GoAbroad Interview

Jose Antonio Jimenez Lama - Founder & Director

Jose Antonio Jimenez Lama - Founder & Director

José Antonio Jiménez is the founder and director of Spain Internship. Born in Seville, Spain, he lived in the Netherlands for a few years, where he noticed the difficulties students had in finding placements when going abroad. José Antonio is a basketball player and entrepreneurship lover.

How did your own work and travel experiences lead you to founding Spain Internship?

Back in 2008, I was an exchange student in the Erasmus program, which is one of the most popular programs in Europe to go abroad. I studied and lived in the Netherlands for five months.

During this time, I tried to find an internship to stay longer and it was extremely hard. There weren’t many contacts or companies online looking for interns and agencies were really expensive. Therefore, when I returned to Spain I decided to do something about it. With an increasing number of people going abroad, I was sure this was going to be a good market, but we had to make a difference. That is when I launched the Spain Internship recruitment agency, which helps hundreds of students every year to get a placement completely free of charge in Spain and Italy.

International interns
The Spain Internship team and students

Why is gaining experience through an international internship so important in the world today?

The world is becoming more and more global every day, so having a local mindset does not help to develop a successful career. If you want to succeed in business you can no longer focus on selling services or articles to your neighbor or country, you have to work and operate globally.

Also, the development of the internet created a whole new market, online, which is global and provides plenty of opportunities, when having the right global focus and using the right channels. This is why, I always recommend people to travel, live abroad, and learn about other countries, cultures, before setting up a business or develop a career.

What are the main benefits of interning abroad?

The main benefit is the personal development. You become a totally new person. 

When you intern abroad you gain confidence: you get used to working in a foreign language and grow as a person. 

That is why it is some important to go abroad. We see often how students change from the first day they arrive, normally a bit shy and nervous, and when they leave, confident, mature and in many cases already preparing to come back!

Spain Internship team
The team in our office

What makes Spain such a great country to work and intern abroad in?

Spain is probably one of the top destinations for internships and there are many reasons why.
Besides having really nice weather, a low cost of living, and incredible cultural heritage, after the economical crisis Spain has began a huge conversion of its industries, becoming more and more international and innovative every day. In 2016 Spain is the developed country that has grown the most in the world, and there are great expectations for the future.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I like working with young people, who are bringing new vibes and ideas, as well as cooperating with innovative international companies which are not so common in Spain. In that sense, I have the privilege to work with the most innovative organizations in the country and that gives me back a lot when it comes to self development.

What is your best advice for making the most out of an internship abroad?

Plan properly where you go, have a clear idea of what you want to learn, achieve, and enjoy. Be open-minded, try things and explore. It is really important to define your objectives with the placement, so you can prepare your experience according to it. We always remind students that this experience may lead to a potential career, therefore, it is extremely important to choose well. But, in general, if students follow this rules, they will have always a successful experience.

International students at an innovation center
Chilling with some students in an innovation center

What makes Spain Internship unique among other internship abroad programs in Europe?

Besides our business model, which is completely free of charge for students and universities to apply and get any of our recruitment vacancies, we cooperate with the most innovative companies in Spain. We focus on start ups, small and medium size enterprises, which allow students to get a real overview of the work in a field, working directly with mentors and being able to see results. We also have wide experience in the field; therefore, we understand student and company needs.

In your opinion, what is the key to achieving success as an intern abroad?

The key is being motivated and proactive at work, and being open and active outside of work. If you combine both, the outcome will be great for a future career.

What type of post-internship support do you provide for interns?

Spain Internship students have access to many job offers that we get and send exclusively for our previous interns. We believe that as a recruitment organization, offering them a place to develop their career is the best we can do.

International interns
Visiting some of our interns

Where are Spain Internships Alumni now?

Our previous students are normally working in great firms or starting with their own companies. As an international experience like this is highly valued, most of our interns don’t have problems to enter into the labor market internationally.

What can we expect from Spain Internship in 2017?

The Spain Internship team is working hard to keep offering better and better placements and getting ready to enter into new countries. During 2017, we expect to be fully operative in Germany and Italy.