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Internships in Barcelona

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Should Have Stayed Longer

As I write this, I only have one night left of my 3 month stay here in Barcelona. At this point my only regret is not planning to stay for longer. While getting used to hearing and speaking Spanish was difficult at first, Kingsbrook language school was a huge help. The teachers are extremely helpful and the classes were always a fun learning environment. Besides learning Spanish, the school was also a great way to make friends quickly. Through Kingsbrook I was lucky enough to make great friends from all over the world.

In terms of the internship, I was not quite sure what to expect prior to my arrival. One week after starting at the company however, I already found myself very happy with the placement. The internship had me learning about global sourcing, an industry that piqued my genuine interest in international business. They treated me as a full member of their team and provided projects that challenged me to learn on my own while they were always available to help. Overall, the internship left me with practical knowledge of an industry I had known little about prior to working with them.

Finally, a review of my stay here would not be complete without mentioning that Barcelona is absolutely one of the most amazing cities I have ever been to. Barcelona has everything someone could ask for. Beautiful landmarks and architecture, nightlife, the beach, fine cuisine, mountains to climb, people from across the globe to meet, and more. There is hardly ever a boring moment in this vibrant city.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Truly Free City

Adelante's coordination of my marketing internship in Barcelona was great. The program followed through on all of its promises, and the support was clearly there if and when I needed it. Luckily, I didn't because Barcelona is such a awesome place. I am so happy I got to call it home for two months. My apartment was a hop, skip, and a jump away from the metro which could take me anywhere in the city. I worked for 4 hours a day, and that time split between work and cultural immersion made life extremely enjoyable. I met so many great people, whether it was through school, work, the program, or a social setting. More importantly, it was a great time to get to know myself. This program was better than a study abroad expierence because I was truly free. There was nobody that forced me to do anything I didn't want to do, and there was no after-school homework. Many people assume that classes abroad will be a walk in the park, but I met more than a few people who were frustrated with class requirements. Adelante allowed me to bolster my CV in a way that I can be proud to talk about in my next interview. Barcelona itself is phenomenal city. As long as you are aware of whats going on around you, you should be safe. The city offers so many options, from being a beach bum to clubs to museums. In the summer, it was hot and there was no AC in my apartment, but the draft made it relatively easy to sleep. The new culture provided me with a totally different set of challenges, but I feel I have grown as a person because of it. Adelante provided me with the platform to do just that.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    7

  • Social Life

    9

One of the best decisions I have ever made.

Adelante made everything possible for me. I had the opportunity to be immersed in a new, exciting culture and work with locals as an intern. My experience was invaluable, being challenged intellectually, emotionally, professionally, and more every day. I met some amazing people native to Catalonia and from all over the world.

This program placed me in a wonderful apartment with a great host, set me up with two weeks of Spanish courses to strengthen my skills, and the perfect internship working with the best people I could ever ask for. Everyone on the Adelante staff was so helpful and happy to answer all my questions, and were very knowledgeable about the city and what to expect. They exceeded my expectations - I recommend this group to anyone who is interested in studying/interning in Spain!!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

This is something everyone should do at least once in their lifetime. Adelante successfully broadened my horizons with this amazing experience.

I am pleased to say that Adelante has provided me with the most amazing experience. I was the lucky scholarship winner of a three month internship in Barcelona. Not only are my horizons considerably widened I've also gained some much needed international experience. My photography and writing portfolio is pretty impressive - even if I have to say so myself. Apart from that I've also made some amazing new friends.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

Barça Review!

Wouldn't change my experience in Barcelona for the world! I look through my photos from my summer in Europe at least a few times a week! I met incredible people, and was able to do remarkable things! I would recommend this trip to anyone!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Psychology internship in Barcelona

My 5 months internship was an amazing experience. I had the opportunity to learn and grow and to meet alot of new people from different cultures.

The first two weeks I had a Spanish classes in Kingsbrook (school of languages), and there where I met the majority of my friends. beside morning classes, Kingsbrook offers an afternoon activities, and you can continue participating even after you finish you classes.

After two weeks in Kingsbrook I started my internship in YMCA (for 20 hours weekly). The most of the programs in the YMCA are dedicated to helping immigrants (Pakistanis, Indians, Moroccans) in integrating in the society. I participated in 3 main programs: 1) helping people in finding work, 2) teaching Spanish for a group of women, 3) helping kids in preparing their homework in the afternoons.

