Would you like to know what an internship abroad is like? Follow the experiences of Zvonimir, a student interning at a top event management company from Madrid specialising in sporting events!
I always thought about leaving the country, even just for a limited time, so I didn’t have to think twice when I was given the opportunity to participate in Erasmus, whether to study or for an internship. As the situation developed over time, a student internship was arranged with a company involved in all sorts of activities related to sport management, with headquarters in Madrid. This sounded very appealing to me when the time came to make my decision.
My experience abroad began on a Sunday, 13 March 2016, when I landed at the Madrid–Barajas Airport. I was welcomed there by my host, Huaira. I found Huaira through AirBnb while I was looking for a place to stay near the office. As the price suited me, it took only two or three messages to arrange everything. As I set off on my journey with 50 kg of luggage, as I had to take my bike along for the ride, my host agreed to meet me at the airport and take me to the flat where I will stay for awhile. My good relationship with my host began while sightseeing the city centre and over a few beers we had in order to stay well hydrated for the several kilometre-long tour under the hot Spanish sun that was confidently lingering in the sky (and lo and behold, it’s still there). Drinking beer was not everything we did. While talking, an interesting bit of information came up – my host makes his own beer. I immediately knew we would get along great when I heard this. 🙂
I was supposed to show up at the offices of Events GB, the company where I am interning, the very next day. I didn’t find this difficult because everything starts a few hours later here. The Sun itself is quite late in comparison to Croatia. Therefore, I need to be at work around 9:30, giving me plenty of time to rest and to head to work without hassles or the need to hurry. I arrived to a pleasant office atmosphere when I came to work, where several other students from Germany and Spain are also interning. The company is currently involved in several projects – II Madrid Weekender, MBA Sport Management „Madrid Master Class 2016“ (MA in sport management) and is organising several congresses worldwide. There’s a ton of work, but as is typically Spanish, everything is done without hassles or stress, making it easier to work. My duties include the management of various social networks, focusing on business communications via LinkedIn, designing various graphics (brochures, banners, flyers, presentations…) and communicating with other people who are doing work for the company when needed.
Erasmus is not all about work. Emphasis is also put on meeting new people, places and cultures, so there is work to be done in this department as well. Madrid is a city of several million people and known for drawing large numbers of students from all over the world, making it easy to meet many interesting people. In the flat, I had the opportunity to meet my roommate’s friends from the whole of South America. Thanks to an acquaintance of mine from Macedonia, I had the opportunity to meet many Spaniards, while on weekdays International Meetups in coffee shops and restaurants throughout the centre of Madrid are common. There you can meet a bunch of people from all over the world, whether they are studying, living or working here, or just travelling through Madrid.
However, the most important thing for me was to find people who would show me the surrounding mountains and tracks for cycling. On the Internet, I stumbled with relative ease on an interesting group calling themselves AllMountain Madrid that frequently goes on rides. They are a varied bunch, from bicycle repairers, people from the cycling industry, tourist agents and even cops, making it easy to cover all problems that might possibly arise in the future. 🙂 During the first month I discovered several interesting places, like Casa del Campo, a big park in the very centre of Madrid where the world cup in cross country cycling used to take place; El Pardo, a sandy paradise in the vicinity of Madrid ideal for those looking for a more aggressive ride; Patones, a small village beneath the mountains that serves as the starting point for exciting and challenging endurance tours – the fact that numerous teams competing in the Enduro Spain cup may be seen there is proof that those tracks are challenging and good for practising. All rides end, as can be expected, with good food and beer needed to restore energy. This makes the 40 kilometres that are cycled regularly easier to endure.
Some interesting facts about prices in Madrid
Eating is necessary for survival as well. With many franchises like McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, 100 Montaditos and various restaurants offering all possible cuisines, prices in Madrid are such that eating out everyday is not very affordable. As much as eating in restaurants is expansive, prices in supermarkets are so affordable that it is possible to make it through an entire month with three rich dishes daily, with fruit, vegetables, as well as snacks on the side for just over €100. Here’s a comparison of some of the foods I regularly buy: a baguette costs around HRK 2.5, 16 large eggs are HRK 10, 1 kg of boneless chicken is around HRK 30, you can buy 1 kg of salmon for HRK 50, while 0.5 l of an average-quality beer costs around HRK 2.50 if bought in packs of 24.
Public transportation prices are even better. For HRK 150 a month I get to ride as much as I want, wherever I want (within a 100 km circle covered by the public transportation system of Madrid), by whatever means I choose – the metro, buses and trains. Bicycles can board any of those, with certain restrictions in place in the metro during rush hours. To compare, in Split I would have to pay HRK 265 for an all-zone monthly pass, covering a much smaller area and only offering bus services.
Phone-related costs are more or less the same as in Croatia concerning mobile devices. However, for €20 a month you can get an optical link, including TV and phone services, in your home, which is, suffices to say, excellent.