During my senior year of college, I started volunteering at a local free clinic. I spent a few hours in the evening one night a week helping Spanish-speaking immigrants communicate with a local physician who was volunteering his time and skills. It was a life-changing experience. Those 3 hours every week changed the course of my life. I fell in love with medical interpreting and advocating for language access.
I knew medical interpreting was my dream career, so I dropped by last semester of student teaching and worked with my career center to secure an internship at a nearby hospital. Again, it was an unpaid opportunity, but provided me with valuable connections in the industry. I shadowed experienced interpreters for a month. They shared their knowledge with me and vouched for me when I applied for a job at their institution. I was one of very few people in my graduating class to have a job right after graduation.
Many language professionals start their careers by volunteering. Whether it be as part of a workgroup or volunteer interpreting. I highly recommend anyone interested in becoming an interpreter look for opportunities to volunteer their skills and network with professionals in the industry. Check out my video for other steps and tips on how to jumpstart your career.