Exuberant. Buzzing. Magnificent. These are some of the words that came to my mind when I arrived in Madrid. I knew it was going to be great, but nothing can prepare you for the feeling you get when you know you have made the right choice. It can be overwhelming to be someplace so different from home, but I know this will be one of the best times of my life. I knew a fair bit about the city because my dad has visited Madrid frequently during the last ten years. Once I arrived, I completely understood his praise and then some. I fell in love.
On one of my first days here, I took a double-decker tour bus around the city to get my bearings. I had not researched Madrid much beforehand so it was very beneficial because it helped me to decide on the places I wanted to visit and to establish my sense of direction
Combined with suggestions from friends and family, my list of planned adventures grew quickly. During my first weekend in Madrid, I walked over 30 miles exploring the various museums, parks, historical sites, and even saw an American film. Even after being here for over a month, I feel there is no shortage of exploration to be done.
Once it became time for my internship to begin, I could not have been more enthused to start this new chapter in my life. Before I came to Spain, I was interning in a criminal law firm near my college. Now I am interning in an international, civil law firm in another country! The firm for which I work primarily assists ex-patriots from the United Kingdom who have business affairs in Spain, therefore, the lawyers must speak English and Spanish and must be proficient in both legal systems. There was one aspect, however, that I hadn’t expected. I had anticipated my hours being quite short since I am an unpaid intern, maybe 10:00 to 15:00. To my surprise, the Spanish work day is quite long and, because we work lawyers hours, our’ are even longer than normal. My hours are 09:30 to 19:30 with an hour break for lunch.
Initially, of course, researching, translating, and understanding Spanish law for 9 hours a day was mentally and physically exhausting for me. A month later it is still tiring but I am getting used to it. I will be forever grateful for this experience, no matter what hurdles I must overcome. The work is interesting and I love my coworkers. I know I will learn a lot about the law and the Spanish language!