Everything you need to know about internships in Barcelona
Barcelona offers an engaging mix of a relaxed lifestyle and an innovative business environment, making it one of the most attractive destinations in Europe for those looking to start their professional career. The city also boasts a great cultural heritage and an active social scene that highlights sports, beaches and excellent food. Adding the high-quality health services and amazing travel connections on top, it’s no wonder that Barcelona is a top choice when it comes to searching for internships and placements abroad.
There are two types of internships in Spain: Student internships and graduate internships. Student Internships (often called placements) form part of a degree programme and are regulated by an agreement between the university and the company offering the internship. Graduate Internships aren’t as strictly regulated, and therefore individuals can apply to the company of their choice.
Doing an internship or work placement in Barcelona is an incredible opportunity for your future career as it is one of the world’s leading cities in terms of innovation, and in attracting talent and foreign investment. All interns are guaranteed to leave Barcelona with highly desired skills as well as knowing how to work in a multicultural environment, things that most employers look for in candidates.
Internships in Barcelona
What are the main benefits of doing an internship abroad?
Boosting your CV
Future employers will be impressed if they see that you’ve done your internship abroad.
International experience & network
Who wouldn’t want to gain international experience from doing internship in another country and meeting people from all over the world?
Living abroad takes a lot of independence and resilience, both skills which employers look for in their employees.
Discover new cultures
If you want to work in a multinational company, then it’s important to develop your knowledge of people from different cultures from all over the world.
What is life like as a student in Barcelona?
The student culture in the city is unlike anywhere else, there is always something to see or do (or eat), making it the perfect place to embark on your study abroad journey. With it’s world-renowned universities, amazing weather, stunning scenery and vibrant nightlife, Barcelona is the dream city for any student!
Can I find paid internships and what is the average salary?
The salary range for internships and placements in Spain varies. If it is a mandatory part of your degree, it may well not be remunerated at all. However, this will completely depend on your individual internship. You also may be eligible for funding from an official body which will help you to cover your living expenses.
Bare in mind that a lot of internships in Spain are unpaid or offer very low payment of only a few hundred euros per month. However, as expected, wages and working conditions as an intern may vary from one industry to another.
Are you looking for an internship in Barcelona? Would you like to join an international team and gain valuable work experience for your future career? If the answer is yes, you’ve come to the right place! Many companies in Barcelona are constantly looking for ambitious and hard-working young internationals to join their team and make a difference. There are plenty of opportunities for interns to work in roles that match their educational path and professional interests. You can find a wide variety of internships in the following fields on our website.
What is the cost of living like in Barcelona?
Although the cost of living in Barcelona does tend to be more expensive than most Spanish cities (with the exception of Madrid), it’s still much cheaper than other popular study destinations such as New York, London and Paris.
It’s definitely possible to live on the cheaper side, but it all depends on the kind of lifestyle you want to have when you get here. When you first arrive in Barcelona you might think things seem much cheaper than other European countries, but then you factor in the fact that you’re earning less, your groceries start adding up and the rent prices are soaring, and all those things start to weigh up.
You can always save money by shopping at cheaper grocery stores like Día, Lidl and Mercadona.
Download the ‘Too Good To Go’ app and help fight food waste in Barcelona! Simply download and choose a goody bag of surplus food from your local supermarkets. The best thing about this app is that you won’t know exactly what’s in your order until you pick it up. Receive great food at great prices, and do your bit for the planet.
How much you pay for your accommodation will depend on how much you’re willing or able to spend, along with taking into factors such as the location and how many people you choose to share with.
We recommend purchasing the T-Jove ticket – a personalised travel card for under 25s which is valid for an unlimited number of journeys within 90 consecutive days from the first day of validation. This is also valid for Aeroport T1 and Aeroport T2 metro stations using line ‘L9 Sud’.
Barcelona Expat Life is offering discount codes from several companies to save you some money in your daily life.
How can I find accommodation?
As a student, one of your main priorities will probably be to have a great social life alongside your studies, so we would definitely recommend renting a room in shared accommodation as opposed to living by yourself. We would recommend finding short-term accommodation to avoid any potential problems such as not liking the area, or even worse, your flat mates. Your university may require you to study/learn from home so bear these things in mind when finding a place to live. Remember, the key is to do your research and not to rush into anything!
