Amity recently had the pleasure of interviewing Salvadoran Intern Katherine regarding her experiences so far in the United States. Read a little bit about her transformative journey from El Divisadero Morazán all the way to Washington State below.
Tell us a little about yourself: Where is your hometown? What school are you interning at?
Hi! My name is Katherine, I am 22 years old and I am from El Salvador, this is a beautiful country divided into 14 departments or states and I come from El Divisadero Morazán, a small town full of history and pretty landscapes. I am interning at Puesta del Sol elementary school in Bellevue, Washington.
Why did you did decide to participate in the Intern Program?
I first learned about the Amity program from past Amity students. They had amazing stories that inspired me. I wanted to participate not only for the challenge but also great adventure. I want to be the person to inspire and tell amazing stories for the next round of students.
Living abroad has its ups and downs! What is your favorite part of your internship so far? What was the biggest challenge?
My favorite part of my internship is experiencing the culture. I love to talk about Salvadoran culture and I really love to learn about American culture as well. Now I have firsthand experiences to see the contrast between Salvadoran culture and American culture.
The biggest challenge for me was the culture shock. At the beginning was very difficult for me to adapt to everything new. Sometimes I felt weird about what I was doing, but now I am more comfortable, and I am enjoying every single moment and taking advantage of all the opportunities that are presented to me.
What have you shared about your culture? What do you think surprises people about your home country?
I have shared many things related to El Salvador such as patriotic symbols, food, amazing places to visit etc. Most of the time people are surprised by the culture and the different traditions in El Salvador and how the Salvadoran people are influenced by them.
What has surprised you about the United States?
There are some things that have surprised me. The first is the beautiful country! I love the United States. It is clean and everything is in order. The education system is great and amazing. I admire the families always trying to be involved in new things in order to help their children become better.
What does a typical day look for your in the United States/at school?
I wake up around 8AM and then head to school with my host family. There, I supervise the children in line at the entrance of the school in order to ensure they are ready for classes. Next, I start my reading club in 1st grade, where I am assisting students that need a bit of extra help with Spanish reading and writing. Next, I have little projects with groups of students in different subjects; sometimes, they need extra support like math and literature. I also work in conjunction with the classroom teacher in presenting curriculum material for different subjects, like social studies.
How do you think interning with Amity will benefit you, personally and professionally?
I think this opportunity will bring a lot of benefits to me both personally and professionally. Not many people from El Salvador have the opportunity to come to the United States and work here as a volunteer in a Spanish Immersion School. My dream is to become an English teacher. Having this experience will give me the opportunity to get hands-on experience teaching in an American school. I have learned about the diversity of culture in this country, giving me an open-mind.
Any advice for interns who would like to come to the United States?
Some advice that I can give to incoming interns is: try to be open-minded to the diversity of cultures in the United States, take advantage of all the great opportunities you have here and when you get constructive criticisms, analyze the feedback and think about how to improve.