From Refugee to Refugee Resettlement Intern

It’s my second week in Washington, D.C and first full week in this great Capital City. There’s so much to share but I’ll try to keep it short so that you don’t get bored. Before I share about what transpired this week, I would like to first tell a little story about what was going through my mind today. I was walking through the streets of DC like I’m a local (and know where I’m going) and I was just thinking of how far I’ve come from the first day that my family and I were resettled in Canada as Refugees.

We arrived when I was 18 years old and with no High School education. I didn’t know the difference between a secondary and post-secondary education, undergraduate and graduate studies, but all I knew is I wanted to go to College one day. Fast forward to nearly 8 years later, I still don’t have a High School, but I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration – Management and I’m excited to start my Graduate Studies at the University of Saskatchewan in Masters of International Trade, an online program as I continue to focus here in Washington, D.C and building my career along the way. If I haven’t said it yet, I am forever grateful to the Almighty for his continuous guidance, protection and blessings upon my life.

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As a former Refugee, it is with great honor and humbleness to have the position of Refugee Resettlement Intern with Migration and Refugee Services (MRS) in Arlington, VA. Even though every Refugee has their own unique stories, hardships and why they left their home countries, I can relate because my family and I were also resettled as Refugees (But in Canada). The first week of work was mainly orientation of the different products and services that MRS offers in order to help Refugees resettle and become self-sufficient in the US. I am with another fellow Intern who’s from Gibraltar which is a British Territory located on Spain’s South Coast. We learned about Employment, Housing, Schooling and what takes place during the application process to be resettled in US. Everyone was so welcoming and excited to have us in the office to help with the resettlement process. We watched some employment interviews and program registrations take place and it was a very informative process. On Tuesday we handed school bags and supplies from the office to children from kindergarten to grade 12. It was an honor to meet the parents and students who some of them are still in the process of resettling.

In the upcoming days, weeks and months, my fellow Intern and I will be working closely with Refugees in helping them with school registrations and supplies, house finding before they even land in the country and also picking them up from the airport. We will also be helping with employment finding. As someone who has been in same position, this is a dream come true position and I thank God for this opportunity to give back to my full knowledge and abilities. I can’t wait for the day that we will go and take up a family from the airport, oh what an emotional day. As these Refugees are coming from all different background and situations in life, I’m most looking forward to being there to listen and offer support when needed. I am in the right place and this is surly something which I would love to continue as part of my career. It is my desire and life long calling to reach out to humanity in all ways possible. Some of them are coming with extensive education and experience, whereas, others are starting from the very bottom and l look forward to helping them with love, care and compassion.

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Our week concluded by going for our first field trip to the Embassy of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It was great to learn about the country’s history, Middle East conflict, US relations, and the current Refugee crisis.

I kindly ask you to stay tuned for next week’s blog post for more exciting sharing. Food for thoughts: No matter your current or past situation, you’re born to achieve greatness as long you work hard and don’t give up. Whether or not your story is worse than mine of being a former Refugee, the past is the past and you can choose to work towards a better future for yourself, family and humanity. My life was and hasn’t always been easy, but I keep on thanking God and looking to the bright side of every situation for I believe things will go better because he makes everything possible as long we do our parts.

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