Student Interview: Internships in the Sports Sector
Here we bring you another student interview on our Internship programs. Despite the pandemic, two of our students from the U.S. stayed in Spain to complete their internship placements and seized the opportunity grow in their respective fields of Sports Marketing and International Business. If it is something you are interested in taking up in the future, then the information they divulge could be extra useful for you!
We interviewed Caroline from Washington D.C. and Aaron from Los Angeles about their sports internship placements with Villarreal CF, an elite football club based in Valencia.
Why did you choose an Internship in Spain?
I have always had an immense passion for sports and love traveling. I searched for an internship experience that would add value to my desired career choice, Sports Marketing, while immersing myself in a completely different culture in a new country. – Aaron
During the quarantine period, I came across an internship opportunity in Spain, which happened to have the option of being carried out in person or remotely. I was eager to have the possibility of working remotely, as it was uncertain if I would be able to come to Spain from where I was currently living in Lisbon, Portugal. – Caroline
Why did you want to pursue an Internship with Villarreal CF?
I took this internship in order to really comprehend how the football industry works and to have the opportunity to expand my knowledge in this particular field. I am constantly inspired by how Villarreal truly embodies its motto ‘Endavant’ – to keep going forward. Throughout the club’s rich history, Villarreal has proved time and time again that it has a fighting spirit with an unwavering determination to never give up. This energy is palpable throughout the organisation and I feel incredibly honoured to have the opportunity to be a small part of it. – Caroline
The opportunity came up where I was guaranteed placement at a prestigious club like Villarreal CF and it was an automatic no-brainer for me. Being a fanatic of the Mexican National football team, I followed the journey of Gio and Jonathon Dos Santos during their time at Villarreal CF. I was aware of the tremendous club Villarreal CF is and it was a dream come true when I was accepted as an intern.
The main reason I came to intern at Villarreal C.F. was to gain International Marketing experience that will help me in my sports marketing journey back in the USA. Working for a prestigious club like Villarreal CF in one of the world’s top football leagues like La Liga, will only bolster my chances of getting my dream job. I would love to work in marketing in any of the USA’s major sports leagues including NBA, NFL, MLS and MLB. – Aaron
Did you enjoy living in Spain and experiencing the culture?
Now that I have spent half a year here in Europe, I have fallen in love with the culture and could see myself spending a little more time here before I return home. I recently started contemplating doing a Masters in Sports management in Europe. I am not sure what decision I will take but I would like to keep all my options open. Spain was a beautiful country to live in and I am surely going to miss it! – Aaron
Aside from my visits to the Villarreal headquarters, I also was able to spend some time in the charming city of Valencia. I was fortunate enough to have met a group of locals who made me feel right at home immediately and who even treated me to a huge traditional, homemade paella meal! Valencia is an incredibly vibrant city, full of lively individuals and an abundance of activities that make it quite easy to make friends. I loved my visit so much that I made the decision to move to Valencia for the remainder of my internship! – Caroline
How did COVID-19 affect the program?
I came to Spain in February 2020 and after working in Valencia for one month, the entire country shifted into lockdown. One of the benefits of interning online is the easy accessibility to your manager. They are more likely to view and respond to your questions instantly since everyone was working remotely during this time period. Easy accessibility leads towards more productive and meaningful discussions. Being able to work from a place of comfort, like your home, allows for a greater level of concentration and flexibility which in return affects your overall work. All of the Villarreal CF team communicated constantly during quarantine, so I felt like my program continued despite the global situation. – Aaron
Since travel bans were lifted, I had the opportunity to come to Valencia and Vila-real during the month of July from Lisbon. While I had already researched a great deal about Villarreal CF, having the chance to actually tour the facilities, see the training grounds and meet with the people who I had been working with was simply a surreal experience! I feel incredibly fortunate to have this opportunity to work for a major European football club, which was enhanced by the welcoming environment that the staff created during my time there. Even though we had to wear masks at all times, keep social distance from all players and training staff, and work in a strict office environment in terms of COVID-19 regulations, I still really enjoyed my time in Spain and felt safe during my placement experience. – Caroline
What kind of responsibilities did you have in your Internship position?
When I first began my internship, I spent a few weeks working on research projects. From there, I started to get involved with a variety of long-term projects involving communications and international business, both individually and with fellow interns. All of the projects have definitely expanded my knowledge of international football and are helping me develop valuable skills that will certainly be applicable to any career that I choose to pursue in the future. – Caroline
A majority of my projects involve working closely with our International Marketing Department in creating trendy and stylish graphics for our official social media platforms. For example, I have created graphics to celebrate our top ten Villarreal CF legends and created flyers and brochures for our global youth football academies. Each graphic I create improves gradually as I receive tips and feedback to improve design. I have also done market research such as comparing and contrasting LinkedIn profiles of La Liga, NBA, NFL and MLS sport teams in order to improve our official LinkedIn page. One of my most exciting projects was the managing of our official Villarreal CF Africa Instagram page! – Aaron
Any advice for someone who would like to take an international internship like you have done?
Go for it! You have nothing to lose. Working overseas is definitely not an easy feat, but it will teach you a tremendous amount of skills that will be extremely valuable when going to pursue a job in today’s multicultural work environment.
I highly recommend learning the language of the country and a host family is the best way to do this! My family spoke NO English and so I was completely immersed into the language and the culture. Living with a host family will also provide you with insider knowledge on the best places in the city and surrounding areas, and of course will facilitate in your quest of understanding the culture of that specific country. – Caroline
I would say “what are you waiting for!” I would not only look at it as an internship placement but also as an investment opportunity. This is an investment in your professional career that will only pay dividends in the long run. You are setting yourself up for success by doing an internship abroad! – Aaron