I recently received a message from a former student of mine who was accepted to the University of Chicago law school. What an accomplishment! I am happy for her, and I was happy to read how she connected her own success with Spanish community service learning (CSL):
"I also wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your course and the Spanish & Illinois program. Not only was it something that I was able to speak about during interviews, but it also sparked my interest in immigration law and working with the Latino community. University of Chicago has a really interesting Immigrant Child Advocacy Project, and I hope to work there during my time at school."
Many students who never take a CSL course are also successful, of course. Still, I was happy to see that CSL can give students a leg up in interviews. There are so many things that they can reference in their interviews: using their Spanish with native speakers, working in a professional context, succeeding in a multicultural work environment, tackling challenging situations, overcoming personal doubts, doing research about immigration policies and connecting them to individual's situations, etc.
I'm also very happy that one more professional will soon enter the workforce who can speak Spanish and is sensitive to the issues (and the facts, not the hype!) about immigrants' lives.