Connecting Learning to Life

During my internship at the No More a Stranger Foundation, which is a non-profit Immigration Law Firm sponsored by BYU Legal Clinic, I communicated with many spanish speakers while gathering documentation and filling out legal applications for citizenship and green cards. 

The following screenshots are just a couple examples of the many communications, over text and over the phone, thatI had in Spanish with our clients.

I currently do freelance translation work and after graduating I'm planning on making my own translation business. I mainly specialize in legal document translation (passports, birth certificates, etc.) and here I've included a couple examples of my work, with the sensitive information redacted. My translations set me apart because I'm able to maintain so much of the original documents' formatting.

I've kept in touch with my spanish-speaking friends that I've met during my travels in Spain, Argentina, and the United States through social media, which has helped me to maintain and better my basic conversation skills.

Attached are a few screenshots of conversations I've had with some of my friends.

I've always loved music, and the following is an excerpt of a poem that I wrote in both English and Spanish.

Light / La Luz

With light, and love, and peace, the stars

I wonder how I can change each beating of my heart.

So that I can feel my true birthright...

My father’s sweet divinity

Shining through tonight. 

Con la luz, la paz, yo, y el sol

Me pregunto cómo cambiar mi corazón.

Para que pueda sentir el amor que me da

Mi padre divino,

Esta noche de estrellas.

    Arguably the most important part of graduating with a college degree is the ability to apply your education to what matters in the “real world” so to speak. If I am not able to connect all that I’ve learned to my activities that will surround me for the rest of my life, what is the point? Because of this, I’ve put in a lot of effort while getting my undergrad in thinking about the future, and how my studies in Spanish will be a significant part of it. For example, I plan on going to law school and being a bilingual lawyer... perhaps immigration law, or at least something that will allow me to use both of my languages to help other people. I also plan on starting a translation business in the meantime before I go because it’s something I rather enjoy and that I think I’m rather good at. Because I’ve had these two goals in mind for a long time, I searched and found specific experiences that would help me learn more about and achieve what I wanted post-graduation. 

    For example, I included the correspondence between myself and clients of the No More a Stranger Foundation because that was one of the first experiences I had after my service mission where I was able to help people with Spanish. I realized how important of a skill it was to have, and how necessary it is to help people in really challenging circumstances. I was able to expose myself more to the field of immigration law and I found I really liked it. Because of this experience, I also pushed myself to learn more and branch out. In doing so, my internship coordinator introduced me to another lawyer who I worked for the following summer. It wasn’t immigration law, but I was able to learn a lot more about many different ways I could help people by being a bilingual lawyer. I saw the possibilities were endless.

    But, I also knew that I wouldn’t be going to law school for a couple years, so I needed something to occupy me in the meantime. During my internship with the immigration law firm, I learned how to do legal document translations and found I was rather good at it. I did it for free for a while and then after my internship ended I decided to start freelancing. I included a few examples of translations that I’ve done since, and I keep getting better and better. I continued to learn about translation in multiple courses I’ve taken at BYU (specifically SPAN 360 and SPAN 323R) that have helped me improve immensely in my translations.

    I included for my artifacts some examples of my use of Spanish in my personal and creative life. Because I’ve been blessed to travel and meet many wonderful people of different cultures, I’m able to still stay in contact with many of them because I’ve learned Spanish. The way I speak when communicating with old friends is very different and far too casual in an academic or professional setting, but I think it is important to retain colloquial conversation skills even if they are not common in the classroom. Additionally, I’ve loved writing songs and poems my whole life and being able to explore my creativity in another language has been incredibly challenging and fun at the same time. The poem I included in my artifacts was the first piece of art I’d ever written in Spanish, and I wrote it shortly after my return from my study abroad in Madrid, Spain.

    I’m grateful I was able to find so many different and unique ways to connect my learning to my professional and personal life while at BYU. The department offers many different and incredible opportunities such as study abroad programs, internships, and clubs that can all help students think of life after graduation and be able to have experiences now that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

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