The opportunity to immerse myself in a different culture and a constant curiosity to learn more.
Why did you choose PINC International LLC?
The fact that PINC emphasizes the professional aspect of personal development, giving you access to personal mentors, internship placements and local network events is very unique. As a college student, it was definitely a unique opportunity to be able to incorporate all of these things into a summer of cultural immersion.
What was your favorite part Madrid?
The lively atmosphere of the city which made it easy to stumble upon new adventures!
What made your experience abroad unique?
The emphasis on personal and professional connections. From the other program participants, to Lisette herself, to the dozens of madrileños and expats that I had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know. I really felt that this experience was so valuable because we were encouraged to go outside of our comfort zone and make an effort to build relationships with others. This creates a very strong sense of community that has endured years after participating in the program.
How did local staff support you throughout your program?
Lisette always made herself available to us for informal conversations, for more formal "family" dinners, and other outings. Independence is definitely encouraged, but it was nice to know that we had people more familiar with the city to informally guide us over the course of the summer.
What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?
Hard to say...probably just not having been able to find a way to stay longer!
Describe a typical day in the life of your program.
The first and last weeks of the program differ from most. During the first week, we had daily Spanish classes for approximately 5 hours. With Spanish levels ranging from native speakers to those who didn't know any Spanish, the language academy we attended caters to various skill levels, and is really just meant to introduce us to Spanish culture and colloquialisms. Over the course of the last week, there were a series of professional workshops with topics ranging from personal branding to negotiation skills. In between, when participating in my internship my day typically started with a stop for a café con leche at the local cafe with a friend before getting on the Metro to ride to work. After the workday, I might walk to meet up with friends from the program or our flatmates to grab something to eat, go shopping or go to a movie. Other nights we would cook at home and go explore all of the nightlife that the city has to offer.
What did you enjoy doing in your free time?
I loved walking around the city. Retiro Park was a great place to wander around on the weekends, and exploring the different neighborhoods of the city was definitely a highlight.
What was your accommodation like? What did you like best about it?
We lived in a large shared apartment with several individual bedrooms and a shared kitchen, living room and bathrooms. The kitchen was large and had all of the typical housewares. There was an in-unit washing machine which was very convenient. Another plus was the cleaning lady who came on weekdays to clean shared areas and change the bed linens. The apartment was in a very safe and central location with a lot of restaurants, shopping, museums and other attractions within walking distance. Also very close to various subway lines. Probably one of the best places to live in Madrid!
What is one thing every participant should know before participating in your program?
Your success on the program depends on your ability to make connections with others and to define what you want to take away from the Summer. While there is a great deal of support administratively, the people who truly thrive are those who embrace the difficulties that come with living in a foreign city and live each day to the fullest. The abundance of opportunities made available to you during this program can seem overwhelming, so be sure to set goals for yourself in order to take away the most from the experience.
Now that you're home, how has your program abroad impacted your life?
Showed me that there is so much opportunity at the end of your comfort zone. Seeing so many successful and happy female professionals who had moved abroad definitely inspired me to travel more and to define my professional aspirations with a more global frame of reference. Since PINC, I have continued to travel and build relationships, always taking with me the lessons and memories learned in Madrid.
Would you recommend your program/provider to others? Why?
One hundred percent yes! So many opportunities to learn more about yourself and what you want to learn in life. In addition to launching me on a specific professional and academic trajectory, I have met so many amazing women who I am proud to call friends through this program.
Amanda is a senior at Columbia University studying Political Science and Sustainable Development. In addition to her summer in Madrid, she has traveled throughout Central and South America, including a semester spent in Buenos Aires. While there, she researched entrepreneurs and technological innovation, a project inspired by her internship experiences at various startups. Upon graduation, Amanda will begin her career in product marketing in the Bay Area.