By Alexi Lund
Saint Mary’s University alum, Desiree Caballero, was offered an opportunity to utilize her Spanish and Human Services majors in Spain where she is currently volunteering and working as a nanny since graduation in December 2012.
During Caballero’s final semester at SMU, she was introduced to the family for whom she is currently an au pair. According to Caballero, in Spain she, met them and they expressed interest in having someone like her return with their family and speak in English to their three children.”
“I was really interested in traveling to Spain and knew this was a unique opportunity and that I would have time in the mornings and weekends to volunteer and to continue practicing my Spanish,” said Caballero.
Caballero is currently volunteering in Malaga, Spain. Besides working as an au pair, she is also volunteering with two organizations: Protección Civil (Civil Protection) and Cruz Roja Española (The Spanish Red Cross). “I selected these two organizations because they fit well with my Human Services and Spanish majors,” said Caballero.
In protección civil the main objective is prevention of emergencies; Caballero works at various arenas like soccer games, basketball games, concerts, street markets, fairs, etc.
On top of volunteering and being a nanny, Caballero teaches beginning English to two adults, one-on-one in her spare time.
Caballero arrived in Spain on January 31, 2013, where she began working as a nanny and giving English courses right away. She said it it took two months to complete the interview processes and necessary courses for her to become enrolled as a volunteer in two formal organizations.
Caballero has always been an active volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and her local food pantry. She has a desire to help others and to work together to make things more desirable for everyone. “Volunteering is a unique experience in which not only do you help others but you can learn a lot about other people and the different circumstances have in one way or another effected their life,” said Caballero.
Caballero’s time at SMU has been significant in this process. Her professors and advisor have each helped Caballero in a different way. “Professor Robeson, my Human Services advisor, helped me a lot to learn how to work-speak with others in a formal way and to complete service work to find my interests, and Dr. Reed as well as Dr. Black both encouraged traveling as well, as a way to continue practicing Spanish,” said Caballero.
Caballero said, “Traveling and volunteering don’t have to go hand in hand, but for me and my desire to practice Spanish at the same time, going to Spain was a perfect opportunity to do both.”