My name is Meg Keiser and I am a senior at Whitman. I am a sociology major with minors in psychology and Hispanic Studies. This school year I have the opportunity to intern for Hernandez Immigration Law in Walla Walla. After I returned from studying in Spain last semester, I wanted an opportunity to continue using my knowledge of the Spanish language, as well as continue exploring a career in law and getting involved in the community. My internship at Hernandez Immigration Law has blended my interests flawlessly, and I get to use skills I already have as I develop new ones to complement them.
Alongside the attorneys and staff members at Hernandez Immigration Law, I have had the opportunity to complete translations of official documents, letters to clients, and statements from clients, as well as interpret verbally. Although I am not 100 percent fluent in Spanish, I have found that both the people I work with, and the clients I interact with have been nothing but patient and understanding. While interpreting for a client one day, I stumbled on my words and apologized, but he remarked that it was okay, and that it happened to him frequently when he spoke English. I found this conversation gratifying, because at the end of the day, we are all human and make mistakes, and it is important to approach all situations and people with kindness.
One of the most rewarding parts of this internship so far has been hearing stories from clients and learning about their immigration journeys. I am often tasked with translating statements from clients to accompany their citizenship applications, and it has been enriching to hear the different stories and different reasons for immigrating for the law firm’s clients. It is fulfilling to know that I am able to be a part of their immigration journey, even if I am just translating their story.
In addition to using (and making mistakes with!) my Spanish, I assist the attorneys and paralegals with client applications, participate in staff meetings, and work on special projects as they come up. Although this internship has not come without challenges, it makes it that much more rewarding. I am by no means an expert in immigration law, and still have lots to learn, but I love coming to my internship every Tuesday and Thursday knowing that I am going to learn something new and have a new experience. As a year long Whitman Internship Grant recipient, I have a whole other semester to continue learning and getting to know my co-workers and members of the Walla Walla Community.
Experiences like Meg’s are made possible by the Whitman Internship Grant, which provides funding for students to participate in unpaid internships at both for-profit and non-profit organizations. To learn how you could secure a Whitman Internship Grant or host a Whitman intern at your organization, click here or contact Assistant Director for Internship Programs Mitzy Rodriguez