Icy business in a place with no ice

Would you believe me if I told you that one of the leading companies producing ice skating rinks and accessories was located in one of the hottest cities in the world? Frankly, I wouldn’t either! Upon first seeing my company’s location being Seville, Spain, I thought I’d be selling flamenco dresses or working in a little Spanish hotel ensuring every customer had a glass of tinto de verano cold and fresh at all times in their hands. However, that was not the case.

In the summer of 2017, I found my perfect internship at Xtraice – a world leading manufacturer and distributor of synthetic ecological ice rinks which collaborated with such giants as Disneyland Paris, Detroit Red Wings, John Hancock Center in Chicago as well as famous figure skaters such as Surya Bonaly. The company was established in 2003 and is based in Spain with its headquarters located in Seville, Andalusia – the heart of flamenco, delicious and greasy Spanish food, heat, world-famous Feria de Abril, rich Arabic and Roman history, the warmest people you will ever meet as well as the famous local charming accent.

The Xtraice staff met me with open arms and I felt welcome from day one. I worked for the Russian-speaking Sales team as every region the company worked with had their own salesmen. As the company’s ice rinks can be found in 80 countries and 5 continents, you could only imagine the mix of nationalities I was working with! It was an incredible experience where I learned new skills (working with databases and a variety of clients, mounting a synthetic ice rink and panning logistics), improved my Spanish (Spanish 2 course taken at JAMK also helped!), and learned how to skate (thanks to a huge ice rink in the office).

My colleagues and I wearing fake moustaches (or maybe all natural??) to support Movember

What I loved about Spanish corporate culture is that they know when it is time to work AND play so everyone is happy and can’t wait to get to work. It was always nice to go for a traditional family-style lunch after intense negotiation, go skate to test our new products and take your mind off of things or even have a free yoga session at the office before starting the working day! I am forever grateful for this wonderful learning experience that helped me grow as a professional and made me fall in love with Spain even more (as if that was possible)!