How to intern in Spain as students or graduates

An internship abroad in Spain will kickstart your career abroad. Read where and how you can get an internship in Spain.


6 minute read
Updated on 25 Jul 2023

There’re many reasons to look for an internship in Spain, whether it’s a requirement of your degree, a stepping stone to a full-time career, or just because you want to experience living in Spain. Before you begin applying, you should prepare yourself for the strict guidelines that Spain has set for international students or graduates who want to intern.

Use this guide to understand why students like to intern in Spain, what documents you need, where you can intern and for how long, what the pay is like, and how to get a job after your internship.

Reasons to intern in Spain

  1. You’ll get to intern with no language barrier if you work for an international company that uses English.
  2. The major Spanish cities house plenty of international companies which offer internships and jobs for English speakers.
  3. You’ll get to live and work in a country that offers warm weather, historical marvels, natural beauty, architectural wonders, finger-licking food, and rich culture and traditions.
  4. You can learn and practice Spanish by immersing yourself in the local culture.
  5. You’ll experience a new work culture and walk away with international work experience and various transferable skills such as adaptability, cultural communication, problem-solving, and more.

Do I need a visa to intern in Spain?

While there’s no ‘internship visa’ in Spain, you either need a student visa or a residence authorisation for internships to intern in Spain.

Non-EU students who want to intern in Spain need a valid student visa.

Graduates residing in Spain or abroad and students in Spain wanting to extend their student visa need to request residence authorisation for internships. This authorisation has to be requested by the company and is usually considered approved if there’s no response from the government after 30 days.

On the other hand, students or graduates from EU or EEA countries don't need a visa to legally stay and work in Spain.

What types of internships can I do in Spain?

You can do 2 types of internships (practicas) in Spain. 1. Curricular internship (student internship) 2. Extracurricular internship (graduate internship)

A curricular internship's a requirement for graduating from university.

  • It needs to match your academic field.
  • Is meant to add valuable work experience before you join the labour market.
  • It’ll contribute to your grades (ECTS).
  • You, your educational institute and the host company need to agree on the learning goals by signing a learning agreement (convenio).
  • Typically lasts 2 to 6 months. Cannot exceed 1 year.

An extracurricular internship is a voluntary internship for students who’ve graduated not more than 2 years ago.

  • The internship needs to be in your academic field.
  • Needs to have a learning objective even though it won’t affect grades.
  • You’ll need to have an internship contract signed by you, the host company, and in some cases your last educational institute.
  • Typically lasts 6 to 12 months. Cannot exceed 2 years.

Where can I find an internship in Spain?

You can find an internship in most of the big cities in Spain as they’re popular with both expats and international companies.

In general, you can find jobs in tourism, hospitality, wine industry, or teaching all over Spain. But each of Spain’s vibrant cities is also known for different industries and unique cultures. To find the best city for your needs, spend some time thinking about where you should intern.

Madrid and Barcelona tend to have more expat-friendly internships as these are the biggest cities in Spain.

Some of the top cities for internships in Spain for English speakers are Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia.

1. Internship: Madrid

Madrid's a magnet for multinational companies from various industries as it is Spain’s capital and largest city. This is great for international students or graduates looking for internships or placements in Madrid.

The city's especially known for business management, marketing, finance, medicine, hospitality and government or public service roles. You’ll also find plenty of NGOs where you can intern. 5 Companies where you can find internship opportunities for English speakers include Amazon, Airbus, TripAdvisor, Procter & Gamble, and Morgan Stanley.

In addition to the internship opportunities, Madrid continues to attract interns because the city offers plenty to do in the evenings and weekends. You can enjoy stellar nightlife, amazing architecture and art, bustling streets, a fast-moving culture, famous museums, and tasty food.

If Madrid is your chosen destination for an internship, take your time to find your ideal room or apartment in a neighbourhood that is close to your workplace. If it’s not within walking distance, you can take public transport to make your commute quick, inexpensive and on time.

2. Internship: Barcelona

Barcelona's one of the best cities to live in Spain. Many international students pick Barcelona because of the city’s culture, universities, sunny weather, gorgeous coastline along the Mediterranean, the internationality of the city and the various work opportunities for English speakers__.

