Hi, I’m Kira and I’ve had the honour of managing the International Arbeiten project and the German-speaking jobseeker community for Blu Selection for the last 6 months. Unfortunately, my internship is now coming to an end. I thought before I go, I would share with you my experiences and a few tips. It’s best to start from the beginning…
How did my internship experience start?
After I had my bachelor’s degree in my pocket, I knew it was time for me to go abroad.
In 2018, I decided to study psychology in Leiden, Holland. This was my first time away from home. Unfortunately, the pandemic came in 2020 and I had to move back home at short notice. Although it was very nice to be back with my family, I realise that I needed to get out. I wanted to experience something new.
I decided to do an internship because I didn’t feel much like continuing my studies right away. For me, it was somehow always clear that I wanted to go to Spain because I had never been there before and was simply drawn there. I chose Barcelona because I wanted to live near the beach. I had heard a lot about the beautiful city and was ready for a new experience.
I was very lucky to find Blu Selection. With each step of my application, I felt happier and happier to be in contact with such a friendly company. When I was told that I had got the internship, I was so happy. And from then on I counted the days until I could finally meet the great team in Barcelona.
The first days in Barcelona
My first days in Barcelona were filled with ups and downs. The evening I arrived I felt quite lonely because I went straight from my family home to a lonely flat alone in Barcelona. It was all new territory for me, but somehow that also made it exciting.
The next day I woke up to the sun streaming through my window. I wanted to get out as soon as possible to enjoy the sun to the fullest. When I was outside and discovered the city for the first time, I immediately remembered why I wanted to come here. The sun, the atmosphere, the architecture, the beach, the sea, etc. – I had made it and was now officially living in Barcelona for the next few months!
After a few initial difficulties, like getting internet without a Spanish phone number and bank account, I felt more and more comfortable in the new city. I met new people (I can recommend the app Bumble BFF for that) and slowly got to know my way around more and more. I think the familiarity with the city came from cycling to and from work every day. I can really recommend everyone to get the Bicing subscription. Especially if you have to sit all day at work, it’s a good chance to get some fresh air and exercise.
How to imagine Barcelona?
There are so many different cultures living in Barcelona, which means you meet people from all over the world, which I’ve always found great. There are lots of Facebook groups, language exchanges and clubs you can join. This is one of the easiest ways to make friends and explore your new surroundings. The different cultures in Barcelona are also strongly reflected in the restaurant scene, as there are so many different cuisines and always new places to discover – I am constantly adding to my list of new restaurants to try. That’s one thing I’m going to miss a lot now that I’m going back home for a while.
I also loved that there is always so much to do. Barcelona is definitely a city where you will never be bored. There’s often some kind of event, lots of places to walk around, a bar on every corner and so on. The atmosphere in Barcelona is very social, so you always see groups of friends and families enjoying a drink with tapas together on a cosy terrace. I also love that you have the option of going to the beach or going to the mountains – it’s the best of both worlds.
Do I need to speak Spanish to get around in Barcelona?
I would also say that you don’t have to worry if you don’t speak Spanish. Yes, it will help you tremendously, but I also managed to move to Barcelona without speaking a word of Spanish, and I managed to get by just fine. If you’re moving here for the long term, learning Spanish is obviously recommended, but if you’re just going to study abroad for a while or take a gap year, English will do for now.
I think there’s a big misconception when people say you have to learn the language, which I think also stops a lot of people from moving abroad. Barcelona is a very touristy city, so a lot of people speak English. Learning a few phrases in Catalan might be polite, but it’s definitely not necessary to live here.
Is there anything else to know about living in Barcelona?
Another thing that is important to mention: beware of pickpockets! They are very clever, so make sure you always have your things with you – so it’s best to bring your bag in front of your body when getting on public transport or just walking around the city. Also, never leave your phone or bag on the table or a seat near you. I had bought a mobile phone case that is connected with a cord and then wear it across my torso under my jacket. This way, there is less risk of being robbed quickly, because they are mostly concerned with getting the phone quickly.
My final advice would be to get involved and just say yes to a lot of things because I probably could have improved that myself. As I mentioned before, Barcelona is a cosmopolitan city, so a lot of people will also be ex-pats. There are many Facebook groups, language exchanges and clubs to join. This is one of the easiest ways to make friends and explore your new surroundings.
All Good Things Must Come To An End…
Goodbye Barcelona, Goodbye Blu Selection
My time in Barcelona was filled with new impressions and now at the end, I really wonder where the time went. I am so glad that I took this step to move to Barcelona on my own. It might be a bit harder at first, but once you settle in, it’s hard to leave Barcelona. I am looking forward to being home, but I will miss my time here very much.
Above all, I am grateful for Blu Selection. They have given me so much more than just experience in marketing and recruitment, they have also shown me what it is like to grow together in an organisation and support each other. In the end, I think that is what I value the most and I am very grateful to have been able to experience that. I have often thought about how lucky I was to have found Blu and to work in such a great environment with great colleagues who make me smile every day.
I will miss the whole team so much after the warm welcome they gave me. I can only recommend an internship or a job at Blu Selection to anyone who might be reading this. Make the effort and come to Barcelona, even if it’s only for 6 months… You won’t regret it!
And: if you are already in Barcelona and looking for a new job (or know someone who is looking), feel free to drop by here and get to know the great team!