Intern Abroad

Research Internship in Valencia

April 24th, 2024 | by
  • Chemistry M.Sc.
  • Spain, Valencia
  • Universitat de València
  • 01/2024 – 04/2024

Application and finding an internship:

After careful consideration, I was convinced that Valencia was the right city for me. I had heard many good things about Valencia: the city seemed to offer what I was looking for, and, as I expected, people spoke “normal” Spanish.

Subsequently, I wrote emails with my resume and academic transcripts to professors and group leaders at universities and some independent institutes. My recommendation would be to reach out to as many as possible. Out of 25 recipients, approximately 15 responded; 10 were unavailable, lacked capacity, or only took interns for longer periods. Among the 5 positive responses, I scheduled short meetings with 2 individuals to make the most informed decision possible. In the end, I decided to do an internship in inorganic chemistry at the University of Valencia. The professor spoke good English, the laboratories were spacious and modern, and I had the feeling that they were happy to have an additional motivated employee.

© Jona Sieberg

Accommodation & Living Expenses:

I found searching for accommodation from Germany, without knowing Spanish, to be quite challenging. While many recommended Idealista as the best possible website, where you can find a lot, I ultimately found my apartment through Uni-Places. Although there was a fee involved, it also provided a certain level of security against scams. I live incredibly centrally, not really close to the university, but with the free public transport (for people under 30), I can reach my workplace in 35 minutes. However, I have found Valencia to be very well connected, so the exact location of your flat is not so important.

When I first started looking for an apartment I would have liked to live alone, but decided to go for the cheaper option of a shared flat. In retrospect I would now strongly advise everyone to do the same. Social interaction and contacts are one of the core elements of an Erasmus stay, which should not be missed at any point. Based on my experience with shared accommodation and hearing about others’ experiences, there will always be pros and cons, but I have not heard from any situations that were unbearable.

Sidenote: During the summer months, a room without air conditioning is maybe somewhat bearable but not very desirable.

Monthly expenses for groceries in the supermarket are certainly somewhat lower than in Germany, although not by much. The only thing that is a little more expensive than what we are used to is Ice-cream.  Everything else depends on your lifestyle.

© Jona Sieberg

Prices for shared rooms range from approximately 300 to 550 euros. Clubs are often free through Erasmus organizers, and restaurants and gyms are also slightly cheaper than in Germany.


Everyday Life / The Internship:

My internship itself didn’t really differ from similar tasks in Germany: I worked in the laboratory, sometimes under supervision, mostly independently. Only the feeling of arriving in a group of Spanish people, making friends, and then also doing things together outside of university felt even cooler. I dealt with great people, a relaxed yet dedicated professor, a doctoral student with whom I couldn’t have gotten along better, and a generally very friendly group. The willingness to help each other was high, working hours were very flexible, and hierarchies were flat.

© Jona Sieberg

In this regard, my impressions were minimally different from Germany. I was usually in the lab between just before 10 am and 6 pm, but as everything was relatively relaxed, a lot of it was voluntary. Overall, there was certainly time for sports, activities on the weekends, and enjoying the feeling of living in Spain! I found it to be a great opportunity to expand my knowledge, learned a lot, and certainly gained more confidence in my abilities through the experiences I had.

The biggest difference in everyday life: You don’t have to look out the window to know what the weather is like. Valencia lives up to its promises and offers, although it may not be the most beautiful city in the world, good weather, nearly every day.

My hope was to make great progress in Spanish as well as gaining professional experience. This is perhaps possible if you already speak relatively good Spanish, but as long as English is still much easier for both sides, I had little success. The university, as the place where I spent most of my time, is simply unsuitable for this, as people here speak generally better English than elsewhere.


Free Time / Tips:

Beach, great weather, culture, local markets, the feeling of a big but not too big city, clubs, parks, huge university campuses, and all of it easily accessible. As mentioned, there is certainly no shortage of options. Erasmus organizations offer a particularly easy entry, offering a variety of activities. For example, I participated in their surfing and beach volleyball offerings, parties, and excursions. The excursions, in particular, are very pleasant because you can reach nearby cities or locations relatively inexpensively. Especially the mountains, which are otherwise difficult to reach without a car.

© Jona Sieberg

Valencia certainly does not lack bars where you can sit down nicely in the evening. Additionally, there are also many opportunities to sit outside with your friends. If I were to make a recommendation, I would suggest the very authentic Mercabañal, located very close to the beach.

As an absolute Erasmus hotspot, one should not expect to only deal with spanish people. On the contrary: It is very international, and this is reflected wherever students are. While I mainly dealt with Spaniards in the lab, my roommates and the visitors to clubs and bars were often from abroad.

I used my free time a lot to do sports, often in the gym, partly because it was often much cooler there. Running is a bit less pleasant in Valencia than in Aachen, but with the Turia (the largest park that leads in a semicircle through the city), there is an extremely bicycle and jogger-friendly park. Various football fields are also located here, where people often meet up through WhatsApp groups.



I can highly recommend Valencia as a destination for an Erasmus stay. At the end of my time here, I feel like I have participated in the hustle and bustle of a Spanish university and made progress in my field, as well as had a great time in Spain. The only thing Valencia doesn’t offer is the feeling of being in a super fancy metropolis with incredibly modern skyscrapers. For everything else you hope for from your stay abroad, Valencia offers the ideal conditions. You just have to do it! Have fun!

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