Spanish and Economics
From May 16 through July 9, I worked with Projects Abroad in the Cusco region of Peru as an assistant English teacher.
The ages of the students that I taught ranged from 11 to 16. During my eight week internship I was expected to prepare lesson plans for all of my classes including interactive activities so that the students would become more engaged in the material.
Although the head English teacher was officially in charge of the classes, the two of us shared responsibilities fairly equally in regards to classroom activities.
The primary goal of this internship was to help the students improve their abilities to read and write English.
I feel as though I was able to accomplish this goal; although there were frustrating times early on when the students were struggling to grasp important elementary concepts. Once they were able to understand the basic ideas that I was teaching, however, they were able to make larger steps towards improvement.
The second goal of this internship was to improve the students’ pronunciation skills in English.
It is difficult for them to learn proper pronunciation because their primary English teacher speaks very little English to begin with.
Just the fact that they could hear me pronounce certain words and repeat those words gave them a much better understanding of English phonetics.
My third goal was to provide the school in which I was working with resources to continue teaching English effectively after I had left.
I spent many afternoons in the Projects Abroad office in the neighboring town creating flashcards, games, worksheets, and recording audio cds so that the English teacher at my school would be able to utilize these resources to improve his teaching techniques.
The Spanish skills that I have developed at Furman as a Spanish major were indispensible to me during my internship.
I was able to communicate with the students in their own language as well as having the ability to explain aspects of the English language that only a native speaker could explain effectively.
This immersion into the Spanish language helped my Spanish skills to improve immensely.
The most rewarding aspect of this internship was that I had the opportunity to work and immerse myself in a completely foreign culture.
Although I was in Peru to teach, I feel as though I was the one who was being taught.
I learned that many aspects of American society that seem so natural to me are non-existent in other cultures.
It helped me to expand my worldview and to become more understanding of cultural differences.
Although I do not want to go into the educational field, this internship helped me realize that I may want to pursue a career that will allow me to work internationally, likely in Latin America.
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