Thanks to my CELT Summer Internship award, I was lucky enough to begin an internship this summer with Catholic Charities’ ESL department. I am a rising senior majoring in Spanish & Portuguese, Linguistics, and English who is interested in translation and second language instruction so I was excited to be given the opportunity to work with Catholic Charities. The Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans provides affordable and reliable English instruction and citizenship classes to our immigrant community, to students who come from Honduras, Vietnam, Brazil, Thailand and many other countries (these are just a few of the nationalities in my class!). I first learned about the Catholic Charities English as a Second Language program based out of Newcomb Hall through a service learning component of my Spanish 1020 class.
Beginning as a Teacher’s Aide, I discovered how much fun I had helping students learn English and I began teaching my own class as a sophomore, leading classes until the spring of my junior year. That year, the Latino Farmers Cooperative gave me the chance to learn about the organizational and administrative aspects of ESL programs when they took me on as a Language Exchange coordinator and then as a grant intern. My internship this summer with Catholic Charities represents a combination of my responsibilities as an ESL teacher and as a program coordinator. Over an intensive seven week program, I will lead a Level 2 ESL class as well as aid in program administration and coordinate informational presentations by local community members for the students.
It wasn’t until the first week of class that I formed a clear picture of what this internship would be. When I signed up for the internship, I was very excited to begin leading an ESL class again, especially because I was given the opportunity to teach a level I had never taught before. But I wanted to gain more experience in non-profit management by observing the program’s office manager and aiding her in her responsibilities. Fortunately, my internship supervisor understands what I want out of this internship, and asked me to help her during the program’s registration session during which I administered a survey to incoming students about potential new services Catholic Charities is developing. Experiences such as this help me learn vital professional skills such as communicating bilingually and helping to coordinate a complex event involving over 90 people. These skills could make me an appealing job candidate when I apply to non-profits in New Orleans when I graduate next year. Keeping these goals in mind, I am excited to continue working with Catholic Charities and learn to successfully coordinate my roles as instructor and program administrator over the course of this summer.
Thanks for reading!