How I Bagged My Bad-Ass Summer Job in Spain

Thursday, June 26, 2014

I'm not totally happy with using the word bad-ass in general life, but I really can't think of another word to describe the total lucked-out, quids-in situation I found myself in the last two summers.

In summer 2012 and 2013 I worked at Diving La Sirena in L'Estartit, Catalonia. It's a dive centre 8 months a year but also offers snorkeling trips for 3 months over summer, which is where I came in. Though I can dive now, I had absolutely no experience of diving before I started but was lucky enough to be able to join the amazing 30 strong dive crew as part of the snorkeling team. 

The first summer I worked in the kiosk, which is the dive centre equivalent of starting at the bottom of the pile! I sold tickets for the boat trips with my ever cheerful kiosk companion Emma, catching rays of sunshine when we could and greeting customers from all over the world in English, French and Spanish. This was key to landing this job: languages open doors in the tourism industry! If you speak French, Spanish or Dutch, you're a great asset to the Catalonian coast and would (hopefully!) not struggle to find work in the summer months.

The second summer, I begged to be allowed on deck and ended up behind the bar on Sirena 2, the main snorkeling boat. Using my languages skills again, I greeted customers in French and Spanish and did all the safety stuff for the French passengers. I am a total water baby so I loved every day at work and even chose to spend my one day off diving and snorkeling - it was impossible to keep me away!

L'Estartit is a very touristy, as you can imagine, but does have it's own beauty if you're prepared to look for it! I had a great time exploring on my days off when I wasn't underwater exploring the beautiful Medes Islands in a wetsuit. 

I met some wonderful people both summers and learned to dive with them which opened my eyes to something I had never considered before.

I found this job through a friend who had worked there the summer before but jobs such as this are advertised all the time on the website Think Spain. The lesson I have learned is never be too proud to ask someone to put a good word in for you...everyone else is doing it so why can't you? If I hadn't, I would have had these two amazing experiences, so thank you Mali for doing that in the first place!

Some things I learnt from working in Spain:

1) Don't be surprised if you're asked for a photo to accompany your CV, it's fairly common practice. I am stubborn so sent a horrendous passport photo of myself, but then I am a strange girl.

2) Sexism is pretty rife in Spain in general. There's almost a "bimbo until proven capable" rule. I'm not saying this is right, just don't put up with it!

3) You will work more than your contract says you will in all summer jobs but so is everyone else and if you're loving your job...who really minds?

Liked this post? You can read about my first week in L'estartit here.

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