I had been toying with the idea of going abroad for a semester ever since I started studying at the University of Malta, but was always a bit hesitant to make the firststep. When I heard about IAESTE and the internships the organisation offers, I decided to take a chance and applied for one. I was accepted for an internship in Madrid.
When it hit home that I would be travelling to Madrid all alone and living there for a couple of months I started feeling a bit apprehensive. Will I make friends? How will I survive without speaking any Spanish? were among the questions I started asking myself. However, as soon as I received my first e-mail from Madrid all my doubts instantly disappeared as the people in charge of IAESTE over there were helpful and reassuring. One of the biggest eadaches of living abroad is doubtlessly finding accommodation in a good area. Thankfully, IAESTE spared me this headache and the headache of finding how to get from the airport to the accommodation. In fact, the first person I met upon landing in Spain was Elena, an IAESTE member, who picked me up from the airport, gave me all information I should know and took me to my apartment.
When I arrived, everyone had been in Madrid for some days and had already made friends. However, it didn’t take me long until I got to know each and every one of the group since all of the interns were friendly. It took me a while to remember all the names: so many different names of people coming from so many different countries! I never imagined I would meet so many people with different nationalities in a relatively short span of time. Every evening we would meet in different places and soon got used to hearing Regaetton and Spanish music blaring from speakers on our nights out. IAESTE Spain organised trips to different cities, such as Malaga and Barcelona, on weekends. I went to Valencia and also visited Toledo and the Bernabeu stadium, where we watched some great football players in action.
For my internship in Madrid, I had the opportunity of working at one of the universities that was close to my apartment. My project was researching apnea. By using Matlab and recorded voices of patients, I investigated whether there is a link between apnea and voice. It was my first time working with speech processing but my Professor was very helpful. We would start the day by discussing what I needed to get done by the end of the day and he was always available when I encountered any problems. The Professor was also really interested in Malta and spoke about Spain and gave me tips about where I should visit.
Overall, it was an amazing experience which I recommend to anyone who is still undecided about whether to embark on an overseas experience. The only thing I hated was when we had to say goodbye since we had become like a family. From this internship one gets the opportunity to live and make friends with locals and people from all over the world and also to gain confidence. Moreover, one has the opportunity to learn about different cultures and languages and to visit different places. Furthermore, one has the opportunity to work with foreign people, to learn different techniques and to apply what is learned in practice.
Finally, I would like to thank IAESTE for giving me this opportunity and all the people I met who made this experience so unforgettable!