Melisa Erman Pursues Passions During Summer in Spain

Melisa Erman, a UW-Madison rising senior who is double majoring in computer engineering and computer science, is interning in Madrid at The Planet App this summer.

The internship has been an opportunity for Melisa to pursue two of her passions: the Spanish language and sustainability. A startup founded by UW-Madison alumni Manuel Pinilla, The Planet App is a sustainability-focused web and mobile app based on the idea that knowledge is the best way to transform the world. The app’s tools help users learn about challenges related to sustainability and climate change, measure and understand their environmental impact, and make informed personal decisions to reduce their carbon footprint.

The Intern Abroad team recently checked in with Melisa to hear about her experience.

What have you learned during your internship that will shape you in the long run?

What have I learned? Honestly, it is more about what I have gained through my internship. I feel like the hope of any intern is to gain genuine experience and feel that their contributions directly impact the company that they are working for. As an intern for The Planet App, I always feel like my input is important to my team, and I can visually see the changes put into place as a result of my feedback. I have gained an abundance of experience working with app development. I am grateful that I was able to witness the different roles and responsibilities that contribute to a successful development environment. I have a better sense of potential jobs that I could pursue in the future, which is not something you can gain from strictly academic experiences. Not to mention, I have reignited my Spanish-speaking skills, and I feel much more confident ordering my morning coffee and croissant.

I have a better sense of potential jobs that I could pursue in the future, which is not something you can gain from strictly academic experiences.

What has surprised or interested you about Spanish culture?

A quality that intrigues me about Spanish culture is the quality of life. I feel that the general public seems to share a sort of rich and vibrant energy – it is noticeable at dinner, while strolling through parks, and even in the workplace. I appreciate how amiable Madrid is; I feel that it was the perfect city for me to live in as a first-time solo traveler.

What’s been the challenging moment of your internship or time abroad thus far? How about the most memorable?

One challenging aspect has surprisingly been the food! Spain has such a rich gastronomy, but for some reason I find myself seeking out comfort foods more often than not. It seems my stomach hasn’t yet adjusted to the relocation; luckily, Madrid is filled to the brim with a variety of global cuisines, so I definitely haven’t been left hungry! The most memorable aspect of living in Madrid is admiring the architecture. Each building has its own personality and gorgeous details, it feels like a scavenger hunt every time I take my nightly walk down Gran Vía.

Melisa was also recently featured in the story, Peek into the lives of 4 Summer Term students. Read the full article here.