Name: Abigail Christel
Type of Project: Internship
For my step signature project I had an internship in Madrid, Spain with Rastreator.com, the leading insurance comparator in Spain. The unpaid internship lasted 8 weeks long where I worked in the Data and Innovation Department. I worked on app development and design because they were trying to increase the number of app active users.
I was transformed because I learned a lot about dealing with people. Between the language barrier with my coworkers and meeting 60 new OSU students on the trip I felt that I became an expert in understanding and talking to people. For example, I remembered what people loved to talk about or things that they were passionate about and would have conversations about it.
Also, I learned that I am more of a laid-back person than I thought I was. I knew going into the trip that the Spanish culture was more relaxed and not as deadline focused, but I didn’t realize how easy of I time I would have adjusting to the different culture. It was still a shock for my type A personality, but I was able to understand that I can turn it off in different scenarios.
I felt that weekend trips were one of the main contributors that dramatically increased my ability to deal with people. I went into the trip barely knowing two people, none of which I traveled with on the weekends. Meeting new people and spending extended periods of time with them (hostels, sight-seeing, eating), I learned a lot of about my strengths and weaknesses along with others. This was a pivotal point for me because I learned I had natural ability to deal with people and work out compromises.
My work situation also led to this transformation because I learned how to not freak out when none of my coworkers were doing productive work for extended periods of time. A lot of the time I would think how this would never be acceptable in the United States, but then I would have to understand that I am in a different culture and that they have different expectations and standards. For example, my boss would spend all this time thinking of what the company would do in five to fifteen years but would not focus on actionable steps that the company could take to reach those goals. I had to use my people skills to steer him to the conclusion that we should focus on the next five years versus what will happen in five years. This affected me because I learned how to talk to my superiors to convey a point but still allowing them to save face.
I also became more laid back during meals. The Spanish culture eats lunch around 2-3pm and dinner around 9-10pm which was so different from the United States. The service was also much slower and I had to learn to take my time and enjoy my company versus thinking about how much time we were spending there or getting impatient wondering where our food was. This affected me because I learned that you can get by not worrying about how much time you are spending because everything will work itself out.
I think one of my big takeaways is the relationships matter. Most of the time you need to put the relationship above your own needs because if you don’t, it will probably end up backfiring at you. This will be very important in all aspects of my life because I will put the needs of others above my own. I will try and make myself an enjoyable person to be around and someone who genuinely cares about people because I feel that is more important than what a resume or GPA conveys. I will use my people skills developed on this trip to try and be more understanding of people and their needs and issues.