Students offered internship opportunity in El Salvador, includes private house, in-house chef

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By ALYSSA MARTINEZ, staff reporter

Instead of stuffing envelopes and doing grunt work for an internship, Central Washington University students can now spend up to three months in Caluco, El Salvador, as an intern for the non-profit, non-governmental organization, ESNA.

“The great thing about this internship is that we can work with you to tailor it so that you get the experience that you need or want,” Jesse Allen, a Career Services representative, said.

The new internship opportunity was developed by Career Services in partnership with the Office of International Studies and Programs (OISP) and is run through the non-profit ESNA Village Network.

While staying at the rental home, ‘Casa Maya’ designed  for students, an in-house cook, wireless internet, and a bilingual coordinator are just a few of the amenities included with this internship.

This opportunity is available for different majors, including information technology (IT), computer science, public health, education and more.

Jessie Nelson, the associate dean for student achievement, is no stranger to El Salvador and the site where interns from Central will be living and working.

Starting in 2009, Nelson has traveled to El Salvador three times and has taken both student and faculty groups to visit Casa Maya.

“It was absolutely a life-changing experience,” Nelson said. “For this country that is fresh out of a brutal civil war to project such a sense of goodness, life, and warmth is just absolutely incredible.”

The most important thing Nelson wants students to know about this internship is the affordability.

“It will cost students just about the same to intern in El Salvador for nine months as it would to pay for one quarter here at Central, which is an added benefit to those thinking about going but are hesitant because of cost,” Nelson said.

Career services assures that, for most programs, Spanish is beneficial but not required.

“You will have a bilingual coordinator on-site, so even if your Spanish is minimal, you wont need to worry about communication barriers,” Allen said.

Casa Maya promises to be an invaluable experience for students looking to get an international experience and an edge on the job market competition.

“Choosing to go abroad during my time at CWU was one of the best decisions I made during college,” Maggie Arevalo, Central alum, said.

Arevalo studied in Guadalajara, Mexico, and graduated from Central in June, 2012.

“When my current employer called me with a job offer, he said that when he was reviewing resumes the fact that mine said I had experience living and studying in another country made the decision of who to hire an easy one because it showed I was both well-rounded and able to work interculturally,” Arevalo said.

For more information on Casa Maya, May 23rd at 4 p.m. Career Services will be serving up free popusas and horchata, which are traditional Salvadorian food and drink.

This informational session is open to all students who are interested in learning more about this opportunity.

During the info session, career services will provide cost details and a break down of the program, including deadlines and requirements.

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Students offered internship opportunity in El Salvador, includes private house, in-house chef