Beyond Our Differences
(Written By Mary Yang)
Each day at IRC was different: some would be spent inside the office, while others would consist of a flurry of medical appointments, social security applications, school enrollments, etc. In between days in the office and days of field work, I came to understand how much the refugees truly had in common with us, despite having lived in different countries. When they first arrived, they, too, were concerned about having a roof over their heads, food to put on the table, and medical care for their children. They, too, wanted to get on their feet as quickly as possible and find a job to support their families. The difference is that while we take these basic necessities for granted, many refugee families cannot navigate the process alone due to language and cultural barriers. I found their stories to be touching: even after losing their homes, they still had strong spirits, hope for the future, and fervent devotion to their families.
I am also grateful to have learned invaluable lessons from the staff and employees at the IRC in Dallas. Their work pace never seems to slows down, yet they each found the time to teach me the essentials of resettlement and how to better communicate with our clients. I was especially impressed and touched by the resettlement team, for without their hard work and devotion, these refugee families would face many more difficulties and struggles in their journey to a new life here. As a team should, we helped each other through the deadlines, the frustrations, and the true fulfillment of working with such a multicultural set of clients.
To say that my internship was a “great experience” would be an understatement. I truly believe that this summer has done much to broaden my perspectives on social and humanitarian work, and also taught me how care, compassion, and love can transcend language and cultural barriers.