Published on March 6, 2015
Looking to change the world while exploring a new culture in a dynamic, vibrant European city? An NGO internship in Madrid is a fantastic opportunity for anyone looking for real-world experience in the competitive non-profit sector while living in Spain’s culturally rich metropolis.
Boasting some 6 million people, Madrid is an international city with an established non-profit sector. Launching a career with an NG0 internship in Madrid gives interns that vital hands-on multicultural experience that opens up professional doors in the future. Previous NGO interns with the Intern Group have worked in human rights and immigration at NGOs like Hombre y Tierra. This jump start in the world of non-profits offers interns the chance to develop their skill-sets, test out non-profit work and establish contacts at NGO’s in a leading European city.
Interns are an important piece to an NGO, bringing a fresh perspective and new energy to the organization. Not only will NGO interns play an important role at their organization, interns will be exposed to a unique point of view on Spanish politics and culture through their relationships with colleagues. These connections and conversations with established NGO professionals in Madrid are what make the experience truly unique and unforgettable. The insight from working within the non-profit sector in a new culture will be translatable to any future endeavor, whether in the non-profit sector or not.
Madrid is a diverse cultural background for an international internship in the non-profit sector. Boasting a mix of history and modernity, Madrid offers unique cultural experiences for potential interns. The city is easy to navigate, thanks to a thorough and reliable public transport system. Buses, trains and flights to cities all around Europe are inexpensive and easy to access.
Being based in Madrid allows NGO interns have the opportunity to experience new cities every weekend, if they desire. A day trip to UNESCO World Heritage Site Toledo is included in The Intern Group NGO internship program, where interns can visit the iconic stone fortification Alcazar of Toledo. World Heritage City Segovia is also located just a train ride away from Madrid.
There are also a multitude of fun activities to do without ever leaving the city. Former interns have enjoyed picnicking in Madrid’s famous Retiro Park, which houses monuments, sculptures and a beautiful, peaceful lake. There are also plenty of breathtaking historic buildings, statues and museums to visit, all within Madrid’s historic center.
A café or stroll in the popular Plaza Mayor won’t disappoint, where interns can check out the area’s traditional shops and the famous bronze statue of King Philip III. Other iconic, historically significant landmarks include the Royal Palace and the stunning Almudena cathedral.
Expect a slightly different schedule during an NGO internship in Madrid. The workday rarely starts before 9 a.m. and often coworkers take several hours for a long lunch or siesta. The workday wraps up around 7 or 8 at night, when the city takes on a completely different light. In the evening, locals or “Mardileños” will often gather for tapas, or small plates, of local favorites like patatas bravas, pincho de tortilla and gallinejas. This food is usually accompanied with regional wine or beer.
As far as entertainment, the native Flamenco shows are arguably the most popular among the city’s visitors. At restaurants known as tablaos, one can enjoy a typical Flamenco dance show while enjoying a traditional Spanish meal. However, in Madrid, you can find almost any type of late-night entertainment, be it live music, pubs, dance music, theatre, etc. Fans of dance clubs should keep in mind that many open after midnight and keep their doors open until dawn, sometimes later. A “siesta” beforehand might be necessary.
While gaining real-world professional experience, another perk of an internship based in Madrid is the opportunity to see some of the world’s finest art. The internationally famous mural Guernica by Spanish painter Pablo Picasso draws in visitors from around the world to the local Reina Sofia museum. Meanwhile, thousands of international visitors flock to the local Prado museum, which boasts works by Goya and Rubens.
The internship abroad experience is a solid way to learn or improve foreign language skills. Speaking and understanding Spanish is not a requirement for The Intern Group NGO internship in Madrid, though it is useful. The Madrid program offers optional Spanish language classes at every level at the acclaimed Don Quijote school. Though the city is international, many locals speak poco English so interns will have no trouble putting class lessons into practice.
The world of non-profit work has become increasingly competitive in recent years. NGO’s are looking for experienced workers to hire, making a non-profit internship an important step to landing a first job in the sector. NGO internships in Madrid also broaden a budding professional’s concept of the sector and expose interns to cultural diversity within their field. Moreover, after having lived and worked abroad, interns will be more apt to adapt to new cities, cultures and workplaces in the future.
Apply now and boost your career!