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My year abroad: Nearly Half Way Through

My name is Theo and I am just over 4 months of the way into my year abroad in Spain. I am working as a Marketing and Translation Intern in Bilbao; Spain, as part of an Erasmus sponsored year abroad. I am working for Instituto Hemingway, a company which provides educational courses and internships.

The Role:

I am responsible for marketing through a variety of mediums, in English and Spanish. I publicise the firm's services and offers on our website, as well as those of Close Teachers, European Internships and My Spanish Courses Online. I also manage our social networks. The role requires a professional level of Spanish. I translate client correspondence via email, telephone and face-to-face, as well as publishing in-depth information about the courses, internships and jobs offered by the firm. Moreover, I provide advice to clients about Spanish legislation, transport, currency conversion, culture and tourism. Through this role I am responsible for managing the firm’s image, as well as advising clients in a second language.

Internship Highlights:

The role has provided many opportunities to be creative. I have produced a number of instructive videos with other interns and worked in tandem with other companies to broaden our marketing campaign. I often choose the themes that I would like to write about on our website; being a history student this often strays towards writing passages on the evolution of local towns, exhibitions in Bilbao’s museums or the development of architecture in the city. I also regularly take part in the free cultural activities that the company organises on a daily basis for its students, which include visiting popular pintxo bars, enjoying churros with chocolate and taking in shows at the Arriaga Theatre.

My Experience of Bilbao:

Bilbao is not especially well known, however, Greater Bilbao is the fifth biggest urban area in Spain. It is the largest city in the Basque Country, a region of Spain which enjoys a high level of autonomy, greater than that of Catalonia. Having been an important port and mining area, the city was, for the majority of the 20th century, an industrial one. However, today it boasts a thriving tertiary sector. Bilbaínos are also proud of their education and health system, as well as their gastronomy! I routinely take advantage of the extensive public transport system and modern airport. The metro connects Bilbao to nearby coastal towns such as Getxo, Sopela and Plentzia. Coach travel to San Sebastián and Vitoria is also frequent and easy.

In terms of culture, Bilbao offers a great deal. Of its museums, the most famous is the Guggenheim, without a doubt the most emblematic piece of architecture in Bilbao. However, I am a big fan of its Fine Arts Museum. The Arriaga Theatre, again one of many, provides a great atmosphere and high quality shows. If you take a trip down Calle Licenciado Poza or through the cobbled streets of the Casco Viejo you will find an array of pinxto bars, where you can enjoy tasty Basque snacks and a drink; perhaps even a Kalimotxo (a popular drink here which consists of Coca-Cola and red wine)!

Overall, I would thoroughly recommend a year abroad, due to the experiences you gain, people you meet and the opportunity it gives you to advance your foreign language skills. I would also recommend Bilbao over other, more touristy destinations in Spain.

Here you can see my top 10 list of things to do in Bilbao!

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