What is the housing like?
Your own room living with a local family is what we try and steer you towards. If you have already done that and once we get to know you, via our phone or Skype chat that happens after you apply, and includes checking your references, and you don’t want that option we can discuss.
Like in the US, the picture of families abroad varies from nuclear couple with a dog and two kids to a single mom to an older couple whose kids are out of the house to a recently married couple with no kids. The gig is that they will provide meals for you and do your laundry once a week, things you would do on your own if you choose to live in an apartment with other students. Your language level will soar living with a family and you will learn to eat things that you won’t see on any restaurant menu. They will look out for you and will follow your lead: if you want to come to a family BBQ and have dessert Fridays, so be it; it you come out of your room only to shower or to head out the door, so be it. As long as you are respectful always, you call the shots in terms of how involved or not you will be with your host family.
Are there some suggested internship fields or sectors that are better for gap year students?
This is a tough question. So much of the experiential learning that will happen in this program takes place outside of the actual 4 hour per day internship. So, what the internship is really is only a top priority if you have such an overriding passion for it that it is the only reason you are going abroad. We have not found that to be true in the majority of our gap student’s communications with us.
For example, we had one gap candidate who was deferring enrollment into Middlebury College to work very specifically on an Ecology placement that had to do with a specific seed and spice and its origins! In this case, we will work hard to place in that passion.
Typically however gap candidates don’t have a lot of work experience, they just know what they like and what they don’t. We place them in small to mid sized companies, like everyone else, but with a focus on a youthful corporate culture: think Travel Agencies and Tourism, Teaching English, Social Media & Marketing, working with kids.
They intern for 20 hours per week, what do they do with the rest of their time?
Get out and about!! Successful candidates get busy: they will sign up for weekly groups that interest them (think extreme Frisbee, or cooking or flamenco or more language classes); they will join a gym or find a bike / running / skating path to take regularly; they will meet a boyfriend/ girlfriend (!); they will ask a lot of questions to their Adelante Directors and Intern Advisers in-country. Most of our cities are capital cities with long and storied histories, including a generous nightlife and daily options for culture grazing and absorbing.
What if I choose to live in a shared apartment and don’t get along with my roommates, and / or are roommates guaranteed?
So, this really goes to the heart of a big part of this program: it is not a group program. Rather a customized internship placement program. Further, unlike say a study abroad program, where everyone starts and ends on the same date, with Adelante we have not only rolling start dates but also different length programs. So, you might start in February and do a 4 month program, and your roommate might have started in January and is only participating for 3 months.
This is a really valid thing to really study: are you going to do fine regardless of if you have a roommate the entire time and for your exact dates, or if you have a roommate you might not get along with. These are things that Adelante can in no way control, nor do we want to. Is it really wonderful when you have a perfectly soul-mated roommate for the duration? Yes, no denying it. But what you are paying for with the housing component is your own room in safe, centrally located, clean housing that is under a 40 minute commute to your work assignment.