Amity recently interviewed Salvadoran Intern Yaquelin Ortiz about her experience (so far) in the United States. Check out her incredibly helpful insight and advice for future interns below!
Tell us a little about yourself: Where is your hometown? My name is Yaquelin Ortíz, and my home country is El Salvador. I live in the east zone and my hometown is called San Francisco Gotera, located in Morazán. I am and Intern in a 3rd grade class at Eagle Heights Spanish Immersion School in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.
How did you find out about Amity Institute? Why did you did decide to participate in the Intern Program?
In 2018, I was taking a course at my university back home. One day, my teacher (Jimmy Torres) took some time to talk about how the Amity Program works and what the requirements were in order to receive a scholarship. This opportunity really caught my attention; I could try a new experience far away from my native country, learn new teaching strategies, put into practice the two languages that I know and also gain professional experience teaching children as students.
What is your favorite part of your internship so far? What was the biggest challenge?
One of my favorite and the biggest part of my Internship is exchanging languages. On top of this, I have three different reasons why I truly enjoy my internship, listed below.
- Being in the classroom every day: Being at the classroom every day, is something that I just love, because I can support students not only with Spanish, I can also support them through motivation when they feel they can’t do anything, when they have questions related with what they are doing in that moment and also, I can teach them about my culture. It is just amazing to hear them speaking Spanish so well; I love to make them feel comfortable when they are speaking Spanish as as second language.
- Meeting new people: meeting new people is something that I like, because I enjoy learning as much I can about people, their thoughts, culture, opinions, and random academic facts. Also, I get to hear different English accents, so that helps me to improve my speaking and listening skill.
- Going new places: Going new places can be a challenge for me; every time that I am going to visit a new place, I am very aware that I will need to use my English. By this time of the year, I am happy with my English skills; speaking is not a big barrier to me, I can go wherever I want and do whatever I want, and I can do all of that in English OR Spanish.
What have you shared about your culture?
I have had a really good time sharing Salvadoran culture with others (family, school or new friends). I have shared by cooking traditional meals or snacks such as: pupusas, pastelitos, tortillas, tacos, etc.
What has surprised you about the United States?
Transportation, expensive prices and some children’s behavior are some things that have surprised me here.
What does a typical day look for you in the United States/at school?
In phase three (where I am right now) a typical day is: checking students agendas and homework, doing morning meeting, assisting in math and language arts, then teaching social studies every day at 2:30pm. I also do the end of the day sharing with students about what was their favorite part of the day, and we practice our “green zone.”
How do you think interning with Amity will benefit you, personally and professionally?
Personally, being an Amity intern has helped me become proud of myself because now I have become stronger with my feelings and maturity, and independent by solving my own problems. Professionally, it has helped me take on a big responsibility in my position as teacher. I now work hard to understand students first and then make a decision based on them. Also, I have improved my English skills greatly. Finally, I am also able to maintain a balance of having fun, being funny, and have discipline in the classroom.
Any advice for interns who would like to come to the United States?
Dear, future Interns: I am so glad to hear that you will also have this amazing experience. Please, take with you: your best attitude, a heart full of love for many, many children who have lack of it, open your mind with everything that is around you, and be careful about your decisions. There is a community paper writer of kind and lovely people waiting to hear about you and your culture. Do not be afraid about express how you feel or ask for/about something during your stay in the USA. Most importantly, gain as much knowledge as possible and take it to your home country in order to be one of the first teachers to evolve with the newest ideas or strategies.