How To Get an Internship in a Spanish-Speaking Country
Traveling abroad for an internship in Spanish allows you to experience your professional career in an entirely different cultural context.
Picture yourself surrounded by exotic foods, beautiful landscapes, and new friends—all of it while putting your professional skills into practice. An internship in Spanish is guaranteed to prepare you for the future while enhancing your Spanish-speaking abilities.
I’ve had the opportunity of being an intern abroad twice and these opportunities have been life-changing for me and my career.
Join me in this insightful blog post as I elaborate on how to get an internship in a Spanish-speaking country.
Is an Internship in Spanish Right for You?
An internship in Spanish is a program offered to recent graduates and young apprentices who seek to acquire professional experience in their chosen field of study. The translation for intern in Spanish is interno, practicante, or becario. The Spanish translation for an internship is pasantía—the term prácticas profesionales is also popular.
There are two types of internships in Spanish for you to choose from:
1. Pasantía remunerada (paid internship)
Engaging in this type of internship in Spanish provides you a monetary incentive. In most cases, it isn’t a competitive salary, but enough to cover living costs abroad while granting you the opportunity of immersing in fieldwork.
2. Pasantía no remunerada (unpaid internship)
This type of program offers no payment to participants. It’s actually participants who pay to engage in the program. You also have to cover travel and living costs. However, it offers valuable professional experience.
Initially, knowing your motives for becoming an intern in Spanish is key for you to make the decision.
You might want to intern in a specific company or organization because you’re hoping to obtain a job there in the near future. There’s also a probability you want to experience life abroad in a Spanish-speaking country and you want to make your time there more productive.
Others seek an internship to try what life as a professional feels like. People who’ve completed graduate school and want to take their newly acquired skills for a spin choose to become an intern in Spanish to experience the responsibilities, tasks and challenges their chosen career offers.
Benefits of Becoming an Intern in Spanish
Choosing to become an intern in Spanish brings incredible benefits to your personal and professional development. In addition, it prepares you for life in general. You get out of your comfort zone and tackle challenges you might not experience at home.
Let’s examine some of the perks of being an intern in Spanish.
Acquire Professional Experience
Interns acquire practical and hands-on work experience. Being in a classroom gives you the knowledge and theoretical concepts for you to apply in your chosen career, but taking this preparation to the field validates the dedication you’ve given to your studies. You come up close and personal with day-to-day tasks, team efforts, responsibility distribution, and achieving time-sensitive goals.
You also learn the hierarchy and structure of companies and organizations. Starting as an intern in Spanish is a reminder that obtaining an executive, high-paid position isn’t possible without any experience. The sooner you put yourself out there, the more experience you’ll have for the job market.
Gain New Skills
When you are an intern in Spanish you enter as an apprentice, not as a fully developed professional. This gives your peers and mentors the opportunity to give you meaningful feedback. You identify your weaknesses and have the possibility of transforming them into strengths.
You learn from the people around you as an observer who is allowed to ask as many questions as possible. This type of opportunity is rare; when you become a working professional, employers expect you to get the job done without overthinking. Being an intern in Spanish gives you the chance to learn from people who are established and have years of meaningful experience.
Earn Incentives and Compensation
If you get an internship in Spanish that offers a paid position, you’ll receive monetary compensation and that on its own is highly motivating. If this isn’t the case, some internships offer incentives outside and inside the work environment for you to enjoy. These incentives range from off-site training, field trips, intern-only events, and even discounts in specific venues.
Build Your Professional Network
Connecting with like-minded individuals and professionals is key for learning how the industry works. The people you meet in your summer internship might be a gateway for your future job.
Ensure a Smooth Transition to a Real Job
Doing an internship in Spanish prepares you for a job because you learn the value of time and resource management. You gain job experience ahead of time, so when you land your dream job you know the expectations your employer has for you. You become more confident because you’ve tested job-specific strategies from the classroom in an environment where trial and error are accepted.
Experience Independent Living
An experience abroad teaches you the power of independence. Becoming an intern in Spanish makes you learn how to get by on your own. You have to figure out where to live, how to use transportation, wise ways to maximize your budget, and how to tend to personal commitments and responsibilities in another country.
Pick Up on Valuable Cultural Insights
Taking on an internship in Spanish supports you in embracing diversity and becoming culturally sensitive. You’ll come close to traditions and habits you’ve never experienced before.
You get a broader understanding of certain behaviors, values, and cultural norms that enable you to grasp your experience to the fullest.
Gain Expertise in Professional Bilingualism
An internship in Spanish gives you language immersion in a fast-paced environment. You engage in meaningful conversations that apply specifically to your work. Listening to Spanish constantly improves your reading, pronunciation, and Spanish-speaking skills.
