SANTIAGO, Chile, March 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- As millions of college seniors around the world look to their upcoming graduation day with a mixture of excitement, confidence and trepidation, many know they will face stiff competition for jobs after receiving their degrees--and most are bracing themselves for the realities of full-fledged adulthood. But this summer, some college graduates will set aside the real world and the specter of unemployment for a little while longer, while gaining valuable language skills and work experience in Latin America. It's all thanks to Ecela, an immersive language-learning experience that combines South American travel, practical training and personal instruction, and its Bridge Year program.
During the Ecela bridge year, college graduates will live in Argentina, Chile and Peru for five months, from July 3 to December 17, 2016. In the first 12 weeks, students will live with local host families and take Spanish-language courses equivalent to five college semester courses. A sense of adventure will take students far: Ecela and its host families provide total immersion in the local culture, whether in the classroom, at the dinner table, at the marketplace in a centuries-old city, or trekking in the Andes.
The final two months of the Ecela bridge year are spent in an internship in students' field in Peru or Chile. Ecela guarantees an internship placement, though it cautions the program is not for students going into a highly technical field.
After the Ecela bridge year, students can expect to be at least conversationally fluent in Spanish. Those with high school and college Spanish courses under their belts could leave the program with native-speaker-level fluency.
The cost: Just $7,970, which includes instruction, lodging and meals for the first 12 weeks, round-trip airfare, and an appropriate internship placement. Graduates of the class of 2016 will receive a free flight, which is applied as a $1,070 tuition reduction, making the Ecela bridge year surprisingly affordable. Students can choose to stay with their host families during their internships or make other arrangements for lodging.
"I chose to study Spanish in Peru because I'd taken a little bit of Spanish in the past and I wanted to improve that and also travel," said Rachel Kiliena, a University of North Carolina Wilmington student. "I've met so many different people studying with me at Ecela. I have friends from Switzerland, Germany and Australia. . . . Class has been fabulous. The teachers are very encouraging. I've definitely improved upon my Spanish, not just learning in class, but also applying that to going outside [the classroom]."
To apply for the Ecela bridge year, students must have completed their college or university degree (or equivalent coursework) prior to July 3, 2016 and have completed at least three years of high-school Spanish or two semesters of college Spanish. The program is intended for those who anticipate Spanish will be necessary in their chosen careers or who have a desire to help Spanish-speaking people. To learn more and apply for the Ecela bridge year, go to http://ecelaspanish.com/bridge-year-fluency-internship/.
Ecela is a Spanish language-learning program with six sites in Peru, Chile and Argentina. Thousands of students from across the globe have taken advantage of the small classes and affordable tuition to learn Spanish while enjoying everything the local culture has to offer.
Corey Ann Seldon
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