SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Wofford College senior Leah Wilson learned first-hand about microfinance while also improving her Spanish-speaking skills in the business world during her January Interim internship in the Dominican Republic.

Wilson, an accounting and Spanish major from Union, South Carolina, interned with Esperanza International, a nonprofit microfinance firm.

“I wanted to learn more about microfinance because of an interest in sustainable ministry I developed from reading, volunteering and being mentored,” Wilson says. “Esperanza is particularly attractive because I studied abroad in the Dominican Republic and was blessed with many friends and a true appreciation for the culture, which gave me a heart to see the country flourish. I knew I wanted to give something back to the island that shared so much with me.

“I also wanted to sharpen my Spanish skills, and I speak and hear it all day, every day, so I am constantly learning,” she adds.

Wilson, who has participated in Wofford’s James-Atkins Student-Managed Investment Fund, helped Esperanza International evaluate personnel efficiency. “I (interviewed) many positions in various offices, directly observing multiple administrators and heading out into the field with the goal of completing a written report that breaks down what factors can indicate whether an administrator is overwhelmed and whether and how they could be trained or do their jobs more efficiently.”

After graduation, Wilson plans to intern in audit and assurance in a public accounting firm. She will begin Clemson University’s Master of Professional Accounting Program in the fall. “During that time, I also will study and sit for the CPA exam. After obtaining my master’s degree, I plan to work in public accounting to kickstart my career.”

Wofford’s January Interim frees students and faculty to spend the month focused on a single topic designed to push through the walls of the traditional classroom, explore new and untried topics, take academic risks, observe issues in action, develop capabilities for independent learning and consider different peoples, places and professional options. Students have the opportunity to study abroad; participate in local, national and international internships; conduct research; or participate in on-campus non-traditional courses.