It even brings you close to specific slang, work concepts, and the ability to critically think, contextualize, and solve problems in Spanish.
Start learning Words and Phrases for the Workplace in this educational blog post.
Preparing for an Internship in Spanish
Applying for an internship in Spanish requires dedicated time and effort. Like applying for a summer job, school, or position back home. You also need to define where to look for the internship in Spanish. Here’s a list of suggestions that provide support in your quest to find the right internship in Spanish.
1. School Advisors
Schedule an appointment with your school advisor to examine the options and agreements your school has available already. Many schools partner with schools and institutions abroad that offer amazing options such as a research internship, a business consulting internship, a medical internship, and more.
Your school advisor can help you with the application process and will give you a rational perspective from previous participants.
2. International Recruiting Platforms
NGO’s, multinationals, non-profits, and corporations have internships available in a wide variety of international branches and offices. If you have a specific company or organization in mind, I suggest you make a list narrowing your chosen options.
Do your research and find the best way to reach out to them. Visit their website and fill out the application when available. Otherwise reaching out to human resources or the recruitment department for orientation is also helpful.
Search engines like Idealist, GoAbroad, and Devex have a variety of paid and unpaid internships listed in Spanish-speaking countries.
Using Linkedin as a recruitment platform is another great alternative for finding that dream internship in Spanish. Several institutions have a Linkedin profile and use the network for scouting new, qualified staff, which often includes interns.
The network allows you to upload your resume with detailed professional and academic experience, leading you to connect with others in your field of work. Paying extra attention to your Linkedin profile can help you land a job in the future and start forming your own network of colleagues and professional acquaintances.
4. Placement Institutions
Internship placement providers work like recruitment offices and pay attention to your abilities, experience, and interests. Most of these companies charge a fee to support you in the application process. If you can make the investment, these companies provide guidance and guarantee that the internship opportunities adhere to legal standards and ethics.
They assist you in pairing you up with the right institution, they help you find the best accommodation options, and try to make the transition to the Spanish-speaking country as smooth as possible. Reputable organizations like Global Experiences and AIESEC have strategic alliances in several Latin American countries and Spain for you to choose from.
Internship in Spanish Options
The variety of internships in Spanish varies according to the industry or chosen field of work. Researching which industries stand out or are known for high proficiency in each Spanish-speaking country is a good starting point.
Here’s some detailed information on the most-sought out Spanish-speaking countries for internships.
España has several unpaid and paid options for you to become an intern in Spanish. The programs include free time to do sightseeing and offer different housing alternatives. Cities like Madrid and Barcelona offer opportunities in fashion, architecture, culinary arts, hospitality and tourism, visual arts, and cultural management. Most programs go for a semester and take place in spring and fall.
Cities like Bogotá and Medellín are leaders in technology, innovation, and business development. Colombia is also known for the presence of large investment banks and for a vast export of natural resources. Colombia offers fully equipped internships that go from 6 weeks to a semester in law, business, finance, and public office.
Read this exciting blog post for more details on What You’ll Find On Your Trip to Colombia.
Costa Rica is known for being a pioneer in the fields of conservation and ecotourism. The country offers fantastic opportunities for interns who wish to create experience in biology, hospitality, photography, sustainability, and environmental education.
Antigua Guatemala and Guatemala City have hands-on internships in Spanish that tackle the multiple challenges of society. Most of these programs are available via nonprofits that target childhood development and women equality.
An internship in education, medicine, and social work connects you directly to Guatemalan communities and allows you to understand how these fields function within their limitations. Programs in Guatemala range from 1 to 6 months in duration.
A country as large as Mexico offers a vast amount of opportunities for potential interns. You can intern in medicine, business, dentistry, physiotherapy, engineering, conservation, culinary arts, theater and arts, public health, and more.
The cost of living in Mexico is low compared to other Latin American countries, making housing available in different categories. Mexico is also well connected with a large variety of airports that offer flights to the United States and the United Kingdom.
Peru is well known for its incredible gastronomy and cuisine. It’s home to recognized restaurants that offer internships in the culinary arts for those who seek to get a taste of Peruvian flavors. The country offers other opportunities in Cusco and the Sacred Valley that allow you to engage with artisans, farmers, and indigenous communities. Programs in Peru are available for a minimum of 2 weeks.
Start Planning your Internship
Sign up for a free class with a native Spanish-speaking teacher to prepare for your internship in Spanish today!
Having a foundation of Spanish before venturing abroad prepares you for smooth travels as you’ll know the basics for asking for directions, shopping for essentials, exploring like a local, and making new friends through meaningful conversations.
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