Looking back – looking forward
Now that my time in Spain is coming to an end, I thought it might be a good time to share more of the overall experience.
We have a new placement student fresh out of school working with us this week. Having been officially at the lowest rung on the company ladder for over a year, the role reversal is intriguing. I’ve been providing support and teaching processes over the last few days and can finally see just how far I have come since I first arrived, equally naïve of what the job involved.
These days, I am mostly independent in my work. If I see a good opportunity to automate a mundane task, I immediately crack open a scripting environment or an IDE and have a crack at it. I’ve built several small file conversion and data extraction programs and written a good number of scripts to get things done a bit quicker. All this work is fed back into the team, and often becomes part of the standard process for dealing with certain problems. A tool I wrote to extract data from PDF files is a good example of this.
I am gearing down and preparing to return to the UK now. There is a big push to write documentation at the moment so I am putting together a collection of notes and procedures for several of my tools and problems I have come across. I got a request today to add a section to one of our standard processes for FrameMaker in an area where the translation software documetation is insufficient for our needs. That came about from my providing support to the new engineering manager in Brazil.
I am looking forward to returning to university this October. The different lifestyle will feel strange at first but I’ll soon be back on track to finishing my degree. My experiences on my internship have been extremely valuable in my growth and I feel that I am in a much stronger position for having done it. I would heartily recommend to any student to spend a year out working in the middle of their degree.
Spending the last year in Spain has been a wonderful experience for me. When I arrived I knew only two words of Spanish – hola and queso (hello and cheese respectively). Now I get by pretty well; I have made a number of good friends and have discovered a love of languages and a lifestyle that I really enjoy. In some ways I will be sad to leave, but I am looking forward to the next step, whatever it may be.
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