As an intern, you can look forward to working in the fields of business, architecture, healthcare, arts, design and innovation, hospitality, tourism, and human rights. Some of the best international companies in Barcelona for an internship include SAP, Swarovski, Ferrero, Merkle, and HP.

Barcelona's also a hub for entrepreneurs and innovators. So if working at a start-up is one of your goals, then Barcelona is going to be the perfect place.

If you decide to intern in Barcelona, you’ll be happy to know that Barcelona’s neighbourhoods are some of the best in the entire country for young expats. All neighbourhoods are also well connected by Barcelona’s public transport.

3. Internship in Valencia

Valencia is one of Spain’s major cities that is a paradise. In Valencia, you’ll not only find various international companies looking for English speaking employees but also many expats to make you feel at home, parks within the city, and beaches all around. One of the top reasons to do an internship in Valencia is that the city has a lower cost of living than Madrid or Barcelona, making it perfect for students on a budget.

Some of the top internship fields in Valencia are arts, sciences, business, tourism, education, trade, and financial services.

Once you’ve found yourself an opportunity here, you’ll have the option to live in some stunning Valencian neighbourhoods which are all well-connected with public transport.

How can I get an internship in Spain?

Some of the most common and trusted ways to get an internship in Spain are through:

  1. University career centres. They promote internships and can guide you through the process.
  2. Erasmus internships or work placements promoted on the official Erasmus website.
  3. Third-party organisations that promote internships and help you through the application process (be careful though!).
  4. Self-application directly through the company’s website.
  5. Job sites such as LinkedIn, Indeed, LocalES, Go Overseas, etc.
  6. Good old networking.

What documents do I need to do an internship in Spain?

In order to apply for an internship in Spain, the following documents need to be presented:

  1. Original and copy of valid passport.
  2. A valid student visa or graduation certificate proving, at the time of application, you graduated within the last 2 years.
  3. A filled-in Modelo EX04 if you need residence authorisation for internships.
  4. Medical certificate to prove you don’t pose a threat to the public (for some nationalities only).
  5. Valid public or private health insurance in Spain.
  6. A criminal record certificate from your country of origin or your place of residence for the past 5 years.
  7. A NIE number and social security code for those doing a paid internship. Or proof of funds for those doing unpaid internships.
  8. A signed internship learning agreement or internship contract outlining the nature and duration of internship, supervisor, learning objectives, etc.

How much do internships pay in Spain?

Interns in Spain are often not paid if they’re doing a curricular or study internship as the goal is to learn and not earn money. However, they may receive compensation for lunch, transport, etc. from the company.

This's not to say there aren’t any paid internships in Spain for English speakers. Interns in Spain who are doing a graduate internship or have signed an internship contract will receive a few hundred euros per month. To give you some context, the minimum wage is €8.45 per hour or minimum monthly salary in Spain in 2023 is €1,260.

How much money do I need when interning in Spain?

The good thing is that Spain's pocket friendly for most international or local students. Spain’s living costs are relatively low compared to other EU countries. Typically, students need around €1,000 per month for rent, transport, food, health insurance, and leisure if they live in big cities like Barcelona. In smaller cities like Valencia or Granada, the average monthly cost of living for students is €850.

Where can I stay during my internship in Spain?

You can find your new student room, studio or apartment in Spain depending on where the office is located. To help you out, we’ve already created some neighbourhood guides for the top cities in Spain:

  • Barcelona. The average rent for a student room in Barcelona is €600.
  • Valencia. The average rent for a student room in Valencia is €550.
  • Málaga. The average rent for a student room in Malaga is €500.
  • Madrid. The average rent for a student room in Madrid is €520.

Do I need to know Spanish to intern in Spain?

You don’t need to know Spanish (fluently) if you’re interning for an international company or a start-up company with international clients. But we highly recommend learning Spanish as it’ll only help you in your day to day life.

If you’re planning to intern for a company that requires you to know Spanish, then you’d need to know at least B2 level Spanish.

What’s next?

Once you start your internship, make sure that you’ve your Spanish bank account in case you’re getting paid or compensated.

After the internship, you may want to focus on extending your internship into a full-time role or finding a new job in Spain. In this case, it’s highly likely that you’ll need to convert your student visa to a work visa. If you’re in need of some inspiration, have a look at the top companies in Spain that hire international students or expats. Good luck with your internship!

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