A second language will not only provide a wider variety of career options, but it can also give you the opportunity to take your studies overseas.
We speak to Diploma of Languages* and Bachelor of Arts (International Studies) (now the Bachelor of International Studies) student Yasmine Ferrer to discuss learning a second language, and hear all about her recent experiences interning in Spain.
Why did you decide to do a Diploma of Languages alongside your international studies degree?
Well, I’ve always loved studying languages, so I was delighted to learn that I could continue my studies and expand my cultural learning at RMIT.
I’m currently learning Spanish and have joined RMIT’s Spanish Club. Being a part of this community is extremely invaluable. I’m able to socialise and practise my speaking skills with students of different backgrounds.
I think that learning a language will certainly assist me in my future career and provide me with more options further down the track.
You recently just got back from Madrid in Spain, where you were interning with a non-governmental organisation – an NGO. Tell us, where were you working and what were you working on?
In my third year of uni I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to complete an internship at an international NGO in Madrid.
I worked at Fundación Triángulo, an organisation that protects lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights not only in Spain, but also in Africa and Latin America.
We held support groups for women, transgender people and the LGBT youth of Madrid, and offered free psychological, legal and health services to those who required help but feared discrimination in more mainstream organisations.
I found myself working and writing for the foundation’s Africa LGBT project, discussing sexual health with the many people who called asking about our free HIV tests.
I was also involved in the Youth Association for the Foundation, where young people like my peers explore the many ways they can represent their community in a positive light.
It sounds like you were pretty heavily involved in a range of projects. What did you learn from this experience?
Interning at Fundación Triángulo has increased my knowledge of the LGBT community and has given me a greater appreciation for all the issues they have to overcome, simply in the hope that they can be comfortable with being themselves in the public light.
It has also deepened my appreciation for international emotional and fiscal support – without the help of Triángulo, many individuals and organisations in Latin America and Africa wouldn’t have been able to achieve so many of their goals.
For example, two young girls in Venezuela were able to organise an annual LGBT film festival while overcoming threats to their lives, due to the resources and protection of Fundación Triángulo and the community of Madrid.
What were some of the challenges you faced while interning overseas?
A lot of my work here had to be done without help from supervisors or superiors.
I had to show my initiative to work hard and demonstrate my resilience in difficult situations.
I am very proud of how far I have come since I have started here, and how many things I have learnt that will help me in my future career endeavours in this industry.
Story: Jordan Di Stefano