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This is what our interns have to say! Part 1

Photo courtesy of Rafe

Rafe is working at Estación Biológica de Donaña as a Researcher Assistant: Between the work aspect of my internship at Estación Biológica de Donaña, exploring Seville and weekend excursions to the surrounding area, there is a lot to reflect on as we approach the halfway point of our internship. I have thoroughly enjoyed the wide variety in my work; being split between field work of plant surveys and bird ringing, then also getting to do some really interesting lab work where I am analysing the faecal pellets of ringed birds to gain insight into their diet, specially the insects and fruit species that they are eating. I have also been enjoying day to day life in Sevile, spending a lot of time in the Alameda where everyone is eating and drinking out and has a really nice vibe.

Although I have thoroughly enjoyed all my time in Seville, my highlight of the internship has to be either being in Doñana natural park, a 53,000-acre reserve which only a handful of people are allowed access, or my time spend in weekends away to the pumping surf spot El Palmar de Vejer. Doñana has been a fantastic experience through spending time in total nature where I have seen some incredible wildlife including flamingos, red kites, vultures, tortoises, cool bugs and a mongoose, and I hope to camp out in with EBDs permission at some point. My other highlight comes from my weekend trips with the group to El Palmar which provides some of the best surf in Europe! A particular highlight of my 2 trips was waking up early on the first morning for dawn patrol and catching the first light over the ocean with the sound of roosters and misty air rising up from the water followed by a great session and a tostada and beer.

Photo courtesy of Rafe

My advice for future interns would be to try and make contact with the person on your internship currently as they can offer some great tips about specific equipment and clothing that might be useful for your work. As well as this my advice would be to have an idea of the excursions and trips that you are interested in going once here before you arrive so that you can begin to find like-minded people interested in excursions as soon as you’re in Brighton! Daisy is working as an English Teacher at Sarah English School: I feel incredibly privileged to have been chosen to take part in this internship and life in Seville has surpassed all expectations. I’m enjoying having a warm “winter” and getting a real feel for what it’s like to live and work out here. I also feel I am gaining such valuable experience teaching English as a foreign language at Sarah English. One of the highlights so far has been the Intercambio / language exchange evenings. Here I meet local people as well as other Erasmus students and visitors, and get to practise my Spanish. I love the friendly atmosphere and it’s a great chance to catch up with people from B3ST too. I’m also really enjoying the Spanish lessons which are organised for us and am making the most of having extra tuition available. The food out here is also another massive highlight for me! I’m enjoying finding restaurants, which are popular with the locals, where I can try traditional Andalusian tapa dishes, as well as South American fare. In addition, I have made the most of the shopping out here! I love browsing in small the independent clothes and food shops, and wandering around the weekly markets. You can pick up gorgeous new and second hand pieces and delicious locally sourced or made produce. So far I have been on one weekend trip away. I few of us rented a house just off El Palmar beach (South of Cadiz). It was great to get out of the city and see what some of the rest of Andalusia is like. It was warm enough to surf, sunbathe and generally enjoy being outdoors in nature. As there was a stables really nearby I went horse riding along the beach on a pure Andalusian horse with a traditional saddle, which made for a magical experience. In the evening we all watched the sunset, with a beer in hand, from one of the beachside bars. Next time I go I’ll hire a surfboard as I’m keen to try and catch some waves and hope to go hiking in the Los Alcornocales Natural Park which is fairly close by. Other weekend away options for the next couple of months are: Cadiz for the festival, Grenada and the Alhambra (which I have been told is a must see), Jerez de la Frontera to see more horses, sherry and flamenco. Oh and I would love to see Cordoba too! There’s really too many to list!

Photo courtesy of Daisy

This placement will open more doors than you’ll realise as it’s such a rich experience. Brighton Third Sector Training are a fantastic organisation to apply for the Erasmus placement though too. I’m amazed at how much they and the team at 3Si go above and beyond to make sure you’re not just ok, but happy and supported. If, like me you’d never lived in a city before, then you shouldn’t feel too daunted by living in Seville. It’s big enough to have to lots going on but not too big you feel overwhelmed. Additionally, you’ll get great experience from your work placement and hopefully some valuable references too! Callum is working at Third Sector International as a Project Coordinator Assistant: Overall my experience of Seville so far has been amazing. I have been learning so much about the city, the culture and the history through my work as an assistant project coordinator for 3SI. I am researching events and things to do in the city and around for the college and graduate groups. I then produce posters and newsletters informing them and organise and run events around the city. Living in Seville is fantastic. It is amazing being able to cycle and walk everywhere and you feel very safe. The old city centre is stunningly beautiful with its mix of different architectures from over the centuries. I have loved meeting loads of different people and sharing memories and experiences.

On top of Las Setas/ Photo courtesy of Callum
View from my flat's balcony/ Photo courtesy of Callum

My highlight of the internship so far has been the flamenco night that I organised. We stayed for two performances as the first one was very busy and we were right at the back. The second performance we were right at the front and it was a totally different experience. It was very entrancing, captivating and mesmerising how the music, the singing and the dancing build into a crescendo of pain and passion. I really started to understand the Sevillian and Andalusian mentality after watching it. Afterwards we went to El Rinconcillo which is the oldest bar in Seville and had very tasty tapas, my favourite being the spinach and chickpea, which as a vegetarian in Spain, is a godsend. I would recommend going to Granada for a weekend trip. The Alhambra is one of the most stunning places I have ever visited and had a very profound impact on me when I went. The palace set in front of the mountains and the most beautiful peaceful gardens. It was like heaven on earth, which is what they were going for! To get into the palace we had to either book the tickets far in advance, as it’s the most visited attraction in Spain, or book the tickets on their website the night before with tickets that have been given back in. The experience of waiting at midnight and furiously clicking on the website to get them in time was a stressful but rewarding one. The might be many people in Granada and the Alhambra but they are there for a good reason: beautiful palace and gardens, flamenco, proper tapas that come with your drink so you don’t need to pay for food seperately. What more could you want from a weekend?

Lunch spot on the river/ Photo courtesy of Callum
3Si Office

For future interns, I'd say that read up as much as you can about Seville and the surrounding area. Don’t bring too much stuff as you can get it here if you really need it and you want to bring stuff back! Learn as much Spanish as you can every day and keep going while you’re here! Be open to new experiences and ideas and try new things!

View from Torre del Oro/ Photo courtesy of Callum

To be continued in Part 2

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