During my freshman year of college, I took a Public Relations class and hated it. Naturally, I panicked and questioned my entire existence as this was my major and the sole life path I had selected for myself. However, I didn’t want to give up after just one class – I knew that I had to put theory into practice to truly discover what it was about Public Relations that attracted me in the first place. It’s quite impossible to put into words just how much interning abroad has done for me. This has been an extremely rewarding opportunity that without a doubt enhanced my study abroad experience in Madrid. During my commute to the office, I would often ask myself: “Is this real life? Am I really nineteen years old and working in Spain?” It is the most amazing and reassuring feeling in the world to be able to get a glimpse of what you could be doing in the future and find out that you truly enjoy it. I’m beyond thankful to have had the opportunity to wake up each morning with a smile on my face, wondering what new skills I would be learning that day, and thinking of new ways to improve my work ethic.

Interning abroad is the opportunity of a lifetime and I absolutely recommend it to anyone who wishes to grow as a professional and an individual in inexplicable ways. The atmosphere at the office and my coworkers were among my favorite things about this experience. On a daily basis, they encouraged me to ask questions, speak out, and take complete control over my tasks. That sense of responsibility I was granted allowed me to grow confident and independent. The first time I met Paco Arango, the founder and president of the foundation, he asked me to drop everything I was doing so I could join the staff meeting. The subject matter was critical, but he singled me out and was genuinely interested in my thoughts and opinions. Their friendliness and support encouraged me to perform all duties to the best of my ability.

As a Communications and Development intern at Fundación Aladina, I not only learned the media aspect of a nonprofit organization, but I also had the privilege of learning many more things outside of my field. Since we were a small team at the office, I was exposed to the expertise of my colleagues and learned all about what it takes to run a nonprofit organization. From accounting, to event planning, to medical diagnoses and legal rights, Fundación Aladina has given me so much more than I ever thought I would receive. I also learned how to communicate across cultural barriers and made multinational connections in the process.

Not a day went by without my coworkers thanking me for my time and effort, but in reality, I’m the one who is infinitely thankful. Thank you Ishtar, Myriam, Wisi, Belen, Miguel, Ivis and Paco for giving me a warm welcome into the beautiful world you’ve created on behalf of children in need. I truly admire your efforts to improve the lives of kids suffering from cancer – you are true heroes!

Last but not least, I would like to thank Professor Cabañas for his unconditional support. Through his guidance and lessons in Spanish in the Workplace, I enhanced my vocabulary and knowledge and thus managed to ease into this adventure with no difficulty. Thank you for being available at all times and for your words of encouragement throughout this entire process!