Since last June, I have been interning at Pomilio Blumm in Alicante, Spain. Pomilio Blumm is a PR & Advertising agency; it is a very well-known company within the institutional field both at national and international level. I did the placement in the Spanish branch, because that is where the client I work for is located, the EUIPO (European Union Intellectual Property Office).
My main role within the agency is the Events Coordinator. It is not as simple as it may sound, because organising events that meet the high-quality expectations requires a lot of skill and responsibility. Here are a few of the tasks I complete within my role: I create a registration link, organise facilities and services like decor, catering, transportation, list of participants, speakers and moderators, audio-visual equipment, promotional material, etc.
At present, I am working from home due to the current global situation. I still organise the events, but the difference is that now they take place online. Remote working turned out to be an enrichment of my work placement because I became very familiar with technology such as Zoom, Teams, Meet, etc., which I did not use much before and will be useful in the future.
Why I decided to do a placement year
When applying to university, I did not know about the possibility of doing a placement year during my studies or what it meant, because there is no such thing in the country I come from. I was very excited when I learnt about it because it looked like an interesting opportunity to diversify my degree course and enhance my employability.
The main point of consideration when deciding where to do my placement year was the relevance of Pomilio Blumm within the PR field all over Europe, as well as the ongoing project with the EUIPO, which sounded very interesting. The location made the job position even more appealing, as I always knew about the warmth and friendliness of Spanish people, not to mention their delicious food, amazing weather and the cultural heritage of the country.
Life outside of work
Within the workplace, I had the opportunity to meet many open-minded and inspiring people, from different cultural and educational backgrounds, young professionals to senior officers of the European Union. I made many friends from the very beginning and so was able to enjoy the typical Spanish active lifestyle even on weekdays, after work with them 😊
If you followed my previous experiences, such as the study exchange in NYC, you will know how much I love basketball. Well, I am happy to tell you that even here I got a chance to support the local team and one of my closest friends happens to be the Assistant Coach of the Alicante Basketball Club. I convinced my other friends to come and watch a game with me and they enjoyed it so much that it became a tradition on Friday nights!
On weekends, I travelled with my friends around Spain, visiting Barcelona, Valencia, Malaga, and many other lovely towns not too far from Alicante, such as Denia, Altea, Torrevieja.
Support from Leeds Beckett
The university Placement & Study Abroad Teams have both been very supportive throughout the whole placement experience.
Before the placement began, they provided me with all practical information so that I would be ready to start with no worries. During the actual placement, the team have been checking on me regularly, ensuring that my experience was going well and smooth, asking if I was happy with the job and the overall environment surrounding me. Their support has been extremely precious, especially over the last two months, during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Looking back at my experience
This experience has been great for my personal and professional development.
Professionally, I was able to get a real taste of what my dream job would be like and I could test and apply the skills and knowledge acquired during my first two years of study at Leeds Beckett. By the end of the year, I can say that I felt independent within the workplace, and I found the career path I would like to follow, after graduating.
In addition, the placement was a way to challenge myself once again. Even though I had already experienced living abroad when coming to Leeds and then going to NYC, it was a bit difficult moving to a new place, getting used to new environments, and of course entering the adulthood through such a job. But after a while, even the language barrier disappeared. Before moving to Alicante, all I could say in Spanish were just some basic expressions, and now I am able to have work conversations in Spanish!
I will never forget the anxiety the night before my first event on placement. The panic on the first pitch and the thrill of interacting with important people working for the EU. I will miss having paella for lunch at 3pm, endless nights dancing to Latino music, hikes and picnics on top of the mountains and watching the sunset on the beach. I think you can tell how happy I am with the outcome of this experience and how much I recommend others to do a placement year, especially abroad. If I had to make my choice again about taking this opportunity, I would do it again no doubt!
My placement is almost over, I only have about a month left and I will be back in Leeds in September for my final year. I will miss Alicante, my job and all my irreplaceable friends, but I am excited for the rest of my time here at Leeds Beckett and to apply the knowledge I learnt on placement to my course.