Beichen Xiao came to Madrid to learn Spanish – a language that has become very popular among young chinese.

Financed by their parents, students like the 24 years old Beichen are sent to the South of Europe to learn and study the language. Beichen also uses his time in Madrid to do an internship. And what better place there is than with Atlético de Madrid the socker club where the Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin in 2015 bought a 20% stake. Beichen studied Cultural Management at the Minzu University of Beijing in China.

How did you get the internship at Atlético Madrid?

I came to Spain, originally for an other event, when I met a Manager of Atlético and then he send me an email to ask what I was doing in Spain and if I wanted to work for the club that is how I got the internship.

How can you officially apply?

I know, I was very lucky. But if you want to apply, you can contact them via email and if they have free positions, they will contact you. They will ask for your experiences and you CV. If they think that you fit in, they will invite you for a job interview along with other directors, so they can all get to know you. They asked me what I was doing in Madrid, what the plans for my future were, what I learned in my study, about my personal experiences and my motivations for this job. After the internship, when you did a good job, they will probably offer you a full-time position and a contract.

What are you doing there?

I work in the apartment of marketing and communication, there are around twenty people and three directors, so it is not that much comparing to the staff that is working for Real Madrid. They all treat each other like a big family. Real keeps people away in a more distanced way. Atlético wants you to love the club and your work there, that is their strategy to hire people.

What skills do you need to work for a socker club?

Depends on the position you have. I think one of my strengths is my nationality and my talent for languages. Because I am Chinese, I am mainly responsible for the contact between the Spanish Part and the Chinese Part and for the Online Shop. Most people in China neither speak English nor Spanish, so I have to manage everything, translate and organize. Now I do the resumes for the social platforms too.

Are you working in an international environment?

There are two other Chinese people in my class and 24 students at all. At work we are very international, we have people from France, most of them are from Spain, and two as well from China. They are responsible for the social platforms as well.

But your level of Spanish has to be very good for jobs like these. I did a test before and I passed with a level of B2, so I got lucky for this. But I learned a bit in china already. Most of the Spanish People don’t speak English and they have strong accents as well, so sometimes it is very hard to understand them anyway.

What is your background?

Master of Sports Marketing, in Spanish it is “Marketing Deportivo” . Here in Spain it is only one Semester from October til June. I study at a private university, but my master is officially proved by the Ministry of China, I think other countries do that as well. The private universities here have many restrictions for their students.

Do you think you can find a job here?

For Chinese people it is very hard to find a job after they graduated from a university. It depends on the attitude of the students here. Most Chinese people want to enjoy their time here instead of working. But if you work hard and you show your employers that you really want to work and then they offer you a contract, that is something you can be really proud of.

What do you think of Madrid as a place to work?

I compare it with Beijing. People want to work there, but they don’t want to live there. Most of the people – my friends as well – they think Barcelona is nicer. You can come to Madrid and find a good work, but its not a good place to live. Work yeah, but for living no. You don’t have so many activities here and I like other places of Spain more.

The interview was conducted by Ronja Baerecke