Works and Days



Five Things You Need to Know About Interning in Barcelona

Jordan and friends sitting around a small table at a busy restaurant

Taking some time for tapas with the rest of the Adelante Abroad squad! During the first week of the program, we met up together to talk about our different internship and to get to know one another.

Over the summer, I went to Barcelona to fulfill an internship through the intern abroad company Adelante Abroad. This experience was beyond anything I could have imagined, and went far beyond what I planned; what had started as a proposed legal internship in immigration turned into working with an associated client, Casal Lambda, an LGBT Catalunyan organization (more on that below). Not everything is going to be how you expect when you go abroad, so here are FIVE things you need to know about your time spent in Barcelona!

The people of Barcelona, a city within the Province of Catalunuya, take immense amounts of pride in the differences between their culture and language and other Spanish cultures, particularly Castellano. What Americans typically know as Spanish is actually of the Castellano dialect of Spain (often mixed with other dialects depending on location). Barcelona and citizens of Catalunya proudly speak Catalán as a first language, which sounds like a mix between Spanish and French. If you don’t know Catalán, people are actually more likely to speak to you in English than Catalán. As an intern that had never been exposed to the culture and only spoke Spanish, this was a bit jarring at first. It took a while to really understand the differences, and also to pick up some understanding of the language. My internship ended up being associated very strongly with the Catalán culture, and so Catalán was spoken frequently around me. Castellano was spoken on request, but was somewhat looked down upon. This was constructive though, as it allowed me to both come into a greater understanding about a society I had never been as well as attain a larger grasp on the language.