¡Hola! My name is Julia and I am an upcoming senior here at Michigan studying mathematics and economics. I am interning at Avet Ventures, a venture capital firm that invests in technology start-ups, in Barcelona, Spain this summer. I was attracted to this opportunity because I think that the technology industry is interesting and unique. I want to work in finance or investing, so I hope that this position will allow me to gain real-world skills in these fields while also allowing me to experience life in another country.
My first impressions of Barcelona and my internship have been great overall. I arrived last Monday and only had one day before starting work to find my way around the city. Although I have been to Barcelona before, the city was much larger than I anticipated, although public transportation makes it easy to get around. Barcelona is made up of a number of neighborhoods that each have their own unique dynamic. I feel lucky to be in a place that truly has a little bit of everything. With a simple trip on the metro, I can go to the city center, the mountains or the beach in just a few minutes.
Everyone at my internship has been extremely kind and welcoming. The Spanish work culture is known for being laid back and relationship-based, which has made settling in and getting to know my coworkers very easy. The most interesting part of my internship so far has been the mixture of languages spoken. One of my goals while here in Barcelona is to improve my LSA-language-requirement-level Spanish speaking skills. Surprisingly, I have not had very many opportunities to practice Spanish yet. Barcelona in the autonomous community of Catalonia which has their own language, Catalan. It was described to me as a mixture of Spanish, French, Portuguese and Latin. Everyone who speaks Catalan also speaks Spanish, but they will usually speak Catalan instead. I work with four full-time employees and one other intern from the United States. Three of my coworkers speak Catalan, Spanish and English, while the fourth speaks only English and some Spanish, so they are constantly switching back and forth between all three. While it can be challenging to follow their conversations and frustrating to not be using Spanish, it is definitely a unique cultural experience.
Overall, my first week in Barcelona has been amazing. I look forward to seeing what the next seven have to offer!