Overall, I learned many things by participating in these programs, and I had an amazing experience with the staff there (really amazing staff). even though, my internship was meant to be in the Psychology field, but it had nothing to do with psychology. I hope Adelante can be clearer in the future, and describe exactly what will the programs look like, so there won't be misunderstandings.
For me this programs was good and I had a wonderful time, but because for me it wasn't important to learn that much (the important thing for me was the overall experience in Spain). but maybe for someone who really want to grow in the psychology field, it could be a problem to be in the program.

Anyway, it was really a lovely experience and I recommend you to participate, it's unforgettable.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Internship in Barcelona

Great opportunity to experience, learn, and grow!

The 2 weeks of Spanish class at Kingsbrook was super helpful. The teachers are knowledgeable and easy to learn from, and it is a great way to meet other interns in the program, as well as other students from around the world who are also taking class. Good way to begin the time abroad.
The school (and other schools in the city) offer additional classes if you desire, at different times throughout the day. My advice is to look around first and check other schools pricepoints before you commit to Kingsbrook, as good as they are.

My internship was first with a sports company. When that did not end up as promised, Adelante staff worked with me to find me another replacement. The second position ended up being a great experience and I realized that working for a company in the travel industry would be a really cool career. The people that I worked with were a real upbeat group of individuals, young and positive, which made me look forward to going to work. I was able to experience the city in the afternoon and on the weekends.

Housing was great, I was in between two metro stops (each a 5 min walk) where I could get anywhere in the city. 10 minutes from Sagrada Familia, grocery stores, numerous cafes and bars, and multiple other things made my location very good. My roommate was super easy to get along with, and we forged a great friendship.

Please, anyone who is planning on going to Barcelona, or Spain in general with Adelante, don't hesitate to get ahold of me! I'd be more than happy to share all my tips and advice with you! Look for me on facebook (Cody JR Winkler, https://www.facebook.com/cody.winkler9) and I'll try and help you out!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    7

Unique Experience

My internship was an incredible and life-changing experience. I learned more than I could have imagined and experienced a political movement in action, all thanks to Adelante. I loved Barcelona and everything about living and working in the city, but I did struggle to have a thriving social life because there weren't many other interns around and it was hard to connect with them. However, my goal was to get a good work experience and I certainly accomplished that.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Social Life

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Internship Placement

    9

They gave me the tools to make my experience what I wanted it to be.

I'll never forget how scary and thrilling it was trying to navigate a new culture using a new language. Every day before walking out the front door I had to practice phrases I would need for going to the store, ordering coffee, etc. It was challenging and it didn't always go smoothly, but whenever I got something right or successfully left the market with chicken instead of rabbit unlike last time it felt so good!

I was looking for a way to go abroad and experience a new culture as well as boost my resume. This program fit the bill in every way.

My accommodations were clean, spacious, and very near to all the things I needed most in my daily life. The metro station was a few blocks away, the local market was right on my street, coffee shops, restaurants and bakeries were plentiful...it was perfect!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    9

They gave me the tools to make my experience what I wanted it to be.

My experience interning abroad in Barcelona was exactly what I wanted it to be. The job placement process was a bit tricky in the beginning. Originally I was placed with a company new to the Adelante program. That company backed out at the last minute, but Adelante already had a second company lined up to ensure that I would be able to go abroad. Another company may not have been so prepared. My living situation was perfect! At first I had requested to live with other interns, but was placed with a single professional and her two sons. Even though it wasn't the living situation I had asked for, in the end I wouldn't have wanted it any other way! I was given the freedom and independence I desired, but also felt at home and welcomed. The apartment was in a great part of town and was very close to markets and the metro station making it easy to get to wherever I needed to go. The Spanish classes were SO helpful. In just two weeks I learned so much and was given the tools to continue improving my Spanish during my stay. I also met lots of new friends at the language school! My internship provided me with good exposure to my desired industry, but wasn't as challenging as I had hoped. Still, getting experience working with a Spanish company was exciting and interesting! Working 20 hours a week was perfect and allowed me enough time to explore Barcelona with my new friends. Overall, I had the experience of a lifetime and wouldn't change any part of it for the world! Thanks Adelante team!

