Sprawled along the banks of the Manzanares river in the heart of Spain, Madrid is a thriving metropolis with big-time professional opportunity. As architecturally beautiful as it is culturally stimulating, Spain’s capital will provide interns with a unique fusion of Spanish and Southern European influences that can be found nowhere else on the continent. From historical attractions, such as the Royal Palace, to the highly modern business districts, the old and new unite in Madrid to form the perfect backdrop for an internship abroad in Spain.
Why find internships in Madrid?
Interning abroad has a hoard of benefits, not least of which is a bright and shiny resume for all of your future academic and professional endeavors. You'll make tons of friends, get to know one of the world's coolest cultures, and up your travel street cred to boot.
Madrid's attractiveness knows few bounds as an international internship destination. Madrid is Europe’s third largest metropolitan area and a true global city, with important international connections throughout many spheres of business, politics, and culture. It is additionally considered to be the leading economic center of southern Europe, so naturally there are a ton of fruitful internships in Madrid to choose from. Fashion, summer, paid, unpaid. So what is the best type of internship in Madrid, and how can you find yours? We're glad you asked:
If you put in the effort, you are going to meet many people and learn so much about business and culture. —Review excerpt
Top Madrid internships & popular fields
Luckily, we’ve already done a lot of the work for all of you prospective interns out there. Read on to learn what the best fields for internships in Madrid are and why!
As a leading global city that hosts the headquarters of many multinational companies, you may have already guessed that marketing is one of the most popular fields for internships in Madrid. Interns can gain marketing experience in a variety of areas, from cutting edge social media marketing techniques to advertising strategies and public relations methods, at some of the top Spanish and international firms in all of Europe. As a marketing intern in Madrid, interns will be able to develop highly practical skills, while advancing their Spanish language fluency and making important global contacts in the field.
- Recommended internship program: The Intern Group
A business internship in Madrid is a great opportunity to explore the nuances of Spain’s professional environment. While it will prove challenging at times to make the leap into this foreign world, mastering the Spanish language and coming to understand the finer points of Spanish culture will pay off big time both for in and out of the office. Business can be a highly competitive field in Madrid, especially because of Spain’s recent economic woes, but there are still many business internship opportunities in Madrid that are open to international interns.
- Recommended internship program: Adelante Abroad
Madrid is one of the most important financial hubs in the world, making it a top-tier destination for interns that are interested in macro and micro-economics. Working for a bank, investment firm, or research institution as an intern in Madrid will pay off big time in terms of experience and professional exposure, setting you on the right path toward a successful career in finance or economics. You will also likely be compensated well for your services, as finance tends to be one of the few professional fields in Spain which pays its interns an actual salary.
- Recommended internship program: Absolute Internship
Let us not forget that Madrid is Spain’s political and economic capital. Home to the World Tourism Organization (a UN subsidiary) as well as a bevy of other global organizations, interns who are interested in international affairs will find internships in Madrid to be quite accommodating. While government internships may be tougher for foreigners to access, internships in Madrid with NGOs and nonprofits are widely available.
- Recommended internship program: API International Internships
Madrid is a major center for fashion, media, and design in Spain; those who are interested in debuting their latest creations in public will have their hands full with the number of fashion entities, both small and large, that have a place in Madrid’s en vogue community. There are plenty of fashion internships in Madrid on both the business and design sides. Prospective interns will be expected to have a decent command of Spanish before applying for fashion internships in Madrid.
- Recommended program: Fashion Week Internships
Madrid is an enormously popular travel destination in Europe and the world, so it is not too surprising that there is a large market for bilingual interns in the local hospitality industry. Young professionals who are interested in launching a career in the restaurant, hotel, or tourism industries could hardly do better than an internship in Madrid. The city is a great place to meet people from all over the world and expand both your professional and personal network of contacts too.
