Being bilingual is a great asset for students and future nutrition professionals. As a bilingual dietetics student, I am constantly searching for volunteer experiences that can use my skills and I have found it’s easier than you might think!
Join a Member Interest Group
Joining a MIG is not reserved for nutrition and dietetic technicians registered or registered dietitian nutritionists. Any members of the Academy can join, including dietetics students. There are a variety of MIGs, which are often culturally diverse, including the National Organization of Blacks in Dietetics and Nutrition (NOBIDAN), Indians in Nutrition and Dietetics (IND) and Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) to name a few. For Spanish-speaking students, there is the Latinos and Hispanics in Dietetics and Nutrition (LAHIDAN) MIG. If you follow these MIGs closely on social media, you will find that they are often looking for people to fill volunteer positions and are open to accepting students. MIGs will definitely appreciate a culturally competent and bilingual individual. As a Latina, I decided to join LAHIDAN and because of that, I was able to become their newsletter editor!
Use Social Media
My suggestion for bilingual dietetics students is to make a greater attempt at seeking out volunteer opportunities online, especially via social media. You can start by reaching out to bicultural or bilingual dietitians online, sharing your proficiency in a language and explaining how you can contribute to their business in a positive way. Joining Facebook groups is also a great way to come across bilingual volunteer opportunities, especially during this virtual time. Some RDNs are currently offering virtual summer internships with a bilingual emphasis, which are worth looking into!
Create a LinkedIn account
As an avid LinkedIn user, I suggest you make an account if you haven’t already. Many students are unaware of the nutrition volunteer and work opportunities posted on LinkedIn, plus the networking possibilities that are available. If you connect with and reach out to enough bilingual dietitians, anticipate coming across at least one volunteer opportunity. LinkedIn is also beneficial for professional development and future employment opportunities, so keep that in the back of your mind.
If you’re a dietetics student, you know how challenging it can be to secure nutrition-related volunteer and work experience. I was under a similar impression until recently when I was on Indeed looking for bilingual nutrition volunteer opportunities. Unsurprisingly, there is a great need for bilingual speakers in healthcare, so many of the work and volunteer opportunities I came across were looking for individuals who were bilingual. Due to current circumstances, most of the jobs and volunteer opportunities are remote and can be done from home. Many of these positions are nutrition-related and even include coveted virtual intern positions with RDNs.
Remember, these jobs and volunteer experiences look great on your resume. There are opportunities out there, you just need to be proactive!