Mi Practica (that’s internship for you non-Spanish speakers)

Today I went to Elipse Iniciativas, the small sports marketing/event planning firm where I’ll be interning.  It’s located just outside Madrid in a new office park, but it took me a good 1,5 hours to get there via subway and bus.  They organize the Maraton Madrid (which was just a couple of weeks ago), the largest marathon in the city along with working on organizing many other smaller races and with sports-related companies (like Adidas).

Their offices look like those of a small advertising agency in the U.S.  Lots of computers, copiers, and open space.  Seems like marketing people everywhere like their office to have a "cool" factor.

I’ll be working Monday through Friday from 9:00-14:00 (starting tomorrow), then I’ll head back into the city for my class on Spanish culture (though that doesn’t start until next week).

Madrid! (finally)

Well today was quite a long day.  After waking up on Sunday morning at 9:00 eastern time, catching my 5:30 flight to London and not sleeping for the 8.5 hours of time in the air, enjoying a two hour layover at the British Airways lounge, and taking an almost 3 hour flight to Madrid, I’m tired.

After getting to Madrid I met the kids who took the group flight in Terminal 1 and e all took a bus together back to the Instituto Internacional, the school where we will take classes and where the program offices are.  The building is right in central Madrid.  I’ll post pictures later in the week, but it’s a really nice old building.

We then found out our host families for the next 7 weeks.  My family lives about 8 blocks (10-15 minutes walk) from the Instituto in the direction of my internship (though it’s a little further the other direction to get to the internship).  My family is a married couple with three sons.  I’ll post more about them later this week, too.  Also in the house is a Texas A&M student who is studying abroad through his school’s internship program.

On tap for tomorrow: information sessions about the internship program, getting a phone, and churros for breakfast?

Good night!

Across the Pond

I just arrived in London after a successful 8.5 hour Delta flight.  The flight was very nice; good food (cheese and spinach ravioli), little turbulence, good service (LOTS of water and tea), and to top it all off we got in half an hour early.  Also, while I couldn’t sleep on account of an upset baby, duty free sales in the aisles, and flying north before east (keeping the sun up much longer), the in-flight entertainment system was great (I recommend Freedom Writers as well as 30 Rock).  The person sitting next to me was on her way to London for Auburn’s study abroad program.  She also got her internship placement through the EUSA placement company and will be working at Barclay’s.

Right now, I’m waiting for my Madrid flight in the British Airways Terrace Lounge.  It just so happened that this leg of the flight I’ll be flying business class, so I get complimentary breakfast and a very nice place to wait for the flight.  The picture doesn’t quite do it justice, but it’s certainly much nicer than waiting in the "usual" waiting area.

Some observations on London: the view on the approach to London was that of the quintessential English countryside with tiny fields separated by rows of trees, dotted with small cottages (just as the Vicker of Dibbly had promised).  The airport itself looks like the future from the 1970s with round tube tunnels connecting buildings.  Also, if America is more obese that Britain it certainly doesn’t show in the country’s stick figures; both the man and the woman used the signify which restroom is which were decidedly wider than their American counterparts.

British people also use big words more often.  It would surprise me quite a bit to see the AJC use the word "audacity" nonchalantly in an article.  The British also seem to be more blunt.  They dispel with the euphemisms we cling to in America.  Gatwick’s Rubbish Classification and Extermination Center (it was something ridiculous like that) just wouldn’t be the same as a "Trash Reclamation Center."  Finally, I tried Marmot Marmite (correction – 5/27 – spell check changed it from Marimite to an animal/sportswear company – keen eyes Dad) with my toast at breakfast and I must say I have no idea what the British see in it. 

 One more thing.  While browsing through my free papers, I noticed a story about a crisis which unfolded over the past few days after the Mars candy company decided to use animal rennet to make its chocolate, rendering it non-vegetarian.  Not only that, but The Times noted that the Jewish population was also upset as the ingredient change violated Kashrut laws; Mars candy would no longer be Kosher.  While today Mars announced that they’ll switch back to the animal-free whey, the London Beth Din (apparently the religious court of the Chief Rabbi) published a statement assuring English Jews that while "vegetarians object to rennet on ethical grounds, Jewish law permits minute quantities".  In other words we change the rules to keep the chocolate coming.  :-D 

Off to catch my Madrid flight now…

Going to Madrid!

So I’m studying abroad in Madrid this summer for 7 weeks as part of the Boston University Madrid Internship Program.  I’ve decided to start this blog to keep family and friends aprised of how the trip is going (and to post lots of pictures!).  I arrive in Madrid May 21, so look for an update then!