The ten-week program consists of an intensive Spanish language-training course, and a structured internship experience.
The program is administered in three phases:
Language training and internship preparation (3 weeks flexible)
A major part of the program is its language component. During this first three weeks, students are given intensive Spanish language training to help them prepare to enter the field. The idea is to boost language skill level and confidence by providing an informal but rigorous training course in the Spanish language that consists of four and ½ hours daily of structured conversation and grammar. The classroom work is enhanced by half-day field trips, special lectures and participation in planned cultural activities and events. Spanish is always used to the greatest extent possible in all activities outside the classroom.
It is important to note that the Spanish instruction phase of the program is typically three weeks, but is flexible. Students with a high skill level in Spanish may choose to spend less time in the classroom in order to have a longer period in the field. Conversely, those who feel they need more language preparation before beginning the internship have the option to continue with classes for an additional week or two in order to better prepare. This would however, shorten the internship phase of the program. Each student is encouraged to set his/her own learning priorities.
Concurrent with the language training, students are counseled and advised on all issues relevant to the internship experience. Each student is presented with a series of options based on expressed interests. Each opportunity is evaluated by both student and supervisor along a series of dimensions relevant to the student’s needs. We work carefully with each individual student to understand her/his particular educational and personal goals, needs and interests and work diligently to help each student identify the right country, community and work setting to allow each to meet his/her own personal objectives.
The Internship Experience (6 weeks flexible)
By the end of the first phase, students are ready to begin the internship. All preparations are in place for a new family, sometimes a new country and always a new community. The internship is usually six weeks long, but can be customized to provide either a longer or shorter period in the field.
As the internship work begins, we remain available to students at all times. Guided supervision and monitoring of each student’s environment is our highest priority during this phase of the program. The goal is solve quickly any problems that occur along the way. We work to help students adjust both logistically and socially to their new setting and facilitate any changes or adjustments that may be necessary in the course of the internship. We are attentive to any potential health issues that may arise or to anything that could make a student feel either insecure or ineffective, either on the worksite, or with the family.
During their time in the field, students are expected to keep daily journal entries that reflect on the nature of the work itself as well as perceptions of integration into communities and personal growth experiences. These journal logs will eventually serve as a point of reference for a final presentation where each will have the opportunity to share her/his work experiences with other students.
Shared Reflections and Written Work
Students return to San Jose for the last week in the program to reconnect with other participants, to share experiences, and to prepare an informal twenty to thirty minute presentation on what each felt was the most important part of the internship. Additionally, each participant will be required to submit a ten-page report addressing issues relevant to the particular experience of each. Most chose to complete the written work in English, however, for those who wish to write in Spanish, a Spanish instructor will be available for help and editing.