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Social Life

    6

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    5

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Internship Placement

    8

Great Experience

My internship in Barcelona was an exciting experience to say the least. The city itself has a tremendous amount to offer and a huge number of international students so I was not often bored in my free time. My university had a study abroad program there too, so I was able to explore and hang out with some of my friends for four out of the six months I was here, which made this experience all the more fun. In the internship, although day to day I did not feel as though I contributed much to the organization I did have a handful of enriching opportunities, such as attending campaign rallies with over 17,000 people in attendance, interviewing a Spanish supreme court judge, and meeting a Taiwanese delegation. The housing was a little tumultuous in that my understanding of what it would be like was drastically different from how it ended up being, which eventually ended in me having to move. However, once I was in a more stable location everything was pretty smooth sailing. Adelante and my organization both had a good support system so I never felt alone even in slightly stressful situations. Overall I think the experience was great and the adversity led to helping my grow as an individual.

  • Adelante Abroad responded to this review June 02, 2015 at 12:05 PM

    Thank you Christina so much for this wonderful and helpful review. During your 6 month Intern in Barcelona program with us, you kept in good contact and received solid Evaluations from both domestic and Spain Adelante staff. As you know, your participating company abroad also gave you high marks. To your point about housing: thanks to your ongoing input, during both of your apartment stays in Barcelona, we have made sure to highlight the housing rules and policies in more than just one document, so everyone is clear prior to arrival what is expected of them. Thank you again for the time you have taken to write this review and congratulations on successful completion of a rigorous and rewarding international program!

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    7

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    8

Barcelona review

I have always wanted to travel abroad whether it was with or without a program. It was a good decision doing it with adelante because I was able to get to know Barcelona and gain experience as well. The program provided everything they said they would. The first week or two could seem hard to make friends and time did go by slow but by the third week everything went by quick. I recommend looking up free tours and paid ones of the city or pub crawls, it is a great way to meet people and stay in contact with them throughout your stay. The internship I was placed at was good and I was able to make friends with others completing their internship as well.

If there was anything that could be improved, it would be the room I stayed in was small. However the apartment as a whole was spacious.

  • Adelante Abroad responded to this review March 30, 2015 at 1:51 PM

    Hey Kevin, thanks for the review! Sounds like the first few weeks were a little slow but once you got into the swing of things, everything worked itself out. We're happy to hear you felt choosing to go with us as your provider was a good decision and that everything in your internship program was satisfactory. Good luck to you in all your future endeavors!

    - Adelante

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    6

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

Great Experience

Adelante gave me a great internship in Barcelona. I had so much fun, improved my Spanish greatly, traveled around Europe, and I gained valuable international work experience.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    6

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Great experience!

I gained so much from my three months in Barcelona with Adelante Abroad, both personally and with regards to my future. They make it much less daunting to work abroad as everything is very well organised before travel, including excellent accommodation in the centre of the city (opposite 'la Sagrada Familia!), 2 weeks intensive language lessons and a work placement. I had a great time becoming more independent and experiencing the amazing local culture...also I feel living here and making friends with locals is the best way to learn Spanish and Catalan. Weekend were spent visiting all of the amazing sights Barcelona has to offer, getting in the thick of the local food, music and culture and taking trips to Montserrat, Sitges and other parts of Catalunya. I do think the work placement could of been more challenging but it was still a great investment in my future. I really enjoyed it!!

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    4

  • Program Administration

    5

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

Great abroad experience (and so-so internship) with help from Adelante

My trip to Barcelona was a fun one, and one that would not have been possible without Adelante Abroad's affordable prices. I would tell those looking at this program that you do get what you pay for. It's not exactly the fanciest or best internship jobs, but if you're looking to do some work abroad while also enjoying the experience on the cheap, you've got the right company. I'll list my pros, cons, and tips below.

Pros:
- Very affordable program
- Friendly staff; while small, if you call them up during business hours they are quick to help you/inform you about things.
- The people you meet on the program are all very wonderful. You have a sense of camaraderie because you're all in the same boat, and going through the language school together really helps.
- The internship can often be very relaxed, which gives you a lot of time to explore where you are and really enjoy your time abroad
- I loved the language school; Kingsbrook was a great place with many new faces and people to meet, and was a great way to really gear up for my stay.
- I had a great experience with my housing. Marta was very sweet. Housing can be a bit of a mixed bag though, depending on your situation. Adelante is a smaller program than you think, so it is much more likely you'll live on your own with the apartment owner, or with one other roommate. I lived independently with the apartment owner and had a good time. Two of my other friends had to switch though because of this woman name Rosa who had previously gotten bad reviews from other people. But everyone else had relatively chill experiences with their apartment owners.

