As a third year student reading Spanish at the University of Bristol, I had originally organised a work placement for myself in Buenos Aires and I was counting down the days until I could finally escape my English shackles. Then Coronavirus turned the world upside down along with the company with which I had secured a rather comfortable internship; shutting its doors for good in late June.
With only a couple of months before I needed to start my University-mandated year abroad I was back to square one. It was only when a close family friend recommended Emily at The Language Gap in mid-July that I gave her a call and discovered all was not lost.
She helped me translate both my CV and cover letter into Spanish, and format it perfectly before using it to bombard her extensive list of Spanish contacts. Sure enough maybe a week later I had an interview with the Madrid-based company I am now currently interning at.
While I had originally thought that interning at a language school was not on my preferred list of potential jobs, Emily’s knowledge of the company and her foresight that, given the COVID-19 pandemic, I would be lucky to get any job so last-minute proved invaluable in showing me the opportunity I had been presented. In the 10 days since I arrived, I have gained experience across a range of disciplines surrounding digital marketing such as extensive social media management, web design and copywriting. I have many University friends out here in a similar predicament who tried to find work themselves and not one of them has succeeded. The pandemic has practically closed an already feeble Spanish job market and I am now the only one gaining any real experience - and the language skills to go with it - all thanks to Emily.
Madrid is currently in an ‘Estado de Alarma’ and there are a range of restrictions in place. However, as a Brit abroad I have hardly noticed them. Aside from the constant mask-wearing and seemingly omnipresent whiff of hydroalcoholic gel, my life here is fairly normal. Bars shut at 12 which is not much different to what I am used to in London during normal times and I can’t leave Madrid’s ‘Centro’ without permission, but I had never intended to. Centro covers a vast area with essentially all the city’s places of interest - of which there are many. I am here until January and hopefully the restrictions will be lifted well before then, but if not I will continue to see the sights, try the food and speak the language as usual; just from behind a mask.