International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Vocational ESL Internship



Founded in 1933, the International Rescue Committee is a leading, non-sectarian non-profit organization providing emergency relief, protection, rehabilitation assistance, resettlement services, and advocacy for refugees and victims of oppression or violent conflict.



As one of the IRC’s 22 domestic resettlement offices, the IRC San Jose office works to assist refugees in rebuilding their lives and reuniting families in Santa Clara County. Since opening its doors in 1979, the San Jose office has served as the gateway to over 20,000 refugees, who through their own unique cultures and talents, have helped to build a stronger community.  A committed staff of professionals and volunteers provide essential resettlement services to refugee families, providing them with the resources and tools to start over and regain control of their lives.  Services include meeting basic needs, orientation, referrals to local resources, job placement and community participation activities.



The Vocational ESL (VE) Intern will assist staff to coordinate the logistics for English classes, computer training, and tutoring to newly arrived refugees. The VE intern pairs volunteers with students and ensures volunteers have the applicable lesson plans for the client. The VE intern will coordinate with the ESL instructor to make sure that classroom topics are continued in the tutoring session. Other activities include ensuring refugees update their portfolios and job logs and volunteers complete hour logs and weekly evaluations.


The VE intern will also work one-on-one with refugees assisting with job searches, applying for positions electronically or in person, coordinating interview logistics, and creating resumes and cover letters.



12 to 15 hours per week for three months, with a courtesy notice of two weeks prior to leaving the organization. Tentative start and end date is November 5 to January 14.



·     Supplement IRC’s daily vocational ESL classes

·     Develop materials and resources for ESL lessons

·     Reinforce vocational ESL vocabulary and usage through employment activities and interview practice

·     Monitor client progress and participation by maintaining program records and client portfolios

·     Guide volunteers in daily activities assisting clients with ESL tutoring or job development

·     Provide public transportation, community, and U.S. cultural orientations through immersion activities in the field

·     Support client progress toward integration and self-sufficiency by reinforcing IRC policies in early employment and regular participation

·     Perform outreach and identify community resources to refer clients to for additional assistance

·     Regularly communicate and update IRC staff on client progress and priorities for program success and to provide comprehensive services to clients

·     Other related duties as assigned.



·     Professionalism and competency of U.S. work culture and customs

·     Understanding of the benefits of early employment for recently resettled refugees for financial self-sufficiency and community integration

·     Ability to work in a highly diverse environment with clients of different cultures, social groups, and political opinions

·     Ability to work independently or with minimal supervision from Volunteer Coordinator, as well as demonstrated leadership skills to guide volunteers

·     Strong computer skills and networking abilities

·     Investment in IRC history, mission statement, and work

·     Commitment to IRC employment policies

·     Proficiency in foreign languages highly valued

·     Valid driver’s license and vehicle registration and insurance



·     Interns will get hands-on experience dealing with the practical aspects of helping newly arrived refugees regain control of their lives and become self-sufficient members of their new community.

·     Your work has a direct, positive impact on refugees living in the San Jose area.  You can help somebody get their first job, become comfortable and productive within a new society.

·     You will gain a comprehensive overview and hands on experience with refugee resettlement.

·     You will interact with refugees and learn about diverse cultures.

·     You will gain strong resume and interview preparation skills.

·     You will be exposed to entry-level managerial duties.

·     Good opportunity for people interested in a career in refugee resettlement, social work, employment counseling, nonprofit administration, human rights advocacy.



Apply by sending your cover letter and resume to Volunteer Coordinator, Catherine Ngo, at Title document “Vocational ESL Intern Application”. Applications are due October 29.


* Cover letters should clearly state your time availability, which includes 1) a specific,  projected start and end date, 2) the number of hours you are available each week, and 3) the days and times in which you are available.