955 La Paz Road
Santa Barbara, CA 93108
Learning in a practicum setting provides a unique opportunity for students to see and reflect upon the connections between academics and work, to break down students' tendencies to compartmentalize the different areas of their lives. Practica can promote the application of what one learns from books to life, and vice versa; they can also encourage the habit of lifelong learning if they are combined with required reflection and directed study. In addition to the experiential learning which can take place, internships may also offer students the chance to develop a sense of Christian vocation, to explore the question of what it means for a follower of Christ to work (a word that, at root, is closely tied to worship).
Students testify that internships can be powerful and formative experiences. By allowing them to get a sneak preview of what life is like in a particular career area, internships can help evoke, confirm or discourage an occupational direction. They thus provide a helpful bridge into the working world. Internships also give students an opportunity to learn new skills, gain confidence in new surroundings, identify their work values, and build a network of career contacts. Through the various challenges and experiences of an internship, students are able to learn more about their personality, gifts, weaknesses, and interests, as well as their sense of "vocation." Finally, and most importantly, internships provide students an opportunity to learn more about what it means to be a child and servant of God.
At Westmont, approximately 70% of recent graduates report having had an internship during college. More than 95% of Spanish majors enroll in an internship for 2-4 credits during their college career, typically in their junior or senior years. All have reported very positive experiences. The internship program is especially beneficial to students who are double-majors, for they are given the unique opportunity to combine their interests and talents in their internship (and can also receive double credit for the experience). For example, Spanish and business/economics majors may work in an international business; pre-med students work in clinics and hospitals, shadowing the doctors and interpreting for patients; religious studies majors might work in a Spanish-speaking church or ministry; education majors assist in bilingual classroms; psychology or sociology majors may work with the county probation department, the rape crisis center, homeless shelters, or other social service agencies; communications majors have an opportunity to work with the local Spanish-speaking radio or television programs. The opportunities seem limitless.
The first step is to consult the blue Internship Notebook located upstairs in the lounge area of Reynolds Hall. This notebook is divided into 5 main categories: Primary Schools; Secondary Schools; Social Service Agencies; Hospitals & Clinics; and Businesses. In it, students who have completed an internship contribute a brief descriptive essay (in Spanish) highlighting (1) a description of the organization; (2) the student's responsibilities; and (3) a candid evaluation of their experience. This is then followed by an English evaluation page. Thus far, the notebook contains over 100 entries describing approximately 45 different sites. Click here for a list of sites for Spanish internships.
Any student interested in a particular site may read about it, and then write down the contact information (located at the top). The supervisor can then be called and an appointment can be set up. This is the student's responsibility, but one should also contact Dr. Mary Docter (Reynolds 201, extension 7182) during this process.
A student may also elect to choose a new site (one not described in the notebook). Please contact Dr. Docter for approval.
To receive course credit (2-4 units), students enroll in Spanish 190. The first meeting of the semester usually occurs Thursday of the first week of classes at 3:30 in Reynolds 209. Please check your voicemail and email for confirmation of this mandatory meeting!
The participating organizations expect:
A. From the participating organization:
B. From the Westmont faculty coordinator:
A. From the student:
B. From the participating organization:
Elementary Schools: bilingual classroom aids, teacher's assistants, ESL tutor, etc.
Secondary Schools: classroom aids for ESL, and all other secondary subjects
Cal Soap Tutor/Peer Advisor
Social Service Agencies:
AIDS Project Central Coast
Health Care Services: medical assistant, translator, interpreter
Carpinteria Medical Clinic
Businesses: pre-professional positions in a variety of fields
Calvary Chapel, Spanish Ministry