Tips for Finding a Placement in Barcelona

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With modernist architecture, Spanish cuisine, renowned culture and football fanatics, Barcelona is a top choice amongst both students and tourists. Check out this page for some great tips to find a placement in the Catalonian capital, and see if this laid-back culture is a good fit for you.

Nick

How did you spend your placement in Barcelona?

I was in Barcelona for 5 months working at a PR/Communications agency. Overall, it was a good experience, stressful at times but I learnt massive amounts. It really helps if the company you’re working for don’t use English as their main office language, as speaking with colleagues everyday is one of the best ways to improve your language without a doubt.

Anything you’d recommend?

Even if the placement might not seem exactly what you’re after, in the end I’m sure almost any kind of work abroad will set you up well and will be a huge experience. As mentioned before, if you really want to improve your language skills, it’s a massive plus if the company’s office language is Spanish…(or Catalan, if you’re interested in learning)

Anything to watch out for?

Catalan, but in a positive sense! I had been learning Catalan at uni anyway, so I was pretty happy when I realised the amount of Catalan spoken in my office and in the city. I had a great opportunity to test myself and improve. If you haven’t studied any Catalan, you can see it as a great chance to pick up a new language. But it isn’t something to be scared off by, just something to bear in mind…

“Consider the tradeoffs between working at a big company vs small company."

Amy

How did you spend your placement in Barcelona?

I was lucky enough to spend 6 months in Barcelona as part of my Year Abroad. I worked in a law firm that specializes in family law – I was scared and overwhelmed before I started, but the small office made it really easy to get to know everyone, and I quickly felt at home working there. I found the job through a university portal where businesses and past students could post job listings. I had two interviews over Skype around December time, and by January I knew I had the job lined up for that summer! 

Would you recommend Barcelona?

Barcelona is an incredible city and I loved living there. Even though I was working 10 – 6 every day, the pace of life feels so much more relaxed, and people really value time to unwind with family and friends. That, plus bright sunshine almost every day (even in the middle of winter!) meant that my time there genuinely felt like a 6 month holiday. 

Hugo

How did you spend your placement in Barcelona?

I was in Barcelona on a work placement since the beginning of September 2018 – May 2019. If you’re like me and find it hard to dedicate time to studying, I believe working is the best option. The university life style is a lot more laid back and it doesn’t force you to improve your Spanish. Whereas working puts you in an environment that you might never have experienced before.

Anything you’d recommend?

My most important advice would be find the right job. Internships in Barcelona are very badly paid, so DO NOT focus on the money. Find something that allows you to have flexibility and that you think you will enjoy.  In terms of applying for jobs, be realistic, I wasted so much time going to portals such as Glassdoor, just to get turned away, because I was applying to companies like Tesla.

"If your main objective of your year abroad is to focus on improving your language, I probably wouldn't go to Barcelona. If you want to have a great mix of international people, food and nightlife come here. If you use every situation to speak Spanish you will improve, but locals will take one look at you and see that you're 'foreign' so they just speak to you in English."

Ed

How did you spend your placement in Barcelona?

I spent 9 months as an intern at a crowdfunding company. University here didn’t sound great – a lot of work and really poorly organised. I know a lot of people that dropped out to get an internship instead.

Anything you’d recommend?

Consider the tradeoffs between working at a big company vs small company. At a big company, it is easier to meet people, carries more weight on CV and probably has intern schemes meaning it’s better structured. At a smaller company, you carry more responsibility and feel more valued, there is larger range of jobs to do so you learn more…the salary is smaller and there is less chance of meeting people your age at the beginning.

“Have a go at some Catalan, lots of courses are available but failing that, even showing some interest in the language will help you engage better with locals, so its worth a go."

Harry

How did you spend your placement in Barcelona?

I was there for 5 months, working for TimeOut magazine. I would definitely recommend this placement. 5 months work experience abroad looks good on the CV, I also think its easier to meet local people, as people who go to university tend to stick with other Erasmus students.

Anything you’d recommend?

My advice would be, be ready for Catalan. My office spoke half and half, and I wish I’d known how a few phrases/words to save some embarrassment.

Something to watch out for?

Don’t expect to be overly motivated, as that is not the Spanish way. It is much more laid back, and you need to motivate yourself.

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