Student-Athletes Abroad Mariah Ross, Women's volleyball

This summer, Lindenwood women's volleyball player Mariah Ross had the opportunity to study abroad in Spain with the program Student Athletes Abroad. During her internship, she took pictures and notes of her experience. Below is her summer in her words:

Student Athletes Abroad was the program I went through to get my internship. This program is an international education program designed to remove barriers that prevent student-athletes from studying or interning abroad while using sport as a vehicle to increase cultural immersion and maximize educational opportunities!

Ross in front of Palacio Real de Madrid

Interns in Valencia are fully immersed in their work environment, completing both self-directed projects and assisting with day-to-day operations at their respective companies. The Student Athletes Abroad staff works to advise us on the options available, and match all of us with an internship based on academic and professional interests. We also had ample opportunities to train while abroad, with a gym membership and time to play pick-up games with local teams. Student Athletes Abroad even arranged one weekend excursion for the entire group to explore one of Spain’s most historic cities (Madrid).

I interned with a company called Bounsel- a start-up founded by Pilar Prados and Marcos Sanz in December of 2018. Bounsel is a contract management company that gives other companies the chance to create, draft, negotiate, review, sign, and manage their contracts in an easier more efficient way. Having an internship at Bounsel gave me numerous opportunities that has not only helped me evolve, but also, helped me become more diverse. I was not only nervous to be working with a company outside of the U.S., but nervous to be working in a culture and environment I’m not used to being in. Pilar and Madalina, another intern from the U.K., helped my transition into the new environment go very smoothly. I was surrounded by people who were hard working and as eager to help better the company which made me feel even more welcome. Working with Bounsel has helped me gain experience in my degree field, International Business, which will increase my opportunities in my future career. Some of the tasks I was responsible for were: Assistance in the design and development of B2B online marketing campaigns, analysis and follow up of KPIs, collaboration with blog development (content, editing, writing), management and organization of networking events and assistance with PR duties (i.e. press notes, social media posts)

Ross visiting Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, home of Real Madrid CF.

During my time interning in Spain, I was also able to travel to help increase my cultural experience. I was able to travel to Madrid, Barcelona, Toledo, and Ibiza. It was an amazing experience traveling to each destination and experiencing the different cultures and atmosphere in each place

From the Mercado de San Miguel

The Madrid trip was a planned trip during our first weekend there with everyone in the program. We stayed in a hostel which was a first for me and was in interesting experience; luckily, we didn’t have to stay with any strangers. After arriving to Madrid and getting settled in, we took a quick tour of the sites around our hostel so we know where to get a quick bite and explore. I went to get food at the Mercado de San Miguel and it was an amazing experience. There was so much food there: fresh seafood, tapas, empanadas, , and everything I tried was delicious. The atmosphere kind of reminded me of a farmer’s market, which is very popular in the U.S. After we ate, we walked through Madrid to go site-seeing and shopping. We ended up going to the Palacio de Cibeles, we went to the top floor and was able to see all of Madrid. The view was amazing and just so pretty.

View from the top of Palacio de Cibeles.

On our way back from Madrid we stopped in Toledo which was more of historical type of site. The tour wasn’t as fun, but we were able to see an amazing view.

Ross overlooking the city of Toledo.

Barcelona was just a day trip- For our first destination we went to see Casa Batllo. I can say, it does look more beautiful in pictures, but it was neat to see. Next, we walked through Ciutadella Park to see the Arco de Triunfo de Barcelona. It was really nice and I was able to get great pictures. We then explored La Sagrada Familia, which was also very interesting and nice to see. We then walked up this very large hill to see where the Olympics were held in 1920, on the way there we we’re able to walk through these beautiful gardens and witness beautiful flowers and an amazing outlook of the city. After seeing the Olympic Stadium, we walked through Parc de Montjuic. It was a very large park, but it was very pretty and I enjoyed seeing it. For lunch we went to Mercado de La Boqueria, which was amazing. There was so many food options and I was able to get some delicious empanadas and freshly squeezed juice. After lunch, our last place to visit was Park Guell, which was another beautiful park with an amazing view of Barcelona.

Enjoying Spanish Gelato

My last week in Spain was spent traveling to Ibiza. The water there was so clear and pretty, something I’m not used to seeing because all I see when I’m home is the Mississippi River. In Ibiza we spent time on the beach near our hostel, took a boat tour to see the top 2 beaches on the island and to go snorkeling and explored the nightlife.

We had a free day and decided to pull together a group of us to go on a Hot Springs tour right outside of Valencia. On the tour we went to a beautiful waterfall (Bridal Veil Waterfall), the Blue Lagoon hot springs (which wasn’t warm at all) where we were able to swim and see a cave and go cliff jumping, and then we ended our tour seeing the Pony Tail Geyser, the dam, and the canyons surrounding it.

Overall, my internship in Spain was an amazing professional and personal experience that will aid me in my future endeavors. My major is International Business so this was a perfect opportunity I couldn’t pass up. The Student Athletes Abroad Program is an amazing and easy/manageable opportunity for student-athletes to study abroad and get credit for it. I will forever cherish the time I spent in Spain, and hopefully will be back in the future.

San Juan Bonfire Festival (Noche de San Juan) – Celebration of the coming of summer and San Juan- everyone gets together at the beaches Malvarossa and Arenal to make bonfires and party all night

For for information on Student Athletes Abroad, click here

To learn about Lindenwood Study Abroad, click here

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