Internships in focus: Feasibility study in a Mayan village
RELEASED: March 2, 2006
DANVILLE, KYFor all Centre College students, the January CentreTerm means personal, in-depth, engaged learning beyond the norm. For those students who choose to complete internships, the CentreTerm experience takes them outside the classroom and into the working world.
Internships are an integral part of the Centre Commitment, which guarantees students an internship, study abroad, and graduation in four years.
The Centre Internship Plus program offers matching grants for selected internships, and offers students a chance to earn extra financial support.
This year, many Centre students had interesting and rewarding internships for CentreTerm. Here, in the first of a multi-part series, is the story of one student's internship.
Please tell us your name, major and hometown.
Kat Farris, international relations and Spanish, Louisville.
Describe your internship. Where did you work? What were you doing?
My internship was located in a little Maya village (Chacmultun) in the southern Yucatan. I was doing research for a professor who wants to invest in an economic project for the women in the village. He wanted me to find the feasibility of setting up a ceramics project. This entailed getting accustomed to and gaining the trust of the Maya in the village and interviews with some of the Yucatan's best potters in nearby cities (Ticul and Muna) about 60-80 kilometers away.
What did you find most challenging about your internship?
At first the most challenging aspect was speaking to the people in the village. The majority of them didn't speak any Spanish, and what Spanish they did speak was very limited. Most of my work had to be done through the children as they attended an all-Spanish-speaking school in another village.
What have you found most rewarding?
Innumerable aspects of this experience have been so rewarding. But if I had to limit it to just one, I would have to say the personal relationships I built with a lot of the women in the village and the children—they became my family.
How has your Centre experience helped you to prepare for your internship?
Well, obviously, the Spanish classes that I took helped me to prepare myself linguistically. As for mentally and emotionally, I must say that my Centre experience and more generally the college experience as a whole has helped to be more mature and independent, so when it came time for me to live in a foreign country completely by myself I was ready.
What are your goals after graduation? Will your internship help you meetthose goals?
My goals after graduation are to go to the Peace Corps.
Was there a certain person or office at Centre who helped you during theapplication process to get the internship? A professor or staff member whowrote you a nice letter of recommendation, for example, or pointed you inthe right direction?
The Spanish professor for the Centre-in-Mexico program (Alfredo Enriquez) was the sponsor for my internship. He had been working with Chacmultun for about six years and wanted to look into this possibility.
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