I’ve been writing on this blog for four months now, you’ve probably read some of my articles. I’ve been attending activities at CEU, interviewing students, professors and staff, taking pictures… I am a marketing and communication student from France and was an intern at CEU Valencia, at the International Relations Office. Now that I’m leaving, it’s time for me to tell you about my time here and share some of my best memories!
The Interns Squad
I do not consider myself a social butterfly. So, one of my greatest fears before coming here was being doomed to stay alone for four months because I couldn’t manage to meet people. Well, it didn’t happen. At all.
When I arrived, there was only Alonso, an intern from Peru who had been there from September, originally only for the first semester but who liked it so much here that he stayed for the second. So, it started just with us two, and as weeks went by, many others joined it, coming from France, Greece and Scotland. By the end of May, there were 7 of us. One of them even became my flatmate! Whether we would hang out after work, go out during the weekends, have our breaks together or go for some crazy hikes, it was always a great time.
Actually, it turned out so well that we are thinking about meeting again in each of our countries… this is how you know this is indeed an Erasmus+ experience!
Let’s just learn another language!
I didn’t speak a word of Spanish when I arrived. Family and friends were quite sceptical when I told them I was going to Spain for four months. They kept asking why Spain, as I didn’t speak Spanish… well the simple answer is that I have a taste for challenge; the other answer is that I knew I would have to learn Spanish if I wanted to survive my stay here. I know that languages are a great asset; learning Spanish was adding another string to my bow.
It’s a very lively university. being an intern at CEU Is as enriching as I imagine it is to study here.
As an intern at CEU, you can ask to join Spanish classes! Thanks to the Language Service, I got the opportunity to go beginner classes. The great thing is that in Valencia, not everyone speaks English. Which means it’s a great opportunity to practice! There are “Tandem de idiomas” almost every day, and lots of language activities. I still don’t speak much Spanish, but I undoubtedly improved it!
There is always something happening in Valencia
I arrived in February, meaning a month before Fallas. Needless to say that it was a crazy moment to arrive. Mascletàs, fire crackers, songs, churros and parties everywhere! Even though it quieted down a bit, there were still plenty of events you can attend. And it’s not just Valencia: there are so many things to do in the Comunitat as well. We enjoyed hiking for example: the region has some really beautiful spots and landscapes!
The same goes with CEU: there’s always something going on. People filming in the corridors, bubble football, memes exposition, fallas tour (with churros tasting!), calligraphy workshop, international lectures… I attended these events, sometimes covered them. It’s a very lively university, and being an intern at CEU was as enriching as I imagine it is to study here.
Spanish food, Spanish culture
I left Paris in February, wearing a scarf and my warmest coat. Needless to say that when I arrived in Valencia wearing these clothes, I felt out of place. It’s completely right what everyone says: the weather in Valencia is incredible. We could head directly to the beach right after work! That’s a nice change from the Parisian grisaille…
There was that one time though when it hailed and I have to mention it because it’s one of my best memories from here. We had gone on a cycling trip with other interns and friends, to Albufera and El Palmar. We wanted to eat a true Valencian paella where it was born. On the way back, it hailed. Seven people, caught in a hailstorm, struggling to cycle back to town… We still had such a great time, calling this outing “character building”. I can’t believe we had that much fun, soaked as we were. That’s the thing with Valencia: whatever happens, it always feels like it’s okay and everything will be fine.
Part of this is because of food. Tortilla de patatas, patatas bravas, croquetas, bocadillos… Paella of course (without the hailstorm, it’s better)! But my true discovery was… tostada de tomate. Let’s face it, I did not have high hopes for this one. I’m not a big fan of tomatoes in general, so grated tomatoes with olive oil on grilled bread didn’t really appeal to me. But I was so wrong! Imogen, a fellow intern from Scotland, and I would have our breaks enjoying the great tostada de tomate at the canteen. You have to try these when you’re in Spain. Because they’re definitely worth it!
Have I mentioned work yet?
In terms of pacing, this is completely different from what I’ve been used to in Paris. The atmosphere is way more laid back here. One of the first sentences I learned in Spanish were No pasa nada and No te preocupes. I’m the greatest worrier you’ll find, so I was completely taken aback when I arrived and heard such sweet words. I think you just enjoy life more here than you do in France or in any other country.
I learned so much; sometimes I feel like I’ve learned more here than I had in school. My mentor told me about content marketing with the basics of blogging, SEO, picture size, photography, writing for the web, Google Analytics, Facebook Ads, Google Ads… things I had heard of at school and knew were central but had never been properly introduced to. I had the opportunity to apply theory to something that would actually have some meaning, not a school exercise you need to do for a grade.
I was so unsure about how this internship will turn out, mostly because out of principle, I worry about everything. Surprise, surprise… it turned out incredibly well! What really amazed me was the trust that was put in me. The staff here was so friendly. This really was different from any work experience I had had before in France. I didn’t think I could have mixed feelings about going back to France and be on holidays. And look at me now!
In a nutshell (because this article is already way too long): I truly recommend becoming an intern at CEU. So, with my last words on this blog, I would like to thank CEU for having me and giving me such a warm welcome, as warm as the Valencian sun…