Since we are a university with a clear international focus, we are very happy to welcome every year a team of international students who come to CEU Cardenal Herrera University to spend a short period of time (up to 9 months) with us. They work together with the staff in their daily tasks and are always ready to give innovative ideas!
Caterina comes from Italy, Ivan and Anaïs from France, Ann-Kathrin from Germany and Alison from the United Kingdom and they have all done a tremendous job working at our International Relations Office this year.
Hello everyone! I am Caterina De Paolis, a student of Languages and foreign literatures at the University of Bologna in Italy. I am working at CEU Cardenal Herrera University in the International Relations Office and I help students that want to go abroad to do an internship. It is a job that I really like, first of all because I meet every day students from all the parts of the world that want to travel and experience other countries.
They have such courage and determination and I love that they are ready for the challenge. Before I came to Valencia, I was also with the Erasmus study programme in Warsaw, Poland and it was there that for the first time I learnt how it is important to travel, to have new experiences and most of all to meet new people. And people in Spain are just great! Everyone is kind, friendly and lovely, and it is such a pleasure to work with Spanish people! I think that I am very lucky to have the opportunity to work here at CEU because since the first day I have felt like I am at home. I think that this was also helped by the fact that I am not the only international student doing an internship here.
I am part of a wonderful group of international students from France, Germany, the UK and we are not just colleagues but also friends! I met some of them and I asked them some questions in order to tell you more about what we do here and how enjoyable life is here in Valencia.
IVAN from Lille, France
Tell us something about your stay at CEU Cardenal Herrera University, tell us about Radio Torre de Babel for example.
Torre de Babel is a radio program that is half in English and half in Spanish. I never thought I would be co presenting it with Luis. It all started with a joke I had with Thomas, we were like “It could be cool to be on the radio” and 2 days later I was on the show.
How were your first few days here ? Was difficult or easy to get to know Spanish people?
I speak Spanish so for me it wasn’t that difficult but I can understand that some people are nervous (afraid). Spanish people speak really fast but they are also very friendly and ready to make the effort of talking more slowly for you. And well, you can still speak English with them; they have a very cute accent when they are not too shy to show it.
Why do you think students should be proactive when looking for internships abroad?
Well, because they are not kids anymore, they are adults. And like my mum always said “If you want to be considered as an adult, behave like one first”. And I definitely think that you will have a better experience by searching for your internship rather than waiting for someone to find it for you. Moreover, you’ll have to find a job by yourself later.
Does your university provide you with placements or do students have to find them for themselves ?
When companies are sending internships offers, they forward them to us but you still have to contact them or to find the internship by yourself.
ANN-KATHRIN from Ostbevern, Germany
Do you like working at CEU Cardenal Herrera University?
Well, working at the CEU is not the way I expected it to be, but I am still enjoying being here and being part of the University. Doing this internship is a good opportunity to gather new experiences and to get a clearer idea of what you might or might not want to do in the future.
My main task is doing translations for the homepage of the University from Spanish to English and Spanish to German. I also often have to research topics that are important for the internationalisation of the university. Last but not least I give conversation classes twice a week to teachers of the CEU Colegio San Pablo who would like to improve their English.
Do you think that a job placement in a foreign country can be helpful for your future?
Yes, it definitely is. Living abroad and in this case working abroad helps you acquire a lot of new skills, not just professional ones but also personal ones. To work and live in a different culture might be challenging sometimes but the experiences you gain by overcoming those challenges can never be taken away from you and will for sure help you in your future.
Can you explain to us what do you do at CEU Cardenal Herrera University?
I chose to do an internship here because I study Marketing in France and now I am working in the Erasmus Office. I help students who want to go on Erasmus next year and also the incoming students who want to come to our university.
What do you like most about Spain?
There are a lot of things that I like about Spain, most of all the sun, the beaches and the food. Sometimes I think that I am on holiday because after work we can go to the beach, drink something with friends and it seems that there is another day waiting for us after work.
ALISON from Glasgow, United Kingdom
What do you think about internationalization in the university?
CEU has a very strong international focus; the result of which can be seen in the various degrees which are offered in not only English but also in French and also the bilingual degrees.
However, the internationalization project does not stop there. Not content just to offer the courses in other languages, the University also offers a wide range of additional services to their students, national and international alike.
The internationalization project has not only affected the students coming to the university but also myself andfellow interns. It has given us the opportunity to experience working in a university environment, whether that be in the International Relations Office, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine, marketing etc. I am sure I can say for all of this that we will have left the university with more confidence, several if not many new skills, experience in a friendly, international working environment and also having improved not only our Spanish but also French and English respectively.
Language learning always brings its challenges; various new or unknown tenses, gender (which doesn’t exist in English), pronunciation etc. However, with my previous knowledge of French and German, I was able to pick up the basics of Spanish rather easily. For me the main challenge has been trying to increase my vocabulary and then put the grammatical knowledge into practice when speaking.
Personally, although some people are able to learn languages more easily than others ,I believe the main obstacle which exists for native English speakers is the belief and prejudice which exists in which people believe that English is the only important language. Once native English speakers learn to value other cultures and languages, half the battle will already have been fought. Language forms an integral part of the identity of a people and without this key, we can never understand or truly experience another culture.
In conclusion, we do different things and we are from different countries but we are all aware how important this experience at CEU Cardenal Herrera University is for our lives. I think that I will remember these three months here forever. I learnt a lot of things, met fantastic people and most of all I can say that every day I work happily because I know that every day is a new experience and it is going to be great thanks to the fantastic staff at CEUCardenal Herrera University. I am sad only for one reason…it will not be easy to go back to Italy!