Internship application season beginsBy Anna Scott Lovejoy | 03/03/2016 10:35am
The time of year for applying to summer internships is almost coming to a close. As most of the college students on campus can attest, this frantic season of school plus job or internship applications can be the most stressful part of the semester. Not only is finding the most fitting job or internship extremely difficult, students face the struggles of updating their resume, writing cover letters, solidifying living plans and keeping their grades up at the same time. All of the stress and excitement of this process are precisely what I am experiencing right now, but my summer internship goal is slightly different than the typical rising junior student.
Currently, I am a sophomore trying to find a local job as well as navigate the incredibly, and literally, foreign pathway toward landing a paid summer internship in Barcelona, Spain. Although I do not know many students eager to dive in and move to a foreign country for three months or more in the middle of their college career, I am sure I cannot be the only one crazy enough to dream about taking their summer internships to the next level of exciting and confusing. The University of Alabama has a department for students eager to study abroad or intern abroad through programs students typically pay a tuition fee for, but upon asking for resources applying to paid internships outside of programs with tuition fees, I was given the advice to merely take to surfing the net for student jobs in the Spanish cities I considered working in. In all honesty, my parents initially rolled their eyes at my seemingly absurd proposal to move back to Spain for a second summer in a row; yes, I already studied two months in Spain with a program last summer. Although this summer, I wanted to work just as I would have planned to work somewhere in the United States. Spain’s culture along with my majors in international studies and Spanish gave me this determined urge to jump in and actually see if I could pull off getting a paid internship abroad.
After spending the time getting my resume edited, reaching out to friends who have local connections in Barcelona, and researching the best student job and internship websites, I found a website called StudentJob.es. In Spanish “.com” is equivalent to “.es”. As I am only a proficient Spanish speaker, I still get confused with the meaning of less commonly used phrases and terminology. I wanted to make a profile on this website because a friend of mine sent me a screenshot of an application she had received from a friend in Barcelona, and the website was included in the picture of the job application. I created a profile on the website and uploaded my resume with some translation help from my Spanish 356 teacher, Xabier Granja. The website allows students to indicate their areas of study as well as their areas of interest and desired locations for internships. After processing your information, dozens of applications from different companies that fit your information are presented to you under your student profile. I have since chosen a few that closely fit what type of job I would like to try doing and am nearly done applying to some paid internships in Barcelona. To offer students who share the similar desire of moving to a different country for an internship outside of a program offered at The University of Alabama, I strongly recommend this website as well as just taking the time to research similar websites.
Perhaps it is unlikely that I will land an internship abroad, save enough money to pay for my flights, make enough money to cover rent and find roommates all to make my dream come true this summer, but after putting a sense of determination and urgency into possibly accomplishing this goal, I now more than ever realize that I could actually do this one summer if I just work hard enough. Moving to a different country for a summer or six months to work requires a lot of research and energy. In fact, every step I check off, I find out about five more steps I still need to take, yet I understand they are steps I am indeed capable of taking. As someone who has no idea what they will end up doing, I reflect on what I believe to be the best career advice I have ever gotten: To know what career you want, you have to spend time doing internships. Even if they end up showing you what career you don't want to have, internships will get you where you need to be in some way or another.
Anna Scott Lovejoy is a sophomore majoring in general business and biology. Her column runs biweekly.