Madrid is the perfect place for interns looking to balance work and play. As the capital of Spain, Madrid is a major business and government hub, and subsequently has ample internship opportunities. Madrid is full of a hustle and bustle that gives people a irresistible spring in their step. The city is also filled with incredible museums, such as the Prado Museum, but in reality the whole city feels like a beautiful museum on its own. Internships in Madrid will be a great mix of professional experience, cultural immersion, and entertainment opportunities.
Internships in Madrid
Madrid is a major European city, meaning there are internship opportunities at both large international businesses and small companies. The business, tourism, and hospitality industries are the bread and butter of internships in Madrid, but there are ample opportunities in other fields, such as fashion and art, too.
Tourism and hospitality account for such a large amount of internships in Madrid, because of the vast size of the industry, with over six million tourists visiting Madrid annually. A tourism internship in Madrid is sure to be exciting, and give interns the chance to interact with people from all over the world. If you see yourself interning in a hotel, restaurant, resort, or even as a tour guide, navigate the winding, cobblestone streets daily, then tourism and hospitality internships in Madrid are for you!
Business internships in Madrid are plentiful. Every major Spanish company has either their headquarters or an office located in Madrid. It is especially easy to find an internship in Madrid if you are looking for a marketing-focused placement, but there are other related fields with numerous opportunities too, such as finance, accounting, and international relations.
Law, politics, and public administration are all popular fields for internships in Madrid, as it is the capital and seat of government. Placements range from local political operatives to NGO’s with initiatives or offices based in Madrid. Law internships in Madrid with local firms are also rewarding placement options, especially for law students. As a bustling metropolis, internships with political or public organizations will keep interns busy with community relations, outreach, and grassroots initiatives.
Those who decide to intern abroad in Madrid will find that Spanish language skill are very helpful, and required in many internship placements. Often times, internship program providers or employers will offer Spanish lessons, and even intensive crash courses, for interns to help them improve their Spanish skills before and during their internship in Madrid. Interns’ hours of work will range from part time to full time, depending on the company and internship placement.
Life in Madrid
Individuals will find that they work hard and play hard as an intern in Madrid, because this city is entirely full of life day and night. Known for some of the best food in the world, the options for eating out are endless (as well as options for fun weekends and nights on the town). The general culture of Madrid is welcoming, but can sometimes be a little intense for first time visitors. Don’t be taken back if someone holds a stare just a few seconds too long, this is normal there, and take time to adjust and get to know the local way of life before jumping to conclusions.
As far as work etiquette goes, punctuality is expected, but don’t be surprised if things don’t go according to planned. Locals often prioritize friends and family over work or employment responsibilities, and if needed will allow things to run a little behind schedule.
Public transportation is ample in Madrid, making getting around and nearly any daily commute easy. Taxis are pretty cheap in Madrid, especially when compared to other European cities. If you are looking for some cultural sights that are easy to get to, you won’t have any problem at all! Within a two hour drive of the city center there are nine UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the imperial cities of Toledo and Segovia. If you have a shorter break in your day and you want to explore, you can always head to Plaza Mayor and find a nice cafe to relax in too.
Lastly, but not least important, Madrid’s futbol team, Real Madrid, must be mentioned. An internship in Madrid is not complete without visiting the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium to watch a a Real Madrid match.
Salary & Costs
Most internships in Madrid are unpaid, hence interns are unlikely to receive a salary. On the bright side, Madrid is affordable in comparison to other major European cities. Rent is a third of the price of London, not to mention accommodation is often included in upfront internship program costs and therefore will be provided for you. A one-way bus ticket is less than $2 and interns can get a meal at an inexpensive restaurant for $11. When work continues after hours and it is time for a caña, or short glass of beer, it’ll thankfully cost less than $2 in indulge. If you are looking for a big city internship experience abroad, without the price tag of New York City, London, or Sydney, interning in Madrid is a great opportunity for you.
Accommodation & Visas
Apartments and dormitories are the most common type of accommodation provided through internship programs in Madrid, usually because there are plenty of furnished apartments located in central Madrid. Being located in a central areas also means that public transportation will likely be at your doorstep, literally. However, sometimes homestays are also provided, which are great for interns who want an opportunity to get to know the local culture and language on a deeper level.
Interns will need a visa to intern in Madrid for over 90 days. Visas for long-term internships in Madrid are unfortunately hard to obtain. Be sure to speak with your internship program provider to work out the proper paperwork you’ll need and how possible a long-term visa is for you, based on your placement and home country. On the other hand, if you plan to intern in Madrid for less than 90 days and you are from the European Union or the United States, a visa is not needed as long as you are not receiving significant monetary compensation.
Benefits & Challenges
Madrid’s nightlife is one of its’ main attractions. Not just clubs and bars, but tapas bars for a good bite to eat, jazz lounges to get away from modern hip-hop, and of course Flamenco theatres, which can be considered one of the highlights of living in Madrid. There really is something for everyone when it comes to nightlife in Madrid.
Urban living is something that can be a headache or a bonus, but either way, it is something to consider before interning in Madrid. As beautiful as the city is, there are a lot of locals, expats, and tourists out and about in the city on any given day, which can be challenging for those unseasoned to city life.