Cons:
- Perhaps the most notable of my experience was that the small staff seemed to be a bit disorganized, particularly when setting up my trip experience. I was not informed of my housing placement until 3 days before I left for Barcelona, when I was according to their website supposed to be informed no later than two weeks before I left. This goes double for my internship placement; not only was I informed late about that as well, but it turned out to be a completely different internship than I had requested. That second part was fine and partially expected (they had not promised I'd get my first choice) but it would have been easier to plan for had it not been so late.
- My internship was not as substantial as I would have hoped, but it's kind of a mixed bag depending on what you request. I worked for an LGBT group, but because it was in Barcelona, the heritage and importance of the group in particular was that it was a Catalan group. Adelante advertises Barcelona as if it is a place that Spanish is used commonly, I believe they say it is "the language of business." While I was able to communicate in restaurants and around town, don't be fooled: Catalan is EVERYWHERE and you will be having to parse it out a lot of the time. If you don't engage in Spanish first, people will speak to you in Catalan. They are proud of their culture/language and will use that first and foremost. This proved to be kind of odd at my job though, because that was a big part of their heritage and pride, so myself and my friend were the odd ones out for not speaking Catalan. That made the placement a bit weird as well.

Tips:
- In Barcelona, expect to speak Catalan and here it/see it everywhere.
- It is advertised/said that you'd probably be staying with a lot of people in your apartment, but it's much more likely you'll live on your own
- Reach out to Adelante by phone rather than by email during their office hours; it's quicker that way.
- Have lots of fun!

Improvements:
The biggest complaint myself and others had was that Adelante seems to "puff its chest" a bit by making it seem like a larger program than it is. If Adelante was a bit more humble and honest about its advertising, I think the people on the program would have less issues. Because of how the program was depicted to us, we were expecting apartments where we would share rooms with people on the program, which would let us make friends and socialize much more easily, and that there would be a LOT of people in the program. At the time of my program, I had about 8 people consistently in Barcelona for Adelante, TOTAL. This wouldn't have been a problem had we understood the scale of the program a bit better. Also, the internships were really talked up but a lot of us were underwhelmed by what we ended up getting. Perhaps being more transparent about the internships/who they are partnered with and what the internship will be like would be more helpful for the people applying.

Overall though, for what I was seeking (a cool time to explore abroad while also improving my Spanish over the summer) I got what I personally wanted. You should see if this program is right for you.

  • Adelante Abroad responded to this review August 15, 2016 at 11:37 AM

    Dear Jordan, thanks so much for taking the time to write this review. Glad there were so many Pros and of course I'd like to address the Cons here. In all of our programs the housing is your own room in a shared apartment, and in the Barcelona program only do we try and make sure that at least one roommate is a local. This was market driven by our candidates years ago who wanted to make sure English was not spoken in the housing! And because our program is not a study abroad, with everyone arriving on the same date and ending on the same date, rather an intern abroad program with rolling start dates, roommates can change over the time you are in our program. Lastly, we choose the housing based on where each persons internship is so the commute makes sense vs. putting all candidates in the same housing for social reasons. So, in some cases one apartment is full and in others, less full. Definitely not a group program and we do try and stress that in all of our materials and communications.
    In regards to internship placements, we ask each candidate to give us a "Plan A" and a "Plan B" so we can ethically guarantee your placement in our program (e.g. if our Director abroad cannot find a placement in your first choice, we go to your second choice and this way you know you have a guaranteed placement no matter what) Your internship was at a historic LGBTQ entity that has been around for 40 years. It is non profit organization and often those will have less structure than a for profit entity. Also, you were with us in summer and I'm sure in July you began to feel staff looking forward to their vacations, which is also something we stress to all our short term summer in Spain candidates (that August is a VERY big vacation month and that will affect your internship) It is part of the culture, as is the Catalan. Officially, Castellano is the language of business and also Catalan is widely spoken - it would be near impossible to intern and live in Barcelona without hearing Catalan! However, learning Catalan for a two month summer program is unreasonable, not to mention every person in Barcelona who speaks Catalan also speaks Castellano, or "regular" Spanish.
    It sounds like you had certain expectations and that is always a bit dangerous, especially when this is your first time abroad. It is hard not to have expectations, however Adelante is transparent (you know where you are interning and have a contract with them prior to arrival, same with housing) and does provide all things listed in our program - what we cannot do is know how each individual candidate will do in each separate company or organization. This is why we emphasize that we provide an open door for our candidates, and what they do once they walk through that door is largely up to them. And we agree with you and also stress to inquiring candidates and in our published materials that this program is not for everyone! Thank you again and good luck in all future endeavors - Team Adelante

