From Newbie to Uber Geek

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Marketing Guru to be

Wuhooo, I found a great internship (the actual reason why I’m here in Barcelona :P ) and I’m already starting next Wednesday!

When I decided I wanted to go to Spain for my internship my student counsellor recommended me “Alumno Astralis”, this company specialises in finding internships or placements, summer jobs, traineeships and work for (foreign) students across Spain. So I had contact with them, but since I wasn’t speaking any Spanish yet it was difficult for them to promise me an internship already, but because of their “we will keep searching for you till we found you an internship that actually suits you” attitude I was confident enough that they would find me something before the first of September, as long as I was motivated to learn Spanish!

And last Tuesday, after six weeks of Spanish classes I had my first interview…. at an English company! :D

The first thought when I heard that I would have an interview at a really great company was “Ow shit, what do I have to wear?” Offices here in Barcelona are not really formal, actually not even business casual, like Carlos & Robbert sometimes wear shorts & sandals or flip flops to their office! So I didn’t want to go overdressed, like in a suit, but since I knew it’s an English company I certainly didn’t want to go underdressed either! Fortunately my fashion expert “Dragana” was up for a shopping session, I already had a really nice skirt, black/grey, very elegant and stylish, and I found a perfect black really simple but elegant shirt! Combined with black half open shoes, with about 3 cm heels it was a perfect outfit!

So that problem was solved, the next thought was; “where am I going to talk about?” I didn’t want it to be like a boring interview like they asking me stuff about me and I would answer, but I wanted to be able to have a nice conversation, with me having some knowledge already and so being able to ask some intelligent questions as well! Thus I did a lot of research after the company, and the more I found out the more enthusiastic I got! After the research and thinking of some good questions I called Dirk, my brother (he’s studying Human Resource Management) for some last advice, and he told me “Janneke, if he asks you something, think about that question first, then think of an answer, and after you did that you can respond. It’s not a bad thing if there’s a short silence, they will only think that you’re serious and thinking carefully about what you want.” It sounds really simple, to just think, but it was the best advice ever, I know from myself I really can get carried away in the moment when I’m very enthusiastic about something!

The interview was at 16:00, but Carlos (he always has 2 hours siesta/lunch time) and I went there around 14:00 to find out where the company is located and to have some lunch there in the area. And I was getting more nervous every minute, Carlos was making all kinds of jokes, and telling about random stuff to make me more comfortable, which kept me sane a bit. Exactly 4 minutes for four I was about to ring the bell when at that moment a guy walked out of the door and recognized me from my picture on my resume, and he was like “hey, you must be Janneke, I’m so sorry but I haven’t eaten all day, do you mind if we’ll go to that bar over there to have coffee?” And from that moment it was really relaxed, and we were talking all the time, about everything first about the company, about the job, about my interests and experiences, passions… It was great, not scary or uncomfortable at all!! We were talking for about an hour in that bar, and then he showed me the office (they have air conditioning!! ) and the people working there looked really nice, stylish and young!

So after 1 ½ hour I left their office really happy, I made my point, told them I was very motivated and interested, because the internship seems fantastic and perfect for me, and I had the feeling that they were rather interested as well. They would call me the next day, and even though I had a good feeling the day before I was pretty nervous, you never know if something else came up. But he called me and was like “yeah we were very enthusiastic, so when can you start?” I was so happy!! Next week is my last week of school, I’ve got a final test on Wednesday, and if I pass that one I’ve got officially the “intermediate” level. And then at 14:00 I start working! :D

I will keep you informed about my adventure from newbie to marketing guru!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Changes and Frustration

Here again another message from Barcelona! This is the sixth week I’m here and time has been flying and everything keeps changing! Like for example, when I moved in my apartment there was one French girl, one Dutch guy and one German. Since the French girl was not feeling happy at here work she left after 2 weeks, then Carlos who’s half Mexican, half American moved in, to move to a place closer to his work after 15 days, (well officially he moved out, but he’s practically still living at our place) at the same time the German guy moved out and two Italian girls moved in. Next week one girl is leaving and a Spanish guy will come in her place, and the other girl will leave the 19th of August, and then Carlos will move back in (he’s missing us too much!) what makes me living with 3 guy’s again! :D This is a lot of fun, except when Robbert and Carlos decide to imitate the dude’s from “dude where is my car”! And they really can go on for the whole evening “dude, sweet dude” “Awesome dude” “where’s your car dude?” Carlos uses the word Awesome for pretty much everything, and even though I think it’s an annoying word I caught myself on using it… Thanks Carlos!

People come and go here in Barcelona, like last weekend, we were out doing some touristy stuff with Robbert, Carlos and my Italian roommate (I’m so sorry but I forgot her name) and we met Tim, a great guy from America, who spent the rest of the day with us. Carlos, Tim and I went to a great local (cheap!!) tapas bar for diner, and later for drinks at Oveja Negra (black sheep!) and had margarita’s at Margarita Blue! We had so much fun that night, and the other day Tim left Barcelona to continue his Eurotrip and walked out of our lives again…

I’m meeting so many different people here from all ages and nationalities, and everybody has his/her own stories, goals, past, idea’s and interests, it’s amazing listening to all those stories and interest. The great thing here is that the people are so open, and into meeting other people too, like the first day in my new class I sat next to a Scottish girl who seemed really nice, so I just asked her like: “hej, I’m thinking about going to the beach this afternoon, do you feel like coming” and she was without hesitation telling me she was, and we had a great day on the beach.

It is really great for me being so busy, even though when you are not having any specific plans for the day or evening there is always something coming up! Before I went here I was actually next to being really excited, really scared as well, you know, I didn’t know anybody here, didn’t know the language and I was so used to having my friends and family around! But I’m very lucky with my roommates, they’re great, and of course Dragana, a girl from Belgrade, we became really good friends, she’s the only one who’s still here from the people I met in school the first week, and from November on she will be living here in Barcelona! Every Saturday we’re going to the station and get on the first train going somewhere outside Barcelona, even though the beach is nice here in the city, the beaches in the small towns are amazing! So with all these people around and things to do it is a lot easier being “alone” than I expected, I don’t really have time to miss my friends and family, (also because my mom is still calling me everyday of course :D ). But I can feel myself changing and getting more independent everyday, not only financially but also emotionally, and discovering what I want! Also the weather has a great influence, in Holland it’s always dark, cold and rainy, and here it’s always light, sunny, nice warm… It makes you more positive and relaxed!

Of course things are not only great, there are many frustrations too! To start with our landlord, he is a real ass****! Last week they decided that the apartment was not clean enough (without even seeing it) and sent in some one to clean (as in a weird guy who was wandering around the apartment for 2 hours doing nothing) and we each had to pay 20 euro for that!!! That’s 80 euro for one guy wandering around for 2 hours! I’m mean, well, fair enough if they’re gonna send in a cleaner who we have to pay when the place really is dirty, but I’ve been cleaning the bathroom like one week before that, and the place was really not filthy at all! And now the water boiler thing is broken! First it was only leaking, but it was still working, and yesterday they finally sent someone to repair, but what did that guy do; he totally took the boiler apart, and then said; “ow I can’t repair this” and left…. So here we are, with a very old not working boiler, so without warm water, with a landlord who’s a pain in the ass and not willing to fix it…

It’s a great adventure! :D

ow btw, of course I would love to stay up to date with your lives as well! If you click on the 0 comments, you can leave a message!