This summer, with the help of the LSA International Internship Program, I spent three months improving my Spanish and working at an internship in Córdoba, Argentina. At NGO Fundación CEIDeIS, I was responsible for helping with classes and presentations about various social issues within Argentina (such as alcoholism, child abuse, disabilities, etc.) and completed a presentation to transition the NGO’s focus to issues of gender equality. As an International Studies major, this placement was excellently tailored to my interests. However, there are also many other internships that students can be placed in, depending on their major and experience.
While living in Córdoba, I met tons of interesting people and was able to use and improve my Spanish constantly. Living in a hostel (one of the housing options, the other being a homestay) was fantastic for pushing myself to speak Spanish, as many of the people living there knew only limited English. COINED, the Spanish school that helps place students in internships, also has language courses, which I took for my first month. While anyone in LSA can participate in these internships, they can also be especially helpful for Spanish majors when fulfilling higher-level requirements. At the end of taking classes at COINED, you are also eligible to take an exam to be level C1 certified in Spanish. More than anything, these classes made me more comfortable speaking to others, and also reinforced the grammar I would need to use once at my internship.
Outside of classes and internships, though, COINED also works hard to introduce its students to all Córdoba has to offer—whether it’s tango dancing downtown every Sunday, museum tours, or paragliding excursions. By the end of the trip, I had become part of the communities at my internship (where I had gained skills to give a presentation entirely in Spanish about gender roles), hostel, and COINED. I’m so glad I took this opportunity to work abroad as an undergrad not only for the work experience, but also for the chance to be immersed in a new culture that I may never have become familiar with otherwise.
-by Rachelle Linsenmayer