Our Top Tips
Relocating can be a daunting and stressful experience if you’re not organised, but with the help of our tips, it doesn’t need to be. Some of the things listed below will have more priority than others, so be mindful not to postpone getting your NIE/Social Security Number/Bank account so that you don’t have any problems before starting your internship.
Depending on where you’re moving from, the pace at which bureaucratic and administrative tasks get done in Barcelona may seem a little slow. Don’t expect to be able to open a bank account in a day, and getting an appointment for your NIE can seem to take forever. Things definitely aren’t instantaneous here.
We’ve created a simple and easy-to-follow checklist to help you kick-start your new life in Barcelona:
1. Arrange your NIE
If you are an EU resident, in order to get your NIE you can make an appointment (cita previa) at the Oficina de Extranjeros online. As there is a limited number of appointments allocated every week, it can be quite challenging to get one. Our advice would be to search for an appointment from 8:30am every day until you are successful. You can also contact an agency to help you get your NIE quickly and efficiently.
It might be handy to brush up on your Spanish or to go with someone who speaks the language, just in case the person issuing you your NIE speaks limited English.
2. Arrange your Social Security Number - You'll need this to access the healthcare system
To be able to register for public healthcare in Spain, you will first need to get a social security number. Once you have received your social security number take it to your local health centre to register and apply for a health card (tarjeta sanitaria individual or TSI).
The Primary Care Centers (Centers d’Atenció Primària or CAP) are the first point of access to health care in Barcelona, here you can book regular appointments with the General Practitioner (GP). The CatSalut will assign all citizens a specific CAP based on their address. However, if you require urgent medical care you should visit the Continuous and Urgent Care Center (Center d’Urgències d’Atenció Primària) which are open 24 hours a day, including weekends and public holidays.
If you are an expat living in Spain, it can be challenging to get your head around a different health system, and even more so if you don’t speak Spanish or Catalan. Fortunately, there are some great English-speaking doctors on hand to offer advice and treatment for your illnesses.
Private health insurance is a very popular option for many people, especially expats as you can decide whether you want to be seen to in English.
3. Take time finding the right accommodation
Particularly now, short term rental is the best option to begin with and the key is not to rush into anything. By finding short-term accommodation you avoid any potential problems such as not liking the area, or even worse, your flat mates.
Your internship may require you to work from home so bare these things in mind when finding a place to live. However, if you are required to go into the office or if you are keen on meeting new people, we recommend finding somewhere to live in the city centre.
4. Open a Spanish bank account
The requirements to opening a bank account in Spain varies per bank, with some not requiring you to already have a NIE, but you may need to show proof of some or all of the following:
- ID, such as a passport.
- A valid Spanish address.
- Your Número de Identificación de Extranjero (NIE).
- Proof of your employment status.
If you’re not fluent in Spanish, it’s probably a better idea to apply for a bank account in person to avoid possible misunderstandings.
5. Watch out for scammers and pickpockets - Especially in tourist spots
Overall, Barcelona is a very safe place to live but like most large cities, pickpockets are rife in Barcelona, especially in the main tourist attractions such as La Rambla and La Boqueria. If, despite all precautions, the worst happens and you need to report a crime, call 112 or go to any police station (Comisaría).
You also need to be wary of apartment scams when searching for accommodation, make sure you go and view the apartment and always get someone to look over your contract before signing anything.
6. Get social
7. Learn Spanish/Catalan
Learning the language is one of the best ways to fully immerse yourself in the culture. Although a lot of people in Barcelona do speak English, it can still be difficult to find fluent English speakers outside of the main tourist areas. While everyone speaks Spanish, the national language of Barcelona is Catalan. Catalan people value their language greatly and consider it the heart of their history and culture so it will be greatly appreciated if you learn a few sentences in Catalan. Why not check out Tandem events in Barcelona?
Is it easy to get a full-time contract after my internship?
This depends on the company, but there is definitely an internship culture in Barcelona. It is very common for interns to be offered a full-time position after their internship contract has come to an end, and some companies are specifically only looking for interns to fill certain positions.
What if you get in trouble?
Moving somewhere new means adjusting to a new culture and being surrounded by new experiences. If you have negative experiences in Barcelona, you have many resources for getting assistance. Especially as an intern and therefore a new and lower-level employee, you are vulnerable to negative treatment, so it is important to know your options. If you are doing your internship through your university, your first step may be to contact your university directly for next steps.