Community Interpreter Internship with the VU Law School Clinics

Designed in 2001 by Professors Beth Lyon of the Villanova Law School Clinics and Mercedes Juliá, Professor of Spanish of the Department of Romance Languages, the Spanish Internship offers a unique experience to students interested in helping the Hispanic Community by translating and interpreting for student lawyers. The program is very much at the core of what Villanova University is all about: learning while also giving of yourselves to others. Many students have participated in the Internship Program during these past years and have found the experience very worthwhile and stimulating.

To help students become fluent in Spanish, by translating and interpreting for student lawyers, while helping members of the Philadelphia Hispanic Community.

To express publicly, through service and scholarship the Villanova University's commitment to promoting social justice and the common good for all.

To serve the poor and marginalized members of the community through service and scholarship in recognition of the words of St. Thomas of Villanova: "The Lord hear the cry of the poor."

The Spanish Internship Program maintains the academic integrity of the Liberal Arts and Sciences curriculum through careful planning and by providing uniform requirements and careful supervision.


                                       Internship participants with Dr. Julio Villa-García
Rosa Altomare (Fall ’13)
The internship has already taught me so much. It is giving me the chance to use and improve my Spanish skills, as well as the chance to help people who need it. I feel useful and I am beginning to grasp how critical my Spanish education will be throughout the rest of my life, in my professional and personal endeavors. Spanish allows me to communicate with an entire population of people with whom I might otherwise be unable to communicate. At the law clinic, I am able to combine my love for the Spanish language with my passion for helping others. Serving as a client interpreter is a big responsibility, but it is one that I take very seriously and I am grateful for this opportunity to apply my Spanish to real situations and learn in the process! The faculty members, mentors, and law students have been helpful and approachable and have enriched my experience thus far. This internship is making me a more confident, competent Spanish major and it is testing my ability to face unfamiliar situations with both courage and confidence. 

Michelle Vélez (Fall ’13)
The challenge and responsibility of the Spanish Interpreter Internship for the Villanova Law Clinic is what makes it such an incredible opportunity. Every day I am challenged to learn new technical vocabulary, converse with new clients, and hone my translating precision. I am also presented with the realities of the struggles faced by Spanish-speaking immigrants in the United States which underscores the great responsibility I have to the clients. These unique experiences have brought out the best of my Spanish abilities and inspired me to learn more about immigration issues.

Who is eligible to apply for the program?
Undergraduate students, with advanced Spanish language proficiency, juniors or seniors, matriculated in Villanova University, and with a grade point average of at least 3.0

Can I intern more than once?
A student might accumulate a total of (15) academic credits on their transcript, making it possible over a four semester period and a summer to have more than one internship experience. It is recommended, however, not to repeat the same internship. The Spanish Internship will count (3 credits) towards the Spanish Major and/or Minor.  Repeats will count only as electives.

How do I earn academic credit for my field of work?
You will be granted three credits in Spanish upon satisfactory completion of the program requirements. These credits are course equivalent and can be part of the courses toward your minor or major in Spanish. The course will appear on your transcript. You need not make up additional courses to graduate. Internships are graded S/U

What are the benefits of this program?
The Spanish Internship allows students with excellent command of Spanish to use it in the Community, while gaining professional experience. Besides personal growth, students gain professional work experience and acquire valuable job contacts.

How do I apply for the Spanish internship?
You need to contact Dr. Tomás Hidalgo, who is the current director of the program, and make an appointment. The director will assess your language proficiency and determine whether you qualify for the program. The Director will give you the application form and will provide guidance regarding the process. See below for an application form.

Are there deadlines?
Normally one registers for the Internship as with any other course. However, the application process should be undertaken as early in the previous semester as possible.

Whom do I contact for more information?
To learn more please contact:

Spanish Internship Application

* 2018 Spanish Internship Application Form.pdf
2018 Spanish Internship Application