Cody Winkler - 2015 Program Participant
Why did you decide to apply for an international program?
I wanted to study abroad all throughout school, but being on the board for several organizations as well as an athlete, I didn't want to abandon those. A friend did a program over a summer in London, but I had always wanted to go to Spain. I decided upon graduation that I would work and save up some money, and then why not get some international experience, enhance my Spanish, and live something not many people get to do, before I tried to land my first job.
Why did you choose Adelante Abroad?
I decided upon Adelante Abroad because of the price tag as well as the location. Like I mentioned before, Spain always attracted me. I originally looked at Spain and South Africa, and nearly chose South Africa. Adelante provided housing and Spain was close to everywhere else in Europe, which allowed for some traveling. Adelante was vastly cheaper than other options, and though the program was maybe a bit stripped down compared to others (I'm assuming this, I don't know how other programs are or what they offer in terms of excursions), the included Spanish classes and housing already set was big.
What was your favorite part about Barcelona?
Barcelona is right on the Mediterranean. As someone from the Midwest (Wisconsin), I don't get that luxury, and wanted to be able to take advantage of it. I left Barcelona December 17th with temperatures in the mid 60s, and I got back to Wisconsin where it was mid 20s.
What components of your program made it unique?
Spanish class was included; we had two weeks of courses for 20 hours a week. I was able to meet some other interns as well as other students from around the world at the language school. I was in a great apartment close to Sagrada Familia, and restaurants, stores, bars, etc.
How did local staff support you throughout your program?
I was more independent in this journey, and that is part of Adelante's view I think. However, if there are any problems, they are a call/email/message away. For me, I ran into trouble with my original internship. Some documents got mixed up beforehand, apparently, and I received the wrong work briefing (a "memo of understanding"). I went into work thinking I was doing something completely different than what I was. I notified the staff and they worked with me to find a different internship.
View of Barcelona from The Bunkers (my favorite place)
What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?
After the second week of Spanish class was done, I wish I would have purchased more. My roommate found another school (Speakeasy BCN) for two months, and he really progressed in the language. I relied on the DuoLingo app and talking to a Spanish girl that I had met. I also wish I had been there for a month in the summer; I hear it is a great time, even in August when a lot of people are off.
Describe a day in the life of your program.
When I first arrived, I’d have Spanish class 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., grab a quick bite to eat and a drink, and then hit the beach or explore around the city. During the first internship period I’d sleep in, eat a late breakfast, and go to work at 1 p.m. or 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. or 6 p.m., leave and go home, make dinner, and hang out around the apartment, but during the second internship period, I’d work 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., head back to the apartment, eat or hit up a cafe somewhere, go to the gym, walk around the city, and hang out with friends.
What was your favorite thing to do on your free time?
My favorite thing to do was anything that the city offered. There was so much to do that I was never really bored. I highly enjoyed The Bunkers, the beach, the clubs and bars, among others. I was able to get a gym trial for a few weeks, where I went with a German kid that I met. My favorite activity, however, had to have been spending time with the people that I met. My roommate, other interns, other study abroad students, and a girl made my time there pass way too quickly.
What type of accommodation did you have? What did you like best about it?
I had an apartment, but it was essentially a homestay because the owner of the apartment lived there; she (Luisa) was an older Spanish woman. I had one roommate from Georgia on the same program and one from Bulgaria who was studying in England and doing a year internship in Spain on a different program than me; we each had our own bedroom. As common in Spain, there was not a clothes dryer and we didn't have a TV, unlike some others, but I did not miss it at all. Luisa did all the laundry for everyone and even cooked us meals at times.
We were so close to Sagrada Familia; there were so many cafes, bars, and restaurants around the place. Two metro stops and we were within five minutes walking distance, along with bus stops even closer. The location was not in the city center, but it did not matter much at all!
Now that you're home, how has your time abroad impacted your life?
I have a desire to continue to learn Spanish. I also am strongly considering getting certified to teach English, which, combined with learning Spanish, will give me the opportunity to return to Spain (or elsewhere!) and teach for a job, and possibly even get a marketing job there as well versus an internship. I hope that this experience will be beneficial in my interviews here in the States and in my near future. I am trying to keep in touch with the people that I met over there, and if I do not go back to work there, I would still like to visit! So many people have asked me about my experience and I reflect on my time there constantly; I am constantly asking myself if I should go back. Regardless, I need to make some money here first.