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    3

  • Living Situation

    5

  • Cultural Immersion

    5

  • Health and Safety

    7

  • Social Life

    9

The adventure of a lifetime

It's safe to say I had an unforgettable summer in Barcelona with Adelante Abroad. Working for a city guide gave me true insight as to what it will be like to work in the publication industry as well as professional experience that I will certainly benefit from once I graduate college. The intensive class at Kingsbrook Idiomas helped me immensely with my communication skills, which is something I definitely wanted to gain through this program. Over the course of the two months I was in Spain, I fell in love with Barcelona and met people whom I will remember for a lifetime. This program is absolutely for an adventurer who can handle obstacles and in no way for those who like to have everything laid out for them. If you are not an extremely independent person, I don't recommend this program at all. However, if you are, it's the perfect experience abroad.

Although I had a great experience in Barcelona overall, support from Adelante staff could definitely be improved upon. When I had a concern, it took way too long for the staff to take me seriously and I had to contact them multiple times. Additionally, communication between the staff in the United States and overseas needs to be improved upon to lessen the amount of discrepancies in what candidates expect and what the program actually entails.

  • Adelante Abroad responded to this review August 12, 2015 at 12:36 PM

    Ashley, such a great photo and review! Thank you for taking the time to write it. We too fall in love with this city each time we visit it - glad you feel the same way. The communication was pretty steady over your 8 weeks this summer, between both Adelante HQ and our Directora in Barcelona and you, however we will try our best to improve even more. Don't stop practicing your Spanish, and hasta pronto!

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    5

  • Program Administration

    6

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Barcelona, my home away from home

Barcelona is one of the most incredible cities. The people, the culture, and the food make you fall in love.
I was in Barcelona for three months. My internship was slightly unusual because, my first month I worked and my second month I took classes and had two weeks free. I began in July, and worked till the beginning of August. The first two weeks of August, I took my Spanish courses.
My internship was with an AIDS non-profit. On paper, my internship looked impressive, in reality I only did a third of what I was assigned. Although I met wonderful people at my internship and had a great learning experience. I did nnoy have the interning experiment that I was told I would have before I left for barcelona. Throughout my whole internship, I only worked one day a week for three hours, at most. I was led to believe that I would be working four days each week.
Aside from my internship, I enjoyed Barcelona and Spain to the fullest. Since I did not work much, I spent my time traveling. Something I would encourage all to do.
The classes at kingsbrook were one of the highlights of this program. The atmosphere at the school was open, welcoming and engaging. I had very knowledgeable teachers and all staff were wiling to help. I met other students through the free of low cost activities the school had. My level of Spanish improved greatly. I liked the school so much, I paid for an additional three weeks of classes.
My apartment was the best part of my stay. The way it was described to me was accurate. I enjoyed my landlord, she has become like family. I felt very comfortable and at home all summer.
I would encourage others to intern abroad. I advise applicants to check out there placements and make sure they are getting what they have been promised

Overall Rating

6/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    3

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

Review

Adelante in the United States is a great program to go through. The only downside of the program was the communication on the Barcelona side of the internship. The contact in Barcelona seemed non-existant and I would choose to go to my internship for questions and help rather then my contact.

Overall Rating

5/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    5

  • Program Administration

    4

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Great learning experience

Classes at Kingsbrook. There is where I met many friends, went on fun excursions where I learned more about Barcelona, also where my Spanish made huge improvements.

I chose this program to gain more experience in my field and to live on my own in a different city and country.

My apartment was amazing. The whole apartment was brand new, clean and comfortable.

