Employer: West Michigan Refugee Education and Cultural Center
Job Title: Intern
Major: International Relations
Received Credit: Yes
Description of the Organization
West Michigan Refugee Education and Cultural Center (WMRECC) is an organization based in Grand Rapids that works with refugee families to promote educational values, self-sufficiency and leadership among it's students. It's main program is Project Faulu (Succeed), an after-school tutoring program that aims to take a holistic approach, one that includes parents, school administrators and tutors, to help students achieve.
Description of the Tasks/Projects Completed
I worked directly with refugee students, as a tutor, I also provided transportation. I performed research about refugee resettlement, and problems with the refugee population in the United States and in Grand Rapids. Helped organize resources for the students, such as computer software, and book cataloging.
Skills/Knowledge Gained Through The Experience
This experience taught me a lot about a population I was very unfamiliar with even just a year ago. The things many refugees have gone through is horrendous, and their survival alone is remarkable. This experience taught me that while every population experiences different problems, and struggles, that they all want and deserve to be treated with equal respect, and noted for their contribution to our community.
Favorite Part of the Experience
My favorite part of this experience was seeing the kids semester-long projects. One of the students I worked with had created, completely out of cardboard, a hospital. She had done drawings of medical equipment and patients, and in it had described her desire to work in a hospital in the future. It was just very meaningful to see her work, and talk with her about college goals.
How the Experience Influenced Future Career Goals
Working with refugees both with this experience and others has become a passion of mine. I hope I can implement similar experiences in the future.