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My experience as a Marketing Assistant at Instituto Hemingway

Hola! My name is Theo, I am from the United Kingdom, I have studied Spanish for 3 years and I have attained level B2/C1 in Spanish.
I arrived on the 1st of September 2015 to start my internship at Instituto Hemingway in Bilbao. In my first month here I have had a varied internship and I have participated in many cultural activities, some as a part of my role.

The role:

I am responsible for the firm's website and marketing our services effectively on-line. I produce articles on several websites and posts on social networks on a daily basis in English and Spanish. As well as translating documents, the role has elements of administration and client contact. I am responsible for answering the phone and advising customers that come to our office, the vast majority of the time in Spanish. Furthermore, the position also has a tourism focus. I research potential activities for our students and lead the excursions that the school provides in the Biscay area on a regular basis.

Activities:

On my first day I went up the Artxanda funicular with a group of students and saw amazing views of the city (see photo). Since then I have eaten lots of new types of food and enjoyed free pintxos every Friday night with the school. Before I came to Bilbao I had never tried the much talked about chocolate and churros combination! However, since I arrived I have tried churros at 5 different establishments. My favourite ones were in a small café in Portugalete, which I enjoyed after a hike along the Camino del Norte (part of the Way of Saint James), a pilgrimage route that runs through Northern Spain. I have also hiked in the hills around Gernika, visiting the peculiar painted forest along the way. As a history student, the story of Gernika interested me a lot. It has been a symbol of Basque autonomy since it was founded in 1366. Traditionally townsfolk would gather around its famous oak tree, part of which still survives, to discuss the pressing issues of the day. This oak tree was also the site where King Ferdinand II swore to safeguard Basque autonomy when it became part of the wider Kingdom of Castile. In 1937 this peaceful town was bombed heavily by the Nazi Luftwaffe during the Spanish Civil War, inspiring Pablo Picasso to create a famous work of art that brought the cause of Gernika to the world stage.

I have been to 2 beaches, one in the port town of Zierbena (which connects Bilbao to my home country of the United Kingdom) and Las Arenas, near Getxo. I have been fortunate enough to watch a football match at the recently built San Mames stadium, where the beloved Athletic Club play. Athletic is interesting club that places great emphasis on promoting home grown talent in the Basque region. I have seen 2 concerts, one in Bilbao and one in Galdakao, which have revealed to me the wonders of Celtic music as part of Basque culture. I have also been on a boat trip along the river Nervión which gave me an alternative view of the city, which initially gained its wealth through maritime trade. I have also enjoyed wine tasting with Alfredo, the school’s resident wine connoisseur.

Lastly, I have visited 5 museums: the Guggenheim museum, the Fine Arts museum, the Basque museum, the Maritime museum and the Guernica Peace museum. My favourite of these was the Fine Arts Museum, where I particularly enjoyed baroque style works. This art was part of the movement to counter the Protestant Reformation. The art was designed to appeal to the masses and have a particularly obvious and clear-cut meaning, which made me wonder if I was a simpleton for liking it!

Overall, I have been busy, learning quickly and doing exciting new things almost every day. The role has required creativity and flexibility, which has meant I have had to adapt and think outside the box. If you are interested in a challenging, but rewarding internship in an amazing and rapidly developing city then I would recommend an internship at Instituto Hemingway.

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