First, I would like to thank Fundacion Mapfre for having me as an intern for three months. I will always remember the Fall of 2014 as an extremely rewarding and precious experience for me. After hearing I would be working with the top insurance company in Spain, I was a bit overwhelmed in thinking I would not be good enough to work for such a prestigious company. Since it was my first work experience, I thought that I was too inexperienced to execute tasks in a professional way. However, as soon as I arrived, I was warmly welcomed and immediately felt the friendly atmosphere of the workplace. Despite facing some challenges due to the different cultural background and language barriers, the cheerfulness and friendliness of other employees allowed me to become more relaxed within the office. They encouraged me to ask questions, speak out my opinions, and immerse myself in a new culture, all the while talking in Spanish! Having a taste of a professional work environment is one thing to get used to; however, it is much different when doing it in a foreign country. It was a real challenge!
While working in Spain, I had the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of Spanish work ethics. Unlike in the United States, the Spanish workplace is a more relaxed environment. Rather than spending time planning out their projects, the Spanish employees seem to take initiative and start their projects without following a clear path. However, once you begin working with them for a few days, you fall into the cultural atmosphere and realize how lucky you are to learn from their different work values.
At Fundacion Mapfre, I was working behind the scenes in establishing art exhibits all around the world, and as a result, I had the opportunity to meet and collaborate with some of the most prominent museums within the art industry. Through my internship, I revised and translated catalogues, learned how to keep records on the art works displayed in Mapfre´s exhibition halls, and did research for the history department of Mapfre on how they promoted their exhibitions along with those from their partner institutions. I really recommend doing an internship abroad in order to open up your cultural horizons, and Madrid is the perfect place to gain these opportunities.