Thousands of students and professionals across the globe dream of acquiring work experience in Spain. If you are one of them, you may opt for an internship. In fact, Spain welcomes every year thousands of interns wishing to benefit of its various professional opportunities while discovering a new lifestyle. Above all, you are advised to enquire about the local labor market, internship terms and conditions, as well as the cost of living in the country.
Though the cost of living in Spain is lower compared to neighbuoring countries, it remains a key point to consider in the absence of any official regulations regarding remuneration for trainees. You must, therefore, make sure to have sufficient funds to support yourself for the duration of your stay in the country.
Good to know:
You do not need professional visa or work permit to be able to do an internship in Spain. However, all foreign nationals performing an unpaid internship or voluntary work, or having registered for a more than 90 days' training course must be in possession of an appropriate long stay visa. Application must be made at the nearest Spanish embassy or consulate to your place of residence. Note that this requirement does not apply to European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Swiss nationals. Finally, all foreign trainee have to register with their region's foreigners register or at the nearest police station to their place of residence.
Types of internships
Internships in Spain are known as “practicas”or “becarios”. In general, these are curriculum integrated training courses leading to graduation. In fact, most university courses include a work placement module in order to allow students to gain necessary experience before joining the labour market. Hence, Spain offers two types of internships: student internships and graduate internships.
Student internships are regulated by an agreement (convenio) between the university and the company, which wants to offer an internship to the student through a "Programa de Cooperación Educativa". Thus, the student is not considered as an employee, and therefore it will not be remunerated. But the company may offer compensation to the trainee. Moreover, the trainee is supported by the students’ social security scheme in case of an accident.
As regards graduate internship, there is no regulation to date. Hence, graduates are free to apply for an internship in a company of their choice. They can also go through training agreements, which are offered, by their university and a company. Internships are not remunerated but trainees may still be eligible for a scholarship. Moreover, trainees may also receive a "Contrato de Prácticas", which is a probationary contract at the discretion of their employer. Hence, they will be remunerated and will have to contribute to the social security system. Note that this type of internship must have a duration of six months to two years.
How to find an internship in Spain
There are different ways to find an internship in Spain. First of all, you can spot a few companies based in the country and send them spontaneous applications as you would have proceeded to find a job. You can also check out internship offers on general and specialized websites or seek the assistance of a hiring or internship agency such as the Fundación Universidad/Empresa (FUE).
Good to know:
In case you cannot take part in a university agreement, ask if you could complete the internship as a freelance (autónomo). During the first 6 months registration fees as a freelance in Spain are very affordable at 50 EUR per month, which can be an attractive alternative.
Things an intern should know
Most internships in Spain are unpaid or remunerated between 200-500 EUR per month. You can find placements part time up to 20 hours per week or full time up to 40 hours per week. Most companies will prefer students that can be hired via a convenio (agreement) with a local university for up to six months.
The current job situation in Spain has encouraged companies to hire “cheap” interns and in some fields such as marketing you often find more interns than regular employees. It is also very common to work as an intern in your 30’s in Spain to avoid being unemployed and “get your foot into” a career. Unfortunately most Spanish students have to do two or three internships to gain sufficient work experience that will help them get a “proper” job afterwards.
Also, don’t expect intense training or much of an induction - smaller companies tend to go for a “just do it” attitude and expect you to figure things out by yourself. You will work much more independently and, after working at a company for 6 months, you may be responsible for the same workload as other employees.
Opcion Empleo www.opcionempleo.com
Spain Internship www.spain-internship.com
Go Abroad www.goabroad.com
Students Go Abroad www.studentsgoabroad.org