It’s done…it’s over…it’s finally over!


Yesterday the entire program of 100+ students, myself included, spent the entire day taking finals and turning in research papers. Today, more than 80 of them checked out of their apartments and boarded their planes, buses, and even rental cars as they head off back to the states or continue to explore the wonders of Europe.

While we all made many friends and had great adventures it was rather sad seeing people leave and having to say goodbye and all. It was a bit more emotional for some of them than others, but regardless of what anyone says they will all miss Madrid dearly.

Meanwhile, back at the apartment, there are still 20 students remaining. We have another 6 weeks before our part of the program is over. In the meantime we have plenty of things to do, mostly work at our internships, but there are plenty of free weekends to have adventures and go on day trips and such.

Another thing we all have on our ‘to-do lists’ is our Spanish Workforce class where we learn about the Spanish workforce, what it entails, what it takes to be a part of it, and so much more. Today we had a site visit at Almacen de Pontejo.

 Founded in 1913, this is the original store (credit: Esteban Martinez)

Almacen de Pontejo is a family owned store that sells anything and everything you will ever need when it comes to clothing. With over 150,000 items and 4 generations of experience, this company knows what they’re doing. The store is entirely in its original layout as it was when it first opened its doors in 1913 and uses the same logistical methods it used then. The only difference is the use of computers to have a more precise inventory count and payment process.

More than 300 colors of thread ready for any job (credit: Esteban Martinez)

With such a wide variety of products and options this has made this store one of the most successful of its kind. It has about 1500-2000 customers per DAY! For this reason it requires a staff of 30 people at all times. Every single staff member is an expert in their specific area. The owner tells us that  it takes 1 year for a staff member to become ‘fluent’ in the way the company works.

Another interesting thing is that most people who work here tend to not do any other physical activity on their time off because this job is so demanding that the employees have to walk up and down 4 flights of stairs roughly about 4-8 times a day.

Belt buckles and buttons on display on turning belts (credit: Esteban Martinez)

While the program might be over for most, now it’s time to separate the lambs from the lions in regards to who is going to put in the work and who isn’t. After all, we did come out here to work in our internships – or at least that is what we told our parents.

Nevertheless, California I will see you in 6 weeks!


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