Overall Rating

4/ 10

  • Social Life

    7

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Living Situation

    5

  • Program Administration

    2

  • Internship Placement

    5

Buyer Beware: Cheap, but Mediocre at Best and Incompetent at Worst

It surprises me how this program continues to receive largely very positive reviews. Certainly, if everything had gone according to plan with my program experience, I might feel more magnanimous towards Adelante– despite the program’s thorough mediocrity in any case, really. In the end, my three months in Barcelona were just decent enough. The “Miami of the Mediterranean” is a hard place to get bored with, but well before I had even arrived in Spain, Adelante dropped the ball. Adelante Abroad bills itself as “a very strong, successful program right now,” but for me, it was actually more like a recklessly inattentive internship mill, hiding behind a fairly deceptive website. My main mistake was initially applying for a six-month program in Barcelona. It turns out that applying for an Adelante program longer than the 90-day Schengen Area allowance, which usually requires a visa, can send you on an exhausting and expensive journey into some shady bureaucratic territory. And Adelante is definitely not going to be there to guide you through it, whatever they may claim to the contrary.

Schengen Area countries require Americans to obtain a longer-term visa for stays of more than ninety days. Adelante was woefully irresponsible in how it prepared me to apply for a visa. It is true that for a variety of reasons, Adelante must ultimately leave the visa responsibility to the applicant, but this does not excuse Adelante from the gross negligence they displayed in failing to guide me, a paying client, through the process. Everything was going well until Adelante got back to me with my program dates; I was to spend 189 days in Spain. This proposed length of time was obviously inconvenient, as visas for longer than 180 days require a more comprehensive background check, including a medical analysis and an FBI criminal history report. Of course, I had to research this on my own; Adelante seemed clueless and unaware that the inclusion of just nine extra days would require significantly more effort and money on my part. And though I had applied well ahead of Adelante’s deadline, I found myself having to scramble to acquire all the necessary documents in time for my last-minute appointment at the Spanish Consulate in San Francisco. In total, I spent slightly over $1,000 in costs related to my visa application; much of this went to fees associated with obtaining FBI clearance.

I drove hundreds of miles to San Francisco and walked into the Consulate of Spain on the day of my appointment. I was met with an ice-cold reception. My visa officer spoke in a haughty tone, and requested additional documentation above and beyond what I was led to believe was necessary (this documentation was not listed as necessary anywhere on the consulate’s website). Apparently in the eyes of Spain, I was some hardcore criminal intent on causing trouble in Barcelona until I proved myself otherwise, despite my perfectly clean FBI record. I never figured out why they did not like me; maybe they simply did not like the way I looked. A chat with the visa officer’s supervisor yielded the same aggressive suspiciousness (he was friendly at first, but after going downstairs to pick up my application file and speak with the visa officer, he came back with a real doozy of an attitude). There was little I could do to change this; as representatives of a foreign government, visa officers are pretty much free to exercise whatever discretion they want when it comes to issuing visas. And while this situation was obviously bad, Adelante’s response was equally disappointing. Yes, maybe the consulate was determined to keep me out of Spain for more than three months, but Adelante did not even lift a finger to assist me, their client. It did not help that Adelante messed up my introduction letter to the consulate; they carelessly mislabeled me as an “architecture” student. The visa officer told me that they would process my application once I had submitted my “Convenio.” I was somewhat familiar with this term; in the course of my visa research, I had learned to equate “Convenio” with Adelante’s “Memorandum of Understanding” (MOU), a contract between the intern and the company. The consulate wanted this document as extra proof that I would actually be an intern (and not a criminal) in Spain. On the phone, Adelante feigned ignorance. They claimed that the MOU was merely an “internal document,” and that mine was not ready, as they had not even set me up with an employer yet. Later in Spain, when I actually received my MOU, it was also labeled “Convenio,” and had all the appearances of being a real legal document. So much for the Adelante Director’s unconvincing defense over the phone: “‘Convenio?’ What does that even mean? I’m so sorry, Jarrett. You’ll just have go to Spain without a visa!”

