Taryn Kim recently graduated from Polytechnic High School in California. She first volunteered with Outreach360 in Nicaragua through her high school a few years ago. Taryn participated in our Virtual Volunteer Pilot Program this past spring and went on to join our Remote Internship program this summer, working with students in Nicaragua again. She has also registered to participate in our Virtual Fall Internship kicking off on September 12th. We invited her to share more about her experience with our Virtual Impact Program.
Why did you decide to register for Outreach360's Virtual Fall Internship?
As my plans rapidly changed in the wake of the coronavirus, I found myself seeking new opportunities to help compensate for some of the other pursuits that were no longer available to me. I view this internship as a chance to dedicate my newfound time towards something positive and something I would otherwise not be able to do. I have always wanted to be bilingual and after years of schooling, feel that this goal is finally within my reach. At this point, I believe the only way to attain fluency is by speaking with native speakers, which is why I jumped at this opportunity. I also knew I wanted to continue serving with Outreach360 and I could think of no better way to continue building my relationship with the students in the program.
What are you most looking forward to for the Fall Internship?
As always, I am most looking forward to reconnecting with students I have worked with in the past and sharing more about our respective cultures. I am all the more excited that this time around, we can do so through two different languages, which I feel gives the students an opportunity to share their stories and background more personally and authentically.
At the same time, I think there is a real empowerment generated when student becomes teacher. The Outreach360 students in the past have typically viewed us volunteers as the teachers and themselves as students. Although any volunteer can testify that we learn from our students as much as our students learn from us, this opportunity takes that sentiment further by allowing the students to fully assume the teaching role. As a result, I believe the students will be challenged in ways they previously weren't, by making lesson plans, modifying those lesson plans, and speaking up to help instruct and correct the volunteers. In that role reversal, I believe that Outreach360 more wholly embraces its ideology that the volunteer-student relationship is one of mutual benefit.
How will the internship be beneficial for your Spanish learning?
I have been fortunate enough to receive twelve years of formal Spanish instruction in school, but no amount of grammar charts or textbook lectures equate to the learning that comes with speaking to native Spanish speakers. Just as the Outreach360 students learn exponentially faster when speaking with native English speakers, us volunteers can pick up Spanish much quicker by conversing with the students. I anticipate this internship will help me to more easily navigate the tenses, improve my use of casual and colloquial language, and expand my general vocabulary. Moreover, especially given that I am currently not involved in any other Spanish curriculum, I think this internship will be essential to my maintenance of the Spanish I already know.
What benefits do you see the Fall Internship having for high school and college students?
The coronavirus outbreak has taken a lot from students--the ability to connect in-person with teachers, the joy of engaging in hands-on learning, and in many cases, even the option to attend school at all. I view the Fall Internship as one of the few opportunities currently available to students that will actually better their education, not reduce it. It is a rare privilege to enhance your language skills with native speakers and at the same time partake in global outreach. I believe that this program is a much-needed respite from the challenges plaguing students today and as a recent high school graduate myself, I cherish this internship as something positive arising out of a very difficult time.
You can read a previous blog post by Taryn from April 2020 here: https://www.outreach360.org/post/my-old-students-and-i-have-reconnected-over-zoom
For more information on Outreach360's virtual internships, please visit www.outreach360.org/virtualimpact.