My last days with Catholic Charities

My internship ended on July 31st, and already I have no idea what to do without my class! It was an incredibly rewarding experience for me, and even led me to pursue further internship opportunities with Catholic Charities’ Translation/Interpreting department in the fall.

The last day of class was very emotional for my students and me. We finished off the semester watching and discussing the Wes Anderson film “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and then we all played a slightly confusing yet still amusing game of Apples to Apples. My students all brought food from their home countries, including pad Thai, tacos, and pupusas (a dish native to El Salvador). I brought pizza, of course, a food very close to the American culinary heart.

My class was successful not only because I was able to eat amazing home-cooked foods, but because my students and I grew genuinely fond of each other. For instance, I have plans to attend a potluck with some of my students from Thailand and plans to tutor one of my Brazilian students and his wife in English this fall. What I loved best about the class was how familiar we all were with each other. My students often brought friends and family members to class, and on the last day there were several of my students’ children watching “Fantastic Mr. Fox” with us.

For me, the class was worthwhile both professionally and academically. I was able to practice my Portuguese, Spanish, and French language skills with my students and prepare for future language classes at Tulane. I was able to continue building my teaching skill set, learning how to teach students of varied language abilities and gather more teaching materials to take with me to Latin America when I graduate. But more than that, I was able to develop administrative and programming skills during my internship that I would not have been able to had I been merely an ESL teacher and not an administrative intern. I was given the task to set up a presentation about Adult Education classes in New Orleans, a task that was not easy to accomplish at first. When I first tried approaching language access/education groups in New Orleans, I didn’t get much of a response. After repeated efforts however, I was able to get in contact with a representative from Delgado Community College and bring him to our program site. Dozens of students attended the meeting and I was proud to find out that the Catholic Charities’ ESL program will continue bringing Delgado representatives to our program site because of my efforts.

I would like to reiterate how very beneficial this internship has been for me and how much I have learned through it. I know have more skills and ideas to bring back to Tulane and offer to prospective employers. If I had one piece of advice for future interns, not only with non-profits, it would be to be as proactive as possible and develop positions and responsibilities for themselves. No one will give you opportunities, you have to make them.

I would like to thank Dr. Thomas Allen and the Center for Engaged Learning and Teaching for awarding me a summer internship grant and my colleagues at Catholic Charities for accepting me as an intern and making me feel so welcome this summer.

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