How did you find your internship?
I knew I was interested in helping immigrant populations while also putting my language skills to use so I did some online research to find agencies in Austin that would support this endeavor. Refugee Services of Texas stood out to me as an “in” to the behind-the-scenes world of a currently hotly-debated issue.
Describe the work you did in your internship.
I was an intern for the Social Adjustment Services section of RST. I had the full responsibilities of a full-time employee which included meeting regularly with refugee clients face-to-face, accessing their situation, and collaborating with local and state resources to get them the help they needed in adjusting to their new environment. One of my projects was to seek out apartments in Austin for housing refugee families and create a working list of available spaces.
What was the most rewarding aspect of your Connecting Experience?
Being a welcoming and helpful face to those who are fleeing their homelands while simultaneously figuring out that I enjoy working with refugee populations. In this day and age, as global forced displacement has hit an all-time high, I believe that my passion for fighting against xenophobia is well-needed.
In what ways has this Connecting Experience shaped your plans for the future?
I now am more confident than ever that I want to work with displaced populations whether it is here in the United States or abroad in France. I am currently working on becoming fully fluent in French and Arabic so I can expand my opportunities for working with refugees. As my duties were similar to those of a social worker, I have begun to look at social work in an entirely different light and would not rule that out as a future career path.