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.
Although the economic crisis and the impacts of Covid-19 may plant seeds of doubt about interning in Barcelona, the truth is that a lot of companies are trying to think out of the box by looking for new options to thrive in this difficult time; and they have turned to hiring young, fresh interns as a result. However, with an increase in competition for remote work and the amount of people wanting to do internships in Barcelona, young professionals must work harder than ever to make themselves stand out from the crowd.
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 potential candidates.
The economy in Spain has taken a hit after the economic crisis, and now with Covid-19 causing even more of a strain, this has made the hunt for an internship a little more challenging. In a competitive job market, young professionals need to work hard on developing skills that will make them employable and make their profile stand out. However, it’s not all doom and gloom as more and more companies are creating internship opportunities, particularly remote ones.
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. We also 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’.
Read more about the cost of living in our blog Cost of living in Barcelona.
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.
I am studying in Barcelona and I am looking for a part-time internship alongside my study, is this possible?
The answer to this question is yes. Most masters programs offer internships as a part of the course, or the university will help students to get one if the student expresses an interest. This is an option for all students who wish to get experience related to their studies. Internships can be full-time if the study schedule allows it and can be both paid and unpaid.
Failing this, as a student you are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week or full-time as long as your contract is for a maximum of 3 months. The key thing is that this kind of work does not interfere with your studies.
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.
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?
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.
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 because of the current travel restrictions in and out of the city.
Take advantage of Facebook groups to reach out to fellow expats, or to search for events near you in Barcelona. It’s also a great way to stay up to date regarding the latest Covid developments in Barcelona and you can ask for advice from other expats. Using social media to join groups with people from your home country will also definitely help to easy any feelings of homesickness and you can talk to people in your native language.
ESN (The Erasmus Student Network), is another site that provides a service for Erasmus students in most major European cities. Take advantage of the Barcelona ESN Page as it’s a great way to meet new people, find people to share accommodation with and find out about cool events in the city.
After Covid restrictions have been lifted and things start to go back to normal, if partying is what you’re into, you need to get on the ‘Shaz Guest List’. This gives you free entry to more than 30 parties every week to more than 15 of the best clubs in Barcelona.
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.
You can apply for a digital bank account, which can be opened in just a few minutes from your phone.
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.
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.
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:
Stories of interns in Barcelona
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.