Published on July 21, 2015
For many graduates, the initial job search can be frustrating. Young graduates around the world are finding it increasingly difficult to find their first job without real-world experience behind their belt. An excellent way to gain that experience while also test driving your career is through an international internship abroad. Instead of accepting a position unrelated to your field, take a year to grow and be in a different country. An internship abroad will equip you with multicultural, international experience and work experience relevant to your field of choice.
Interning in Latin America is an amazing opportunity for young people to gain work experience and boost their resume. The region is under rapid development and is rich with opportunities for young professionals. An internship in Medellín, Colombia offers a young graduate the chance to develop professionally, live in a foreign culture and learn a second language.
Some of The Intern Group’s best internship opportunities are located in Medellín, one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. Up-and-coming engineers have benefited from roles at internships at Colombia’s top firms. Meanwhile, international business and entrepreneurship interns have the opportunity to learn about Colombia’s emerging markets and growing economy. To see all the industries The Intern Group Latin America program offers click here.
“It was really fascinating when I got my first response from a client. It made my experience real, the feeling that I’m doing something for the company; I’m adding value to the company. That was phenomenal,” said Brian, one of the Latin America program’s former IT interns.
During his finance internship in Medellín, Anthony worked at the firm Celfin Capital. “Highlights of my internship have been getting to actually sit in front office. A lot of roles you might get in England would place you in a really administrative role in back office. I’ve been able to see how the actual trading goes on and I think it’s put me in a lot better position with this experience,” Anthony said.
Living in Medellín
Interns in Colombia live in the safest part of Medellín. Accommodations are located within the upscale and secure El Poblado district. As part of the Intern Group program, interns have the choice of either living with a Colombian family or rooming in a shared apartment with either program participants or local Colombians.
Colombians have a reputation for speaking clear, well-enunciated Spanish – the easiest to learn in Latin America. Those interested in learning Spanish during their internship may take optional Spanish language classes at Universidad EAFIT. The school offers classes for all levels of Spanish in the El Poblado district. Spanish is a useful language to speak for any professional, as there are some 405 million speakers globally.
Colombia on the rise
Colombia has gone through quite a few changes in recent years, with an expanding middle class and growing economy. National, departmental and city governments have been working hard at putting poverty and violence behind it. Though certain sectors remain problematic, major cities like Medellín have been transformed into a safe, beautiful city with tons to offer visitors from around around the world. Once recognized as one of the world's most dangerous cities, Medellín's homicide rates have dropped below cities like Washington, D.C. and New Orleans.
Medellín is Colombia's second-largest city and boasts modern and well-planned public transportation systems, social innovation, infrastructure and technological investments. In fact, the Urban Land Institute named Medellín “innovative city of the year” in 2013. The consultancy Indra also called Medellín the best Latin American city to live in, tying with Santiago, Chile.
Medellín sits in the Andes' green Aburrá Valley, surrounded by several hills. Locals often identify themselves as from the Medellín department Antioquia, calling themselves Antioqueños or paisas rather than Medellínenses. The term paisas comes from paisano, or “fellow countryman” and implies a cultural and regional identity encompassing Colombians in the departments of Antioquia, Caldas, Risaralda, Quindío and a few towns of Tolima and Valle del Cauca. Paisas speak a bit faster than Colombians from other regions. They also eat the traditional “bandeja paisa” or the paisa platter, which is a popular regional plate. The typical bandeja paisa includes fried egg, sausage, an arepa, avocado, chicharrón (fried pork belly), white rice, powdered meat, plantain and beans.
No one can complain about the weather in Medellín. Year-long the temperature stays between 60 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. This beautiful weather is what inspired Medellín's nickname as “the city of eternal springs”. Interns can enjoy these ideal temperatures by visiting the city's local parks or plazas or dining outside “al fresco”.
Along with its agreeable climate, Medellín is famous for a 10-day flower festival called Feria de las Flores, which attracts tourists from across the globe. In early August, rural farmers make their way to the city from the countryside to display their intricate and awe-inspiring flower designs. Festivities also include an antique car parade, a horse parade, and a flower float parade featuring dancers, singers and performers.
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