“The enrichment my kids received from hosting an amity intern is something that can’t be measured,” Jenny Voeltz explained. “The cultural learning that happens when you host an intern is one of the most rewarding aspects.” Voeltz and her family hosted an intern from Spain as a part of the Spanish Immersion program at Ellen Hopkins Elementary a few years ago.
Moorhead Area Public Schools has over 300 K-6 grade students enrolled in the Spanish Immersion program. The program helps students understand Spanish as fluently as their first language. Over the past three years, the program has had the help of Amity interns. Amity interns are students working towards an education degree whose first language is Spanish. They are working to improve their teaching skills and represent their language and culture. Interns perfect their own English skills by spending the year immersing themselves in the U.S. culture and English language.
When Voeltz first thought about hosting an intern, their family had many questions that went through their minds. Will the room be good enough? Will they blend with your family? What level will their English be at? “We hit the jackpot,” Voeltz said. “Núria joined our household and within a day, our uncertainty was gone.”
Spanish Immersion interns are hosted by local families in much the same fashion as high school foreign exchange students. Host families are pivotal to the success of the program. The interns pay their own way to Moorhead and receive a monthly stipend for expenses from Ellen Hopkins PTAC. Hosts provide housing, meals and transportation so interns can focus on the tasks of their internship. Host families and interns both expand their knowledge of the other’s culture.
Jessica Rieniets, the instructional coach for Spanish Immersion, has found recruiting the interns easier than securing host families. The community can support the amazing work of the Amity Interns for the Spanish Immersion program by opening their homes. Hosts and interns may develop a long-lasting exchange of friendship and hospitality.
Voeltz explained, “The only warning I have for those interested in hosting is that the intern becomes family to you. So when they leave, it’s hard to say goodbye.” The Voeltz family had such a positive experience, they have hopes of hosting another intern in the future.
Families and couples interested in hosting next year’s interns can find out more about the Moorhead program and hosting opportunities, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.