Faced with arrogant obstruction from the consulate, lazy incompetence from Adelante, and with just weeks to go before my flight to Europe, I made the difficult decision to abort my visa application and shorten my program to less than ninety days. Once again, I had lost $1,000 in failed pursuit of this visa, and I had moved to a shorter-term Adelante program, which is charged at a much higher monthly rate. I did not think I was paying several thousand dollars for Adelante to basically say: “Okay man, let us know when you get the visa. Good luck! You’ll need it! LOL.” Adelante’s emphasis on the “independent traveler” is a subtle way of shirking responsibility when things go wrong. It became clear to me why sleeker internship companies do not even usually offer programs for more than three months– it is simply irresponsible to send unprepared applicants blindly into the bureaucratic hell that can be the visa application process. And after going through this disaster, my shortened internship experience did little to relieve my disappointment with Adelante. As other reviewers have noted, the actual internships that Adelante arranges can be unsatisfying at times. Adelante sent me links to the websites of glamorous hotels, and told me that I would go through a rigorous training process at one of them. In reality, I spent a lot of my days just cleaning rooms and waking people up at a simple hostel. I met another Adelante intern in Barcelona who actually called it “false advertising.” As for lodging, I was placed in an old apartment with no air conditioning and dysfunctional Wi-Fi. It was definitely not a truly horrible situation, but it certainly did little to change my impression of Adelante as a fairly lackluster internship company. My contact at Adelante did reliably check in with me over email, but these short and generic messages seemed like a cheap way of creating the illusion of real customer service.

I suppose you get what you pay for. My Spanish skills did improve, and I did gain work experience. Considering Adelante’s affordable, bargain basement prices, I might have been basically satisfied with my barebones internship and lodging experience in Barcelona, were it not for the fact that Adelante’s clumsiness regarding bureaucratic realities cost me a great deal of extra time and money. And although I cannot forgive the Spanish Consulate for its bizarre and inexplicable suspicion of me, I was absolutely unimpressed with Adelante’s weak and evasive response to that challenge. So, I must place equal blame for this episode with the consulate, and with Adelante for failing to look after me as a client. Probably the best aspect of the program was the vibrant city of Barcelona itself, but obviously Adelante is not the only internship company that can take you there. Going forward, I would strongly caution American applicants against opting for a longer-term Adelante program, as these may require a visa, and Adelante may just abandon you, should trouble arise in your visa application process. Shorter programs, however, do not have the same low per-month rate that attracted me to Adelante over its competitors in the first place. To improve its service, Adelante needs to put more effort into assisting its clients through the visa application process, and to be more prepared when its clients encounter a hostile bureaucracy. Adelante should also warn prospective clients about the unpredictable risks, costs, and significant efforts involved in the visa application process.

  • Adelante Abroad responded to this review October 04, 2016 at 11:26 PM

    Jarrett, thanks for taking the time to write about your visa experiences and it seems fair to say that the very low 4 / 10 score you gave, goes to the Spain Consulate in Los Angeles, not to Adelante! Each month our candidates go to Consulates across the US to secure visas, because we cannot do this process for them, rather the person securing the visa has to go, in person and present their visa application materials, and it is a very straightforward process. We do provide the required Sponsor letter and concise instructions, from how to set up an appointment to what to say during the process. We simply don't hear about problems like you describe above. Ever. Maybe you got a grumpy visa officer or maybe you said something he didn't like, no idea, again the process is typically very straightforward. And while it is unfortunate that you had to go through that, it has nothing to do with Adelante or your program abroad.

    In regards to the Intern in Barcelona program, thank you for highlighting that we are one of the most economical programs of this type on the market. We work very hard to keep it that way. Our competitors, as you know, charge upwards of 200% more than we do. Lately we have seen a rash of what it appears is happening here, which is that a candidate applies for the economical program, after much research, and then expects the hand holding and extra services provided by programs that cost literally thousands more.

    Thanks for confirming that you did gain valuable international professional experience, that your language level improved and that you are enamored of Barcelona, like we are: all of these are our goals and all of these, apparently, were met, per your words above.

    We were VERY surprised to read this review in light of your communications with us during your three month internship: all positive, including your satisfaction with your internship and the working environment there, your signing up for our Night Out event and ongoing input from you about your new friends and explorations of Barcelona and Spain. Your one stated issue was inadequate wifi and you advised about that on a Friday and by Tuesday it was fixed.

    We wish you good luck in future endeavors and would respectfully request that you reconsider the 4 / 10 score since that is unwarranted.

    Team Adelante