When does it hit you that you need to check off some life goals? For Ryan R., it was the summer between his sophomore and junior year at Aurora University. Ryan decided he wanted to go abroad, but instead of just traveling, he also wanted to gain work experience -- and he did it with an international internship!
Ryan fulfilled a lifelong dream and kicked off his international business career with a summer internship in Barcelona, Spain. Read more about his unforgettable experience, and watch his Snapchat Takeover video featuring his day in the life of an intern abroad.
Why I decided to intern abroad
Ryan recognized that in today’s extremely competitive job market, having a bachelor’s degree isn’t enough. To him, it was “important to take the extra step” to help himself stand out. “One, I wanted to set myself apart from the rest of the workforce competition.”
Ryan also wanted to see the world and travel while he was young. “I have seen regret on many adults because they did not take opportunities to travel while they were young.”
Barcelona is rich with culture, miles of sandy beaches, and incredible internship opportunities. The city is the business center Catalonia making it the perfect place for Ryan’s international internship.
Ryan said his internship gave him the chance to travel to Europe for the first time and experience the world. “There are so many beautiful people and things to see in the world that a lot of people never take the time to go and see and I am blessed to say that I have had this opportunity to do so.”
Why I chose Global Experiences
Ryan initially heard about Global Experiences through a close friend. After speaking with one of our program advisors, Ryan knew he “had to do this program with GE.”
It wasn’t just his first recommendation that drove Ryan’s decision to go with Global Experiences, it was the way our staff worked with him from the very beginning. “They truly care about your development and growth as a student/professional and more importantly, as a person.”
Traveling abroad can be intimidating, but we have staff in all of our locations, Ryan felt supported every step of the way. Ryan’s Local Coordinator was there to support the interns, show them around the city, and take interns on social outings. “Anytime I need a recommendation for anything, they answer nearly immediately, and they never disappoint.”
“They are both such amazing people that care about each and every intern here in Spain,” Ryan said about his Location Coordinators, Inma and Saskia. “Both of these women have impacted my life tremendously.”
Why I received a scholarship
Due to his enthusiasm and background, Ryan was awarded one of our highly competitive scholarships. For our scholarships, we look for students and young professionals that may not have a chance to go otherwise, driven individuals who will excel in their internship, and be a positive addition to their program.
“This scholarship means more than words can say.” Ryan’s experience proves our scholarships are extremely important and encourages students to dream big.
“Earning this scholarship meant that somebody else believed in me not only professionally, but personally. Having people behind you that put faith and belief in you is so powerful. It made me believe in myself and my ability more than I could have imagined.”
Find out more on Global Experiences Scholarships here.
What I learned from my marketing internship
Ryan’s internship was with a social media platform called SocialSignIn. With SocailSignIn users can manage their accounts, schedule posts, and look at analytics all in one place. The company was founded in the United Kingdom and is currently trying to break into the Spanish market.
During his summer internship, Ryan became an essential part of that goal and got to work on nearly every aspect of the business. He also had the chance to work in an exciting coworking space with other Barcelona startups and companies.
“From my coworking office to the networking event, I learned that there are so many endless opportunities to meet so many different people.”
Marketing internship tasks
As a marketing intern for a young company, Ryan had the opportunity to work on a lot of different tasks and become an essential part of the SocialSignIn team. He worked closely with his boss on sales, marketing, platform management, or as Ryan described it “basically everything."
“It has more than exceeded my expectations. I couldn’t ask for any better of an experience.”
Some of Ryan’s favorite tasks included writing blog post and presenting demos to potential clients. Ryan even had the opportunity to co-host a networking event on a rooftop bar that overlooked the city, which the rest of Global Experiences’ Barcelona interns were invited to.
Professional skills learned
“I have had the chance to learn about just every facet of a business model here in Spain.”
With dreams of going into international business-to-business sales, Ryan’s internship in Barcelona helped him develop a long list of crucial skills and start building a global network. “Professionally, I have achieved many things, from learning a multitude of business software to meeting professionals at networking events that will be of great use in the future.”
Why I hosted a snapchat takeover
Ryan wanted to give you a glimpse of a Barcelona internship and took over our Snapchat to let you see a day in his life!
“I want to share my experience abroad and show everyone how amazing Barcelona is.”
Check out all our intern’s Snapchat takeover videos.
Why I chose to intern abroad in Barcelona
To say Barcelona is stunning wouldn’t do the city justice. The city is one of the liveliest places on earth with traditions that stretch back 500 years. Around nearly every corner there’s a celebration and “breathtaking sights.” Every year interns fall in love with the sights and sounds of Barcelona.
Ryan’s favorite parts of Barcelona were beautiful parts of the city, the architecture, the beaches, the food, and the history. “There is not a thing that you won’t fall in love with.”
Modern day Barcelona is Spanish, but at its core, it’s still Catalan. It’s the capital of the region and locals are extremely proud of the culture and traditions that are unique to the city. Everything in Barcelona is a bit more relaxed meals are served later, restaurant hours stretch into the early morning, and there’s a siesta built into every workday.
“So far the most life-changing aspect that I have experienced is that I have learned how to kick off my shoes, relax and enjoy the beauty of life for once."
What are my post internship plans
After his international internship, Ryan has set ambitious goals for himself. In the short term, he plans on continuing to get good grades, and graduating. Ryan also plans on continuing to develop his leadership skills.
Ryan’s goal is to, “become not only a great businessman, but also a great leader to those around me.” Interning in Barcelona gave Ryan a sense of wanderlust. He has a new understanding of the importance of travel and wants to continue learning about other countries to see how his career field fits into their culture.
“This experience with GE has made the ability to work internationally one of my top priorities when at looking companies because seeing the world is something that truly makes me happy and it keeps life exciting.”
After graduation Ryan plans on going into international business-to-business sales. Ryan understands that his career will probably start off in the United States, but wants to make sure that his company eventually gives him the opportunity to travel and make it a significant facet of his career.
“I cannot thank GE enough for the experience it has allowed me to pursue, and I hope one day I am able to do as much good do someone else as everyone in this organization has done for me.”
My advice to future interns
If you are thinking about interning abroad, Ryan has some advice for you:
“First off, do it. It may seem daunting and almost too much to handle, but it is the absolute best decisions you could ever make. You get the opportunity to not only travel the world but also be around a group of like-minded individuals who are following their passions.”
The streets and beaches of Barcelona are waiting for you! If there’s international internship opportunity you are looking for, then apply today and one of our admissions counselors will get in touch. We’re here to help you find your dream career!