Denzel Bland, ISA Internships in Valencia – Spain, Summer ’14
If you want to just give us a quick introduction and tell us where and when you studied abroad…
Hi! My name is Denzel Bland and I did an internship in Valencia, Spain, during the summer of 2014 working with a human rights organization for three months. The name of the organization translates to English as “The Foundation for Justice”.
What was your role and what responsibilities did you have while working with the organization?
I primarily did marketing and outreach. I would go out into the city and post flyers. Translating their webpages from Spanish to English was a big task that I accomplished with them because barely anyone in the organization spoke English. This put a lot of pressure on me and my other American coworkers to help out as much as we could. I updated their website, blogs, and social media sites with English translations.
How was your housing situation? Did you enjoy where you lived?
For my internship I had an international apartment with roommates from all around the world. I had roommates from Italy, China, Japan, Brazil and more. We were all working with different programs so one person would be at the apartment for two weeks and then another would be there for two months. We constantly had new and interesting people moving in and out which was awesome.
Did you face any cultural barriers or obstacles that you had to overcome while working at your internship?
Yes. When I applied I thought there would be some English spoken within the organization, however, virtually no one spoke English. When my boss or someone else was giving me instructions on what to do it was a very slow process to put all of the pieces together. I wanted to always understand exactly what they were asking me to do. I was pretty well acquainted with the culture as I studied abroad in Barcelona the year before, but it still takes time to adjust to the language.
Any big and pivotal moment that you experienced throughout your time in Spain?
Yeah, I have one! It was in about mid-July when some of us went to Pamplona, Spain, to go running with the bulls. I was in the street literally five seconds away from the bulls being released when a cop grabbed me and pulled me to the side because I was wearing a backpack. Apparently you aren’t allowed to wear a backpack so they wouldn’t let me back in. However, I did get to watch it and it was crazy. I saw this guy get pulled off on a stretcher two minutes into the race. You just see people crawling up buildings and fences trying to get out of the way it’s nuts!
What did you do on the weekends for fun? (Besides running with bulls)
I traveled a lot. I spent weekends visiting different places in Spain such as Alicante. I even traveled outside the country, one time returning to Budapest for the second time with one of my friends. When I wasn’t traveling I would mainly go to the beach or grab dinner with friends around the city. At night I would go out to the clubs and bars. The night life was great so there was a lot to see and explore.
Any final words?
I would definitely recommend an internship abroad. I developed a lot of cross-cultural skills that you need in a professional setting. It challenged me and definitely gave me confidence to go after my dream job – wherever in the world that may be!