- Recommended program: Professional Internships in Madrid
Lastly, medical students who want to combine their required internship experience with a chance to explore a new city and culture should consider Madrid as a premier destination. Madrid boasts a number of top tier medical schools as well as both public and private hospitals, so interns can gain invaluable experience shadowing doctors while learning about the intricacies of the local healthcare system at the same time. An internship in Madrid certainly won’t harm your attractiveness on medical school applications either!
- Recommended program: Adelante Abroad
When to do your internship in Spain
You know you want to intern abroad—and you know, more importantly, where you want to intern abroad... but now you have to figure out when! There are three separate questions you have answer when it comes to finding the time that's right for you. First of all:
- What time of year do you want to go? Fall semester, spring, or do you prefer summer internships in Madrid? You might want to research the climate (spoiler: the weather in Spain is generally amazing year-round!) and consider what types of weather you prefer for general life satisfaction. For instance, if the cold makes you grumpy, or you hate long dark hours, avoid the winter and opt instead of summer internships in Madrid!
- What stage of your academic or post-college career is best? Many people choose to do internships abroad during the summer between their junior and senior years of college, but others will do it earlier in their undergraduate careers, and still others will actually wait to intern abroad until after they graduate. There's no "right" or "wrong" time to find an internship abroad.
- How long will you go for? Generally speaking, you should try to find internships that last longer than a few short weeks. Truly, one month isn't really a ton of time to get your feet wet in the workplace, to acclimatize to the new culture, or to make meaningful relationships. Opt for more long-term internships, like 3+ months if you can.
Once you've answered all of these questions, you'll be well on your way to finding your perfect internship. The only other factors to consider is whether or not you get paid... psst! keep reading!
I applied to do the internship for the longest period possible (6 months) and at the start I was a bit worried that it would be difficult to make friends. When I look back at it, I can honestly say there was nothing to worry about. Not only did I gain a lot of experience on a professional level, but also on a personal level I gained a lot of confidence and managed to be more independent. —Review excerpt
Can I actually find paid internships in Madrid?
Truth be told, the task of finding paid internships in Madrid isn't really an easy one. More often than not, international students or expats actually pay companies to connect them to internship opportunities rather than companies paying interns directly. This ends up being a win for all (except maybe your wallet), as you invest in a structured learning environment for yourself and pay for having a few of the details coordinated on your behalf.
Further, it can be tough to suss out the legitimacy of an internship from your dorm room. Internship programs in Madrid can give you a sense of relief—they're the experts, and they've been making professional magic happen for interns for years!
Also keep in mind that Spain has been having a national financial crisis since the 2008 global market crash, and thus unemployment rates are pretty high (~17% at the time of writing). Oftentimes, paid internships are allotted for locals rather than internationals. But, those internships are out there, and could be yours if you put in the time and effort to find them (and really wow them with your badass skills!).
Want to keep thinking it over? Here are some resources you'll love:
- Everything you need (and want) to know about paid internships abroad
- 9 paid internships abroad for college students in 2018
- Are unpaid internships worth it?
Next steps to interning in Madrid
Don't pack your sunblock juuuust yet. There are a few items on your teach abroad to do list you should check off first.
How to intern in Madrid in 5 easy steps
- Decide when to go. Give your calendar a good-hard look and figure out what time of year—and how long—you want to live in Madrid.
- What type of internship do you want? There are plenty of different types of internships to be had in Spain, it's just a matter of YOU deciding which field of study/experience you want to pursue.
- Choose from the best intern abroad programs in Madrid. Pay attention to past participants’ reviews, program/job reputation, location, and your ease of getting settled. Some providers may even provide contact info for past interns if you want the REAL dirt. Here's more advice on how to find the perfect program provider for you.
- Plan your finances. Sort out your on-going funding before you go to afford daily essentials and splurge in travel (in addition to program costs and airfare). Do your research to have an idea of how much your day-to-day life in Spain will cost.
- Get TEFL certified. It'll do wonders to your comfort level in the classroom as well as better prepare you to be as effective of a leader as possible. TEFL certificates are gold in this country—get yours before you go (or while you're there!).