Savvy college grads have really begun to see their bridge year, the year after graduation but before work begins, as a great time to enhance the resume. If you can increase your fluency in a foreign language and gain some valuable work experience at the same time, you really cannot go wrong. When you start applying for jobs you really want to stand out from the crowd, and this kind of experience can give you the edge.
Increasingly, people are seeing real benefit by attending Spanish schools in South America. If you are looking to learn Spanish quickly, you can definitely benefit from choosing to study Spanish abroad. Spanish schools in South America are an immersion experience and provide their students with a great deal of cultural exposure. These are world-class opportunities that you are unlikely to find elsewhere.
Soon America will be home to more Spanish speakers than anywhere in the world other than Mexico. For this reason, an ability to speak fluent Spanish will become increasingly important in the workplace. Additional benefits of spending one’s bridge year at Spanish schools in South America include networking opportunities. In today’s competitive job market any advantage can be a big advantage.
There are organizations available that specialize in bridge year programs geared towards students looking to study Spanish abroad. Such programs include a 16 week adventure in Argentina, Chile, and Peru. Yet, it is not all studying and course work in Spanish schools in South America. These beautiful countries, of course, have a considerable amount to offer in culture rich activities and just good old-fashion fun. Tango dancing in Buenos Aires is only the tip of what you can do in this fast-paced cosmopolitan city. Likewise, Chile is loaded with natural wonders to explore and such fun activities as wine tasting, which will never get old.
When you are choosing a Spanish school in South America be sure to find one that seeks to make sure that students have amazing travel experiences while they study Spanish abroad. As Jerry Wang of Texas expressed, "The social component of the trip is the best part of the whole experience. In 5 months, I've met about 200 people, ranging from 19-65 yrs old. There were students, pilots, dean's of universities, teachers, VPs of companies, small business owners, tons of lawyers, etc. from all over the world. The relationships I've built are lifelong and we continue to keep in touch.”
Another important factor to look for in Spanish language schools in South America is whether or not internships are offered. The bridge year is the opportune time to boost the resume with an internship. Internships in South America can vary considerably. They can range from marketing internships to internships in social work to everything in between. You could find a six-month program where three months are spent learning Spanish and three months are spent working on an internship. Generally, programs begin in mid-June and end in mid-December. If you can gain an internship experience and Spanish fluency, your time abroad can provide lifelong dividends.
While it is true that the internships don’t come with any pay, the upside is that the cost of living is very low in Peru, Argentina and Chile when compared to the cost of living in the United States. You will have no need for a car while other expenses such as housing, food and expenses such as nights out are a fraction of what they are in the States.
Approaching your bridge year, as a time to increase your résumé’s “punch” is an idea that is garnering more and more attention from college graduates all the time. Spending a few months in exciting locations like Buenos Aires, for example, is definitely a reward that most college graduates (even those who already partied a little too much) will feel that they have earned. Whether you are wine tasting or snowboarding in Chile or enjoying big-city life in an amazing city like Buenos Aires, studying Spanish abroad can likely be an experience that you will never forget. And all the while you can be putting in those graduate school applications and even applying for jobs while you are in South America. The fact that your application is arriving from out of the country, as you study at one of the Spanish schools in South America, is enough on its own to make your application stand out to potential employers or graduate school admission officers.