Carmen García Monrabal: “I´ve learned the importance of organisation and perseverance from my job in an architecture studio in Zurich”

As an architecture graduate of CEU-UCH, Carmen is carrying out a six-month internship at the Swiss firm Müller Sigrist Architekten AG, thanks to the university´s European internship scholarship programme

The Specialised College of Technical Education (ESET) at CEU-UCH has created a European Internship Scholarship for Architecture and Design (BEPAD) through the Leonardo European scholarship programme. This has allowed a group of recent graduates to join some of the most prestigious architecture studios in Europe for a period of six months, and Carmen García Monrabal is one of them.

How would you describe your experience of a European internship?

I arrived in Zürich in November without really knowing what the future had in store for me. I was so nervous and uncertain, but excited about this unique experience which would allow me to grow both personally and professionally. It´s now April, and I can say that I´m really happy, grateful and satisfied because it has more than lived up to my expectations.

How were your first few days on the job?

When I arrived at the studio I was welcomed with open arms; they´re so friendly. The studio is called Müller Sigrist Architekten AG; it´s a large office with about forty architects working on various projects and competitions. We work with a programme called Vectorworks, which is new to me because I´m used to working with Autocad.

What kind of projects have you been working on in this international architecture studio?

I´m working with five of my colleagues on a project called ‘Mehr als Wohnen’ (More than Living), which is a competition for a set of thirteen residential buildings distributed between the six winning studios. We have three of them (buildings D, E and H) and the construction will be started this year. I have been doing various jobs as part of the project, such as making a scale model for the front of one of the buildings, developing construction details for cabinets, windows and doors, and designing kitchens and bathrooms.

What is the routine of the job like in Switzerland; what differences are there?

Every Monday we meet up in the kitchen area of the office to discuss the important issues of that week. And once a month, we take an afternoon to explain each project, so that we know what everyone else is up to. Following that meeting, we do activities together, and not just things related to the job. We might go to visit one of our constructions, go skating together on the ice, watch a movie or go skiing.

How would you evaluate your international work experience?

Working in the studio, I´ve learned the importance of perseverance with your work. I´ve gained more responsibility, organisation skills, I got to experience meetings every week and witness the amazing and generous treatment of the employees by the managers. I really feel like my work is valued here. That said, I want to thank Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera and specifically Ricardo Meri, the International Relations coordinator at ESET, for the fantastic opportunity that this scholarship has given me.

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