Last Updated on December 14, 2018 by Cat Rogliano
Last year AIFS students participated in the pilot program of AIFS and the University of Granada Internships in Local Schools and Companies. Melissa, a nursing and Spanish major from North Dakota, heard about the opportunity during the application process and didn’t think twice. After a preparation seminar of 10 hours, Melissa was placed in an elementary school, “Colegio José Hurtado,” in the center of Granada. For two months, she spent four hours a day, two days a week at the school -but she found herself staying an extra hour at the end of the day just to play with the children. Not only did she participate in the English courses at various grade levels, she assisted with a 5th grade math class, a 2nd grade religion class and a nursery school class of 3 and 4 year olds. Her activities every day varied- from singing songs and reading stories in English, to helping students with math problems (in Spanish!) Because of this, “I learned so much vocabulary and pronunciation! It was great to go back to the basics- things I learned my first year of Spanish but forgot. I also enjoyed how the teachers welcomed me to their school -they were interested in me and my life. I hung out in the teachers’ room and on the patio sometimes with the professors and enjoyed typical pastries. This is one of the best things I’ve done during my study abroad.”
For Blanca, a Liberal Studies major at California State University at Los Angeles, completing an internship at a local school while abroad was an incredible opportunity to gain international experience for her résumé and learn about education in a foreign country. Blanca completed her 6 week internship at a private school called “Sagrado Corazón” by teaching 7th to 10th grade English. She devised lessons, games and even held a debate about the pros and cons of school uniforms -“that was a heated one,” she says “everyone had an opinion!”
For students considering going abroad, there are so many reasons to volunteer: making friends and interacting with locals, gaining greater fluency in the language, even something to put on a résumé . For Blanca, it was the connection with the people though that made her internship so important. Of her students, she says, “they were welcoming, enthusiastic and curious about me and my culture.” She felt that they really wanted to be there and learn form her. Her last day made her cry when the students in one of her classes gave her a group hug and asked her to promise to return. Blanca says, “They got up and gave me a standing ovation. It was a great feeling. This was such a worthwhile experience. I recommend it to anyone.”
Learn more about Granada, interning or volunteering abroad. Happy International Education Week!