If you have been to The Hub 101, you must have met her. Danielle, one of our Erasmus+ interns, has been working with us for almost five months already, and now she is ready to share her experience with us.
Hello, Danielle! For many of us you are already a familiar figure from The Hub 101, but could you introduce yourself to those who have not met you yet?
My name is Danielle Grootes, and I come from Leiden, Holland. I study European Studies at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. My studies are really broad as the programme includes politics and marketing, language and cultural studies, history… We do projects and practice our research skills. For my language studies I have done French and Italian, and I have specialised in marketing.
Is the internship a mandatory part of your studies in Holland?
Yes, it is mandatory. However, it is not mandatory to go abroad, although it is preferred.
I wanted to go abroad for my internship, as my first internship was in Holland. For my second one I wanted an international experience, because it is good for your personal development and language skills, and a great cultural experience as well.
Had you studied or worked abroad before this internship?
I spent five months in Athens, Greece, for my Erasmus+ study exchange. It was so nice, the people, the university, the weather… I got to know many international students. It was funny how all of us Northern European students started to copy the Southern European students in giving kisses as greetings!
Previously I have also done a week-long intensive language course in France where I went to school and stayed with a host family. And I worked at a children’s camp, also in France, for five weeks, which was nice. The work was a bit similar to what I have been doing here, mostly planning and leading activities.
What attracted you to this internship placement offered by our university in particular?
My university has a database for internship positions and I found this placement there. What I liked about the offer was that it offered work with international students in an international team. In Holland I had been helping the ISN in Leiden and working with Erasmus+ students, organizing and helping with activities, and I really liked getting to know people from other countries. In the future I would also like to work in an international environment, maybe even abroad.
I chose to apply for an internship in Spain because I like the Southern Europe. The people here are warm and friendly.
Here at CEU UCH I work for the Language Service, specifically at The Hub 101, which is a space for language learning. I really like working for this department. My colleagues are helpful and whenever I have any problems I can go to them for help.
What has your work been like at The Hub? Have you come across any challenges in your work, and what have you learned?
It has been good, I have had amazing time with my internship. Everyday I see different people coming in, and I like to work with young people.
At The Hub I have been organizing activities and doing the weekly planning, and I have also been helping with attendance lists and other administrative work for the Language Service. Promoting The Hub has been an important part of my work, and I have been leading the University’s Snapchat as a Snapchat ambassador.
One challenge for me was that I had to speak Spanish. Before coming here I did a two-month language course, but it was only two times in a week for an hour, and so I only knew the basics. But I have improved a lot as I have an obligation to speak the language, both at work and on my free time as I have roommates that only speak Spanish. Coming here I had A1 level Spanish, but before I return to Holland I think I will be able to do another language level test to see how much I have improved.
I have also learned to lead activities, which is a handy skill to know for my professional future. I have learned how to promote The Hub in the best way and how to attract people to enter, and how to both interact with my colleagues and to work independently.
Let’s talk about your experience in the city! What do you think about Valencia? What do you recommend for every new international student to do here?
I think the city is beautiful, I really love the buildings with their balconies. I like the city centre a lot, and I also like the people, especially my roommates here.
Students coming to Spain should visit all the cities they can. During my stay here I have been to Alicante and Benidorm, Barcelona, Madrid, Granada… That is my tip for people coming here, to travel as much as possible! You should also try all the typical Valencian things, like paella and horchata, visit the Old City, and go for a picnic in the Turia Gardens. My favourite place in the city is Plaza de la Virgen, it is so beautiful there.
What plans do you have for the future? Have you thought about returning to Valencia or Spain in the future?
I want to live abroad. When I return to Holland I will be graduating and also doing extra courses in psychology, because I am planning to do a Master’s degree in marketing psychology. I got interested in the subject after doing my Bachelor thesis about consumer behaviour and sensory marketing. And I want to study my Master’s abroad, in Sweden or Denmark. Or maybe in Spain, but it is more difficult because everything is in Spanish.
I want to experience the fallas, so for sure I will be coming back to Valencia one day!