certain deadline, then you will hear halfway through the month following the deadline whether or not you got in. You can apply as early as I did (before the first deadline on September 28) or as late as January 15. Once you find out you are admitted into the program, you will create a profile for your country-specific program and meet for a Placement “Interview” with your program’s Resident Director. I put “Interview” in quotes because this meeting is not an interview for your actual internship. Instead it is a chance to ask questions about the program, for your Resident Director to find out more information as to what type of company and internship you want to work for, and to give you all you need to know on next steps. Also, it gives you a chance to practice interviewing in a professional manner before you actually interview for a potential company in your program country. For some, this might be the first professional interview they have ever done.

The next step is waiting. The program will be submitting your resume to different companies, trying to match you with the best fit for your preferences and skill-set. I specifically asked to work for a start-up because I am especially interested in entrepreneurship and running my own business one day. When working for a smaller company, you are more likely to have a bigger role in their business, have the chance to interact with more people on a more personal level, and you can see how a business is run on all different aspects.

So what happens when you have a company interested in interviewing you? The answer is you either confirm or deny their interview offer. Believe it or not, I actually turned down my first internship offer. It was for a large corporation, a very reputable company in fact, but like I said before, I wanted to work for a start-up. That’s the beauty of this program, you can have a say in what type of company you work for. In fact, my roommate now in Madrid is interning with that first company I turned down because the big-corporate culture was what she was interested in!

I would like to add that the later you apply, the more narrow your skill-set, and the pickier you are, the less likely you are to find a company that suits your desires. When pairing one of the interns in Madrid this summer, the company actually went through 27 different companies because his interest was so specific and specialized. He ended up having to settle for a broader category because he wanted something too specific. However, the program dedicates all their time and effort into matching you somewhere you would be happy, and he loves his internship placement either way!

The company I work for now checks all my boxes. Clever Ecommerce is a smaller company that is expanding as we speak. As I’m working here, I have the opportunity to have a bigger role than I might’ve as an intern in a huge corporation- I’m actually working on the marketing plan and strategy for a new brand they are building. They haven’t even launched the website fully yet, that is something I get to work on and I’m extremely excited about. They also see me as a valuable asset to their team and are letting me expand on one of my ideas to develop them a new social media channel! Again, I was excited to get to work for a start-up to see better how all aspects of a business are run and expanded. I can easily pop over to the room to talk to any of the tech guys or the account managers. I have even gotten to talk to the CEO in the coffee room or at after-work drinks/dinner.

Here’s a picture of me in the office! They took pictures of all the new interns and introduced us on their social media profiles.

In summary, the Global Internship is pretty sweet, and internship opportunities are tailored to your interests. I’m finishing up my fourth week working here, which marks the halfway point and I can honestly say I’ve loved it here in Spain and at Clever Ecommerce. If you have any questions about the Global Internship Program, my job at Clever Ecommerce, or anything else feel free to reach out to me at ward.1277@osu.edu!

Here’s a pretty picture of Madrid, just because.

My first week at Clever Ecommerce and in Madrid!

Hello all! I am incredibly excited to share my experience this summer with you all and hope that I can provide some entertainment, insight and advice. This is my first time blogging, but also not my last as my internship actually includes me writing on the company’s blog as well.

First, I’ll give a little background on me and then I will go into the details of my first week here.

My name is Dana Ward and this fall I will be entering my Junior Year at Ohio State! I am from Worthington, Ohio, which is a suburb only 20 minutes north of Ohio State’s campus (so I was raised a Buckeye of course). I am currently pursuing a dual degree in Business and Spanish, but when it comes to my specialization within Fisher, I’m still searching for the one that fits best for me!

This summer I’ll be working for a small start-up that is located in the heart of Madrid; actually it’s located right next to the Royal Palace of Madrid (the view from my work can be seen in the picture below)

The company is called Clever Ecommerce and it is a technology and software company focused on enabling small companies to advertise their ecommerces on Google Ads. They have developed an app that companies can use for free (although there are premium upgrades) to allow them to navigate the tricky, elaborate, and non-intuitive nature of Google Ads.

If you know me at all, you know that technology and I don’t exactly see eye to eye. I was the person in CSE that actually preferred doing the written tests because it’s easier for me to  memorize words than navigate anything computer based. My mom, who has experience in IT, is often at a loss for words at the new and creative, although unintentional ways that I find to crash my laptop.

However much technology and I don’t agree, I don’t exactly have to do any of the manual coding. Instead I am working for the marketing department, which is a field that I potentially have interest in for my specialization and want to try it out in the real world. Yet, in order to do the marketing for Clever Ecommerce, I need to know how Google Ads, SEO, the different types of online traffic, GDN, Google Analytics, etc function. Upon arriving on my first day and hearing all of this, I was a little nervous to say the least. However, the two ladies in the marketing department who are mine and the other intern from OSU’s supervisors assured us they would help us every step away. Therefore, this first week has been filled with learning the basics about Google Ads, Google Analytics, and inbound marketing.

I am excited to be learning all about these things that will benefit me so much in the future. Having these skills, and eventual certificates will set me apart from my peers and allow me to be a powerful asset to whatever company I end up working for.

Not only am I excited to learn more about marketing, I am ecstatic that I will get to improve upon my Spanish speaking skills. From the first day I touched down, I have been practicing my Spanish: whether it’s with the Cabify driver from the airport, the waiters and workers in Madrid, or my coworkers (who all speak English as well but are almost more excited to practice Spanish with me than I am). The opportunity to intern in Madrid was what drew me to the Fisher Global Internship Program because I knew my Spanish would improve immensely, which I can honestly say it has after just one week. I have even had a lot of people tell me that my Spanish is great, even though my accent is American (which I can live with)!

Some lessons I’ve learned in my first week working in a different country:

Spanish work-life is different than America’s: In America, everything is “time is money.” For Spanish people, quality always beats quantity, and they like to live their life, whether it’s at home or at work, at a leisurely place. This means it’s acceptable to walk into work a little later, take a longer lunch sometimes, and sit and chat when you need a break. However, they expect your work to be done with 100% effort. This means that even though I have more time than I might have tasks to do, I can always be improving my past work, or learning more-such as progressing in the online courses/certifications I need.

However different Spain and the U.S. are, everyone loves Steak and shake!

Working in an office can be hard: Never before have I had to work a typical office job from 9-5 (or in Spain it’s 10-5:30). Sitting down all day and staring at a computer can be hard and exhausting. This is why it’s important to stay positive, make the most out of your time, interact and have fun with your coworkers, and take breaks/walks if needed. Also, I started wearing my glasses to work instead of my contacts due to the blue-light protection (it really does make a difference).

Finally, working in another country is intimidating, but have fun! Even though I speak Spanish semi-fluently, I was still so nervous to walk in my first day. Just like any job, walking into work on the first day is intimidating- first impressions are important. However, my coworkers are friendly and are just like my coworkers back in Columbus. They like to chat, talk about Game of Thrones in our group chat, and have after work outings too. I plan on soaking up every second of the Spanish culture and learn a thing or too about Madrid while I’m here, on top of learning more about marketing.

Here my coworkers and I grabbed gelato at the end of our workbreak!

Like they say in Spain, Hasta Luego! Stay tuned to hear about my weekends traveling around Europe, what it’s like to work at a smaller company, and much more!!