STEP Reflection – Madrid Internship

  1. Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project.

This summer, I completed an internship in Madrid, Spain through Fisher’s Office of Global Business. I completed a marketing internship at Caler, a real estate asset advisory firm. My specific tasks include preparing and editing press releases, translating and editing financial reports, and conducting market research on the Spanish and Portuguese hotel markets.

  1. What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project?

After this experience, I have realized that I am much more independent than I first assumed. Unfortunately, I had to start my internship 2 weeks later than the program start date because I contracted strep throat and mono a few weeks before I was supposed to leave. Due to this, I had to travel to Spain, find my apartment, move-in, and purchase my Metro card all by myself (all on the first day). I am the type of person whose first instinct is to ask for help rather than rely on myself and I am proud that I was able to accomplish so much on my own. Additionally, the hours of my internship were shorter than those of my friends, and I was able to leave work hours before they left their jobs. Instead of going back to my apartment, most days I would explore the city by myself. This experience proved that I am independent enough to traverse a foreign city comfortably and easily.

Additionally, I assumed that I would never feel entirely comfortable while in Madrid. Although I would be there for 6 weeks, I thought that I would still feel like I was in a foreign city the entire time. However, I was very mistaken. I quickly adapted to the city and truly felt like a local by the end of my time there. It was very comforting to know that it’s possible to find a home away from home, even on another continent.

  1. What events, interactions, relationships, or activities during your STEP Signature Project led to the change/transformation that you discussed in #2, and how did those affect you?

The biggest transformation that I experienced was my perception of Madrid. My view of the city quickly changed from being a place that I was visiting to a place where I was living. There were many events, interactions, and relationships that led to this change.

First and foremost, the main thing that led to this transformation were the many relationships I built during my experience. Two of my three roommates were random, but we quickly became best friends. They made our tiny apartment truly feel like a home, and I knew that if I had a hard day at work, they would be there with open arms. Luckily, however, I did not have many hard days at work due to my relationship with my bosses. They were incredibly compassionate and patient and made me feel valued every single day.

Beyond the personal relationships I made, the general interactions I had with Madrileños made the city feel like home. Every store I entered, restaurant I dined in, and most people I passed while on my way to work greeted me with a smile and a happy “hola.” These small encounters made me feel comfortable in a foreign city.

  1. Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life?

Although I was born and raised in Columbus, and I now go to college in Columbus, there is still a possibility that I may not live in Columbus in the future. This experience has shown me that I am able to find a home away from home. I was able to find a home 4,000 miles away, and now I find myself searching for summer internships all over the country because distance doesn’t have to be associated with discomfort. And most importantly, I know that I can step out of my comfort zone – whether it is in a personal or professional setting, I know that I can challenge myself and push myself to try new things.

Barcelona, Spain

Valencia, Spain