Study abroad internship program in Madrid teaches more than Spanish

November 3, 2023
Izzy Quam ’25

On October 25, Emily Huebel ’26, Aya Rhouat ’26, and Meg Wilk ‘26 gathered to talk about their experiences over the summer participating in Saint Michael’s internship program in Madrid, Spain. The new study abroad opportunity is supported by the Center for Global Engagement and allows students with advanced language skills in Spanish to participate in the summer internship program while living with homestay families and strengthening their language skills. The Center for Global Engagement covered the cost of the program, academic credits, airfare, lodging and meals.

(Photo by Izzy Quam ’25)

Huebel spoke in Spanish during the panel discussion to share her experiences, while Rhouat and Wilk spoke in English. A fourth student who participated in the study abroad program in Madrid— Shane Boyd— was was not able to be present because Boyd is studying in Seville, Spain, for the fall semester. 

The students explained their typical day in Madrid. They would go to their internship from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. before attending their classes which began at 5 p.m. The classes were taught in Spanish through Boston University, which helped the students improve their skills.

“The professor saying ‘no English,’ and having to interact with one another in Spanish—present in Spanish— that really helped my fluidity,” Wilk said.

The schedule took some getting used to, they said. Dinner in Spain was between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., and the city of Madrid was very busy.

For Huebel, the internship was one of the biggest changes she has experienced. “In Spain, there was a lot of observing professionals. I could just learn from what they were doing,” Huebel said. “It was a lot different than any internship I’ve had in the U.S. before.”

Huebel worked at a home for people with mental and physical disabilities. She spent time observing different occupations within the home.

Wilk’s internship was at a nonprofit organization that focused on sports and education for underprivileged kids. For her internship, Rhouat worked with the communications team for an private architectural firm.

For transportation, the students would take the metro to their internships every day, which felt complicated at first but then became familiar and efficient.

“On the first day we got lost for three hours,” Rhouat joked, “but we figured it out.”

During the weekend, students had the opportunity to travel around Spain. There was a trip offered by Boston University and they also traveled on their own. The students said they never took a weekend off. For long trips they would take the train instead of flying, which was less expensive.

They said the trip not only improved their Spanish skills, but their life skills as well.

“I became more independent, more responsible for making my own decisions. I learned all these small life skills,” Rhouat shared.

Saint Michael’s is offering the Spanish Internship Program in Madrid again this summer for up to four students. Click here to see the attached flyer, which includes a link to the application. An info session will be happening on Thursday, November 9 at 5:15 p.m. in JEM 166. Saint Michael’s is also offering an equivalent opportunity in Paris, France, this summer for up to two students. Click here to see the attached flyer. Both programs are partnering with Boston University.



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