Big responsibilities and vibrant weekends
Jiyoung interned at the Solar Energy Institute (IES) at the Technical University of Madrid. She got to participate in a large-scale project called AMADEUS which is a 3-year long project shared by universities across Europe, aiming to develop an energy storage system powered by solar energy and withstanding high heat temperature. As an intern at IES, Jiyoung was given a pretty big responsibility of working on the nascent stage of this project by building a prototype of the furnace, which was challenging but manageable.
Jiyoung lived in Malasaña, a hipster neighborhood very close to the heart of Madrid. After working for about 7 to 8 hours each day, Jiyoung would take the metro home and from there she would do whatever she wanted to do to immerse herself in the vibrant city, hang out with friends, and travel on weekends. As Madrid is full of attractions, every day there was something new to do: extremely impressive museums, beautiful parks, good and affordable restaurants, bars and clubs that never seemed to close. Plus opportunities organized by groups aiming to bring international people in Madrid together, such as salsa nights and Meet and Speak. Jiyoung would also simply cook for herself at her apartment, go to book shops to look at Spanish books and cafes, have rich coffee and write in her journal.
Living and working in Madrid was an extremely fun and valuable experience for Jiyoung. At the workplace, it gave her new way of approaching and sharing ideas with people who have fundamentally different ways of thinking. Outside of work, she was able to have fun in an environment where the life was a lot more laid back as well as to meet people from diverse countries around Europe. In either work or day-to-day life, being in a different country with a such different vibe helped her gain perspective on herself, her studies, her values, and her "usual" (or American) way of living back home.