1) Do you think that your experience as a student on the Erasmus Internship Programme has enabled you to improve your English?
The experience of living in the United Kingdom for three months has helped me to gain a more fluent level of English, at both written and oral levels. At first it was somewhat difficult to adapt to the language, but once you grasp the pronunciation you improve week on week.
2) What role have the skills and concepts learned at university played during your internship?
Within the curriculum of the double degree that I am doing, the subject of Business Administration has helped me to see things from a more practical angle, i.e. the things I was taught by the professors were put into practice in a financial department in England. More specifically, accounting helped me to create an accounts sheet or a predetermined annual balance sheet and subjects like statistics helped me to see how the financial year compared with previous financial periods.
3) Do you think you have acquired new professional skills? Which would you highlight? Any personal ones?
The experience has given me professional experiences such as how to handle accounting programmes, how to manage bank payments, database systems, and how to participate in group sessions with different decisions and contributions. However, Erasmus work experience, without a doubt, has helped me more on a personal level. Starting an adventure in a country practically unknown to me for a determined period of time has helped me to have more autonomy, become more independent, to handle everyday problems, and above all to appreciate my family more, in particular my parents.
4) What kind of work did you do? Tell us a bit about your typical day at the office.
A day during my Erasmus internship consisted of:
Going into the office, checking incomes, and reporting to my manager (the office was divided into departments and each one had their own manager). Depending on the day, I was in one or another department and I was assigned tasks relating to said department. We worked for two hours after starting our tasks and then we had the typical English “coffee break” which helped to improve my English. After this, I continued with my work until lunch time; I ate with my work colleagues and then returned to the office and continued to work until 17:00, which is when offices usually shut in England.
5) What task did you most enjoy doing and why?
The task that I liked doing best was being able to explain a task to the interns because I felt that the times where I was helping someone else were much more gratifying than successfully closing a balance sheet or finishing bank reconciliations quickly.
6) Were you comfortable at the company? Was there a good atmosphere? Did you have colleagues the same age as you?
What I am most content with about my experience, other than valuing my family more, is the company that selected me for the internship. They welcomed me with open arms; they helped me to settle into the city as if I were a member of their family, and whenever I had any problems arising from my stay abroad they assisted me on top of their work. Throughout my internship there was a very good atmosphere and camaraderie in the office and this is because of both my managers and the other interns who were, above all, my friends.
7) Were there other interns?
Yes, but not enough of them to share such a rewarding experience with, but there were others.
8) Did you work in a group or alone?
I usually worked alone as being in the finance department of a large company meant that the interns performed tasks individually, it was our managers that worked in groups more but they always included us.
9) Other than the financial grant, did they give you any additional help?
Other than the grant I received, the only financial help I received was from my parents without which I would not have been able to do this internship.
10) After your stay in Newcastle do you think that the grant is enough to live on?
The grant that I received was unfortunately not enough to cover my living costs in England. One has to bear in mind that the cost of living there is very high compared to in Spain and that it costs a minimum of €300 to rent a room. However, thanks to assistance from my parents I did not lack funds at any moment unlike many of my fellow Erasmus students this year.
Having answered the questions on the financial grant, I must say that i do not consider the grant that I received to be scant, but that it is insufficient for a country like the United Kingdom. I think that the European institutions need to assess the cost of living in each country using inter-economic data such as minimum wages, rent per capita etc. so that they can vary the grants depending on destination.
11) Approximately how much per month can it cost to live in Newcastle?
To live in Newcastle for a month (cost of living there is the average for England) a minimum monthly income of €500 is necessary for: rent, bills (electricity, water, and gas rates vary monthly and are divided amongst the inhabitants of the house), transport, food, and free time.
12) If you could repeat the experience would you apply for the Erasmus Internship Grant again?
I would definitely apply again, everything that it has brought me has been positive, at personal, academic, and professional levels.
13) If you could chose a job to do in the future would it be the one that you have had the chance to experience in this period or something similar?
I would have no object to doing paid work, like what I have been doing in the last few months in the United Kingdom, in the future.
14) What would you recommend to a student who is considering doing working experience in another country?
I recommend that any fellow student from the university that is thinking about doing an Erasmus internship abroad should not hesitate to do so. I am aware that at the start of the application/selection process everything seems easy but, in the days before the beginning of the experience one needs a lot of courage and strength. This is because doubts start to rise such as “will they welcome me?”, “will I have friends to share the experience with?”….but once you arrive at your destination all these doubts disappear and everything goes smoothly.
15) Is there anything that we have not yet mentioned that you would like to highlight?
Firstly, I would like to thank the international relations department which gives us the opportunity to have an experience like this and my host company as without their warmth and closeness my stay would have been much harder. In turn I greatly appreciate my parents´ courage and energy in the run up to this experience and all the support and love they gave me during my entire stay abroad.