Use Your Passport to Your Advantage

My Passport Made My Diploma More Valuable

My story about how my internship abroad allowed me to land my dream job back home.

“Coming back to the states I had a better vision of what it is I wanted to do and what I have yet to do in order to someday earn the position I’ve always dreamt of.”

Gisel Olivares enjoying the weekends to travel since Madrid is so centrally located.

Gisel Olivares enjoying the weekends to travel since Madrid is so centrally located.

Thanks to PINC, I learned you have to use your passport to your advantage, here’s how…

I graduated last April with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and Mass Communication, having completed a track in Public Relations from Florida International University. The only work experience I had by that point was two retail positions at two major chain stores, a sales associate position at a cupcake shop, and one graphic design internship. It was difficult for me to find paid internship opportunities throughout my time in college, and I could not afford to work for free. With my parents struggling to put my brother and me through college, the last thing I could consider was my job experience.

After graduating college and having returned from a much needed break I found myself without a job and without any prospective jobs. How was it possible that after my four years of sacrificing sleep, time, and energy I could not find a job within my own field of study? Almost everything I found was either unpaid or required experience. I did not understand how employers would expect me to have work experience in my field if I wasn’t even given a chance to obtain that experience in the first place. Feeling defeated and frustrated I was left completely disillusioned. It’s like the past four years had been for nothing.

Eventually, thanks to a family friend, I was able to land a position that had nothing to do with what I studied. A job is a job I thought, and once again I felt like I had no other choice but to go ahead and take it. I had my undergraduate loans to pay off and day-to-day expenses to take care of, so I did what any reasonable person would and I decided to give it a chance. I held the position of an Administrative Assistant at a college conveniently located near my home, where I started working last August from your typical 9 to 6 schedule. It was alright, I became close to my co-workers as I tend to do in all the jobs I’ve had, and I gave my all to everything I did. But, I wasn’t happy. December of last year I decided to look into internships once again to see if I could find something different. I had read about PINC internship, an internship abroad program that is female-focused, in the past and decided to look more into it. The fact that the founder of the company was a sorority sister alum made me feel more at ease about talking to her and explaining to her what I was looking to get out of the experience. She was supportive and really listened to my concerns and goals. She talked to me about internship options and they all sounded perfect for me, so I finally decided to go for it. I needed a change in my life and this was it. A summer interning in sunny Madrid! This was my chance to break free of what I felt “I had to do” and just do something for me for a change.

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In the meantime, the department I was working for was closed down, but luckily I was given the opportunity to take the position of Direction of First Impressions (a fancy title for Front Desk Assistant) at another campus, not too far from my home. With the money I earned from this job I saved up for my approaching summer escapade. When the time finally arrived to leave for my PINC adventure I knew that when I came back everything would be different in my life for the better, and that I too would be a changed woman. The experience I gained as a Marketing Assistant for Ebualá media in Madrid in the six short weeks I was with the company helped me better comprehend what it is I wanted to do with my life and career. To be happy, travel, eat good food, spend quality time with family and friends, and write.

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         Coming back to the states I had a better vision of what it is I wanted to do and what I have yet to do in order to someday earn the position I’ve always dreamt of. My greatest aspiration career-wise for a long time has been to become an Editor-in-Chief and now I’ve added another career option to the list: Senior Copywriter. I wasted no time sending out my resume to different marketing and creative agencies in order to continue building up my experience in this competitive field. Within just a week and a half back in the country I landed two internship opportunities, one of which is now my part time job. I work as a Copywriter Intern at Venue Magazine in downtown Miami and as a Executive and Marketing Assistant at M2 Brands Inc.

Just with simply saying that I interned in Madrid at a boutique marketing agency completely in Spanish and that I also have the same capabilities in English thanks to my bachelor’s degree I was quickly able to land these two positions. My internship in Madrid also helped me build up my portfolio, so I had more than just a degree to show for what I know how to do and am capable of doing. I may have been able to intern anywhere else in Miami or the world, but the PINC program gave me the confidence I needed to believe in myself that much more. It gave me the push I needed out of my comfort zone in order to see things from a different perspective and regroup how I approached my goals. The workshops that we participated in during our last week of the program also helped me organize my thoughts, my desires, and help me focus on what it is I now need to do in order to be the successful, independent woman I know I can be. Learning from a different culture, how they work, and how they think helped my diploma become that much more valuable to me, and future employer.

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Next Madrid Internship Program:

June 11, 2016 – August 6, 2016

Apply Here

About the Author:

My name is Gisel Olivares and I am currently an online graduate student via the University of Florida pursuing a Master of Arts in Mass Communication with a specialization in Web Design and Online Communication. I was raised in New York City and I moved to Miami at the age of 18 where I completed my Bachelor of Science in Journalism and Mass Communication with a track in Public Relations at Florida International University. One of my many passions as you can tell is writing, as well as traveling. Other than my place of birth, the Dominican Republic, I was lucky enough to have traveled to Niagara Falls, Madrid, San Sebastian (in Spain), Bordeaux, and Paris. When I found out about the PINC program and that the founder and CEO was my sorority sister I knew I needed to sign right up and go for it. I was missing some real hands-on experience in my field of study, and kicking myself out of the country was the best thing I could’ve ever done.

I got to intern at Ebualá media in Madrid, a boutique marketing agency that I absolutely loved and enjoyed working at everyday. Up to this day, I can confidently say that that has been my best work experience yet. The people there understood and taught me so much and for that I am forever grateful to them and, most importantly, Lisette for making it all possible. Since I’ve been back from Madrid I’ve landed two internship positions, one of which is officially my part time job. I am a copywriter intern at Venue magazine, and an Executive and Marketing Assistant for yet another boutique marketing agency, M2 Brands Inc. Now to be able to write about my experiences within and out of Madrid for you all is something I am so happy to be doing. Being granted the opportunity to mix my passion for traveling with writing is yet something else I have Lisette to be grateful for.

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