Boryana’s experience as a Interior Design intern in Spain

Boryana is a second year Interior Design student, she shared her experience of what it was like working on an overseas placement at Siesta Homes in Marbella, Spain.

Why did you decide to travel abroad with DMU Global on an overseas placement?

From the start of my second year, I knew I wanted to take a placement year to boost my CV and gain valuable industry experience. I wanted to work on real projects with real clients and see the behind-the-scenes processes. I chose to seek this experience outside the UK, as I eventually plan to return to my home country, and the UK’s design and engineering approaches are quite different from those in the rest of Europe. During a lecture on employability, a third-year student who had done an overseas placement shared her positive experience and detailed the company she worked for, inspiring me to apply there as well.

Did you notice any cultural differences whilst abroad that you needed to adapt to?

Yes, I noticed several cultural differences. Spain is beautiful but quite different from both the UK and my home country. The pace of life is slower, with shops closing between 2PM and 5PM and a general lack of urgency. Public transport was a challenge; buses required cash payments, only stopped if signalled, and often didn’t stop if nearly full. The frequent local celebrations were a memorable experience. The food, primarily tapas, required me to request full portions at restaurants. Additionally, Spanish people are generally louder and more lively, especially in groups, which took some getting used to as they are less mindful of others’ need for rest or work.

What was the most interesting thing that you learnt as part of your placement abroad?

As an interior design student, the most interesting aspect of my placement was learning how the business operates differently from what we are taught at university. I gained insights into project presentation, client communication, team collaboration, workflow, and the design process. Effective communication proved to be the most crucial skill for an interior designer, essential for project completion and client approval.

Were there any local foods or drinks that you discovered and enjoyed?

I discovered many wonderful restaurants and bars, especially along the beach. Bungalow, with its impressive design and relaxed atmosphere, became a favourite spot for evening wine and exceptional food. Tricadero Estepona, with its unique design and outdoor garden with a pool, was another favourite. The Golden Mile, particularly Puente Romano, offered a scenic walk with high-end restaurants, bars, shops, and stunning views, making for a fantastic experience.

What are the top skills you have improved from your experience?

During my placement, I significantly improved my adaptability to new environments, people, and lifestyles. My technical skills in Microsoft Office, SketchUp, and Enscape advanced considerably. I also enhanced my time management and attention to detail. Most importantly, I developed a deep understanding of commercial awareness, learning how to manage client relationships, work towards company profitability, and effectively market the business and its services. This business insight was both new and fascinating to me.

Has your DMU Global experience inspired you to pursue further international experiences?

Absolutely. If given the opportunity and resources, I would eagerly pursue more international experiences. Exploring new places and cultures has been incredibly inspiring and motivating, driving me to continually improve both personally and professionally.