Studying abroad is a big decision for most students, but there are countless rewards.  I always knew that I wanted to study in Spain, and Seville was my top destination.  Even though I was comfortable and excited about the idea of studying overseas, working in a foreign different country was more than a little intimidating.  I am studying Language and International Business at Clemson University in the United States, and a requirement for that program is an internship with an international company.

I had absolutely no idea what to expect.  For one thing, I had never worked in an office setting before, let alone worked in a language other than English.  To be frank, I was really nervous.  Throughout my past two years at Clemson, I was lucky enough to be a full-time student, so in the past, I only worked during the summer.  I assumed that it would be challenging for me to complete an internship while studying for a semester and also juggling traveling, meeting new people, and adapting to an unfamiliar culture.

But after coming to Boleo Global, I knew on the first day that I did not need to worry.  Everyone was so welcoming and friendly and wanted to make sure that I was comfortable.  That is not to say that I have not had challenges since it is still a lot to study, work, and adjust to living in a new place, but Boleo Global has only given me opportunities and learning experiences.

I have learned a lot about company culture in the past, but Boleo Global has given me a new perspective on it.  Before leaving home, I had done a lot of research about Spanish culture, especially in the workplace, because I wanted to understand it and make sure that I did not do anything unacceptable.  Even though I had an idea of what Spanish companies are like, there were still many things that I did not expect.

I did not realize that the people in Spain would be so much warmer and less formal in their communication than I am used to at home.  This applies to all areas of life, because all of my professors in Spain have asked to be called by their first names, which is not all that common at my university.  Also, emails and messages on Whatsapp are different than I am accustomed to, as everyone closes their emails with something like “un abrazo” which means “a hug”, and people are generally much more friendly in their messages, often using emojis.

As I am improving my Spanish proficiency, I have been working on a lot of translations for the company, which is really helping my vocabulary and writing skills.  Also, I go to weekly company meetings, which allows me to see how the office is run and the variety of tasks that are essential for the success of Boleo Global.  Finally, though it is not part of my work hours, I often have a coffee with my coworkers before leaving for class, and that is one of my favorite parts of the day.  I get to practice my Spanish while some of the employees practice their English, and I can ask questions about whatever I want, whether that is about the company, Seville, questions about places in Spain I should visit, etc.

The past month has gone by so quickly.  I am excited to see what the rest of my time in Seville has in store for me, and I am excited to learn as much as I can at Boleo Global about both business and law while I have this opportunity.

Catherine Forbes

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