I decided to complete an academic internship during my semester abroad in Barcelona because I strongly felt it would help me take my language abilities to a more professional level. I hope to one day work part time overseas and knew this opportunity would give me a head start on being prepared to do so.
I found my internship through a partner of the university (UPF) where I would also be taking classes. They asked what field I was interested in and helped to find local companies that could support a student intern. I went to my internship and completed an individually created research project regarding the legal atmosphere around social entrepreneurship in Europe. I went to the internship between 10-15 hours a week and also attended 3 classes. I lived off campus in an apartment with two students of another local university who were originally from Brazil. I spent my free time roaming the old parts of the city or finding hidden gems (mostly coffee shops!). I would typically try to travel once a month or so to a nearby country to take advantage of the time I was there.
That it is not acceptable to have a "working lunch" and that as an American, I would asked an incredible amount about politics and my personal views on the subject. I have also been the time to separate work life from private life and I felt that was completely unacceptable at my abroad internship.
Personally, my internship allowed me to not only meet but work closely with people from all over the world, of all different background and all with really great ideas. It was a think-tank of social entrepreneurs and it forced me to open my mind to social issues on a global scale and think outside the box. I think this also translates over academically, because in my decision to attend law school, my interest lies in international law and global issues. I want to carry on working with the types of people I met at my internship and on the issues they were working to address.
At the end of the internship, I was supposed to present my findings to the office as well as local professionals that showed up. The office would often post lectures or events going on throughout the week that would be open to the public. My boss posted my presentation on the website and invited local followers to attend. I never thought anyone would actually show up, but it was amazing to have a room full of people there to listen to what I had put a lot of work into. As nervous as I was talking to actually legal professionals and other well-established professionals of other fields, it was rewarding when they were intrigued, asked questions, and gave positive feedback.