It has been about six months since I have written an entry, and that can only mean that I was in school, limiting my traveling, and getting stuff done! I am now enjoying my summer in an exciting place that I’m falling in love with, particularly because of the beautiful people I’m meeting.
I’m currently living in Saint Louis and having the time of my life! Not only is this the first time I can enjoy my relationship with my boyfriend longer than a few days at a time, but I have THE best internship. I am currently volunteering at the International Institute of Saint Louis (IISTL) as an Employment Specialist and loving every minute of it. The IISTL is about 100 years old and works to provide immediate and crucial services to refugees, such as medical assistance, citizenship, English classes, and employment, my department. In the employment department, our main goal is to provide EVERY refugee that comes to the institute with a stable job. We train them by providing “Job Readiness” classes, interview practices, resume building, and completing their applications and paperwork for them. Some of the skills we provide them with even include “Housekeeping” skills. We have a mock-hotel room where we teach those who are interested in housekeeping positions how to clean and make beds the “American” way! This four-day class is actually a lot of fun! I’m improving my own cleaning skills 😉
Many of those who come to us have always lived in refugee camps, thus hold very few skills. However, they are capable of attaining jobs because of their incredible work ethic and invaluable hope in they hold in future. Some of our clients do have high education levels and were only refugees for a small period of time, but the hope they place in us is all the same. What makes a lot of our work easy is that the IISTL has a list of hundreds of employers with whom we partner with, and these companies are always willing to provide our clients with work.
I meet with several clients every day, helping them with whatever it is they need from me, whether it is an interview practice, resume building, or explaining to them Home Land Security laws and regulations. I decided to remain in the United States this summer because I can’t seem to figure out what I want to do with my life by constantly traveling the world; the world is coming to me now. Every hour at my desk, I meet with people from all over the globe: Nepal, the Congo, Syria, Cuba, Rwanda, Pakistan, Zimbabwe…these are just the few countries that I can think of at the top of my head. Granted, I do need to call a translator during most of my meetings, because I do not speak Arabic or Swahili, although I really wish I did. Nevertheless, simply meeting with these wonderful people, who were recently refugees of their own country, now sitting well groomed at my desk, smiling and waiting for me to give them the next step to their acculturation into our society, is an amazing feeling.
What rewards me most of my job is knowing how much we value individual lives. Despite the mess we’ve made of this world, God’s hand in helping us reprimand our wrongdoings and even improving upon our previous conditions, is spectacular to see each day at work. I’m very excited to see what else lands on my desk 🙂