Wondering what it’s like to intern abroad in Peru? Caelyn Hart from Southern Utah University spent 13 weeks there as a Youth Development & Education intern in Cusco with Intern Abroad HQ. Learn about her experience teaching English, improving her Spanish language skills, and adapting to a new environment…
During my internship with Intern Abroad HQ, it was amazing to see the impact I had on the children and see how my language skills and ideas contributed to their overall development. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity, where I taught at an after-school program in Cusco, Peru. I worked in child development, and at the same time, was given the opportunity to practice and expand my Spanish skills.
Learning Spanish while Teaching English
Initially, I was nervous to start my internship and teach these English classes. Would I be able to understand the kids and communicate with them clearly? Would my lack of previous teaching experience be detrimental? By the end of my 13 week internship I was so much more comfortable and confident in my abilities. I knew that even something as simple as talking to the children in English was helping them. And while I was helping them, they were also helping me improve my Spanish language skills.
My lessons were carried out in both English and Spanish, which helped immensely. My role as an English teacher and caretaker for the children helped me develop confidence as a Spanish speaker and expanded my knowledge on child development and the ways that they learn.
Taking pride in having a meaningful impact
Introducing the children to the English language and helping them learn many new words, concepts, and definitions was such a fulfilling experience. By spending so much time with the students and the other teachers I was able to implement my ideas for improving the project, and suggested new activities to do with the kids. It was a moment of pride to see my ideas and skills being used and made me happy to contribute to such a special project.
I quickly learnt how to work in a group and also gained insight into how small companies and organizations operate. I absolutely loved learning about how charitable organizations work, and how I can personally play a role and make an impactful contribution towards their purpose.
Developing my communication skills in two languages
One of my major long-term goals is to be fluent in Spanish. This internship significantly contributed towards achieving that goal as I was able to use and improve my Spanish skills every day. I’m also interested in the medical field, specifically Paediatrics. By working with children, it helped me better communicate with them and understand what they want and need. I am so grateful for my experience because it was a way of fully immersing myself in the Spanish language which really helped in developing my overall communication skills.
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Discovering the diversity that Peru has to offer
Interning abroad in Peru was an experience that was different from what I had initially imagined. I felt an instant connection to the people and culture, which I expected would take longer than it did. It was a pleasant surprise to discover that there were cultural similarities: the food, transportation, and the people. Not only was the food in Peru absolutely delicious but I also had fun trying the different meals!
Figuring out the transport in a new city, let alone country can be super scary, but I can wholeheartedly say the people make it as easy as possible for you. The workers on the bus even tell you which one’s your stop. Everyone was so helpful and super accepting. I was invited to dinner with my co-workers and even went salsa dancing. Everyone was awesome!
Feeling empowered to continue my education & study Spanish
Coming away from my internship experience with Intern Abroad HQ, I feel empowered within my field, as a supporter and a friend. There were instances where I just needed to be a friend to the children and other volunteers. Understanding that sometimes people just need a safe place to talk and figure things out is an essential skill to have. I am grateful for the ability to be that person for so many people here.
My plan is to continue progressing personally and professionally after my internship, by heading to college in the Spring to study Spanish and further my education in medicine. It will give me the opportunity to help myself mentally, and the experience of living away from home and providing for myself, will work towards my personal growth goals.
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My advice? Be patient. Be kind. Relax. You’ve got this!
Some advice that I would give to others is to be kind to yourself, and to relax. It isn’t as scary as it seems, and you can do it! One piece of advice I would share with a future intern who is heading into a culturally diverse setting would be to be patient. It can be scary learning a new language and even scarier trying to communicate with people who don’t speak the same language. It’s important to remember that you’re learning and the people that you communicate with are learning as well.
How can I get started?
Our step-by-step guide on how it works provides you with more information on how to get started. The process is user friendly and there are two options you can take to get the ball rolling.
If you’re unsure of which internship program is right for you, you can simply check availability to submit an enquiry which will help us to point you in the right direction. If you want to chat over the phone, you can also find our full contact information here.
If you already have an idea of what you want to do, and when you want to do it, you can submit your application. It doesn’t cost anything and won’t take more than 5 minutes. However, your formal expression of interest provides the foundation for us to help you take the next steps.