Recent Intern Experiences
"I started as an intern at the IRC during my last semester of college. My goal was to find an organization with a mission that resonated with my own desire to help people in any capacity, but what I found was far beyond my expectations. Between the devoted employees who treat everyone with a high level of respect and compassion, to the inspiring refugees I have had the opportunity to interact with, my experience with IRC has been invaluable.
One afternoon that was particularly memorable was when I went with two recently resettled Eritrean refugees to drop off applications at a department store in Alameda California. We started our journey from the Downtown Oakland IRC office and hopped on a nearby bus to transport us. As our bus passed through the tunnel into Alameda, the two refugees grew wide-eyed - Alameda's quaint neighborhoods were quite different from urban Oakland. Seeing both of their reactions to this area was quite moving for me. Both of them expressed complete shock and their desire to one day to own a house like the ones we were seeing. They started pretending they lived in the houses we passed and painted colorful pictures of what their lives would be like.
The reactions of both men throughout this trip made me think of what they have experienced in their lives compared to where they are now. Throughout the day we were able to ask one-another questions about our lives and experiences, and really got to know each other on a deeper level. Their inspiring stories, complemented by their humor and motivation to better their lives, were truly inspiring. Spending this afternoon out with these refugees was one of those moments in life when I felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be. IRC has provided me with an unforgettable eye-opening experience I will value the rest of my life."
- Sarah S. (2012 Employment Intern)
'My experience as an employment Intern at the IRC in Oakland has been life changing. Each person I meet has an inspiring backstory of their journey to resettle in the US. Many refugees I have met were my age, but told me stories as if they had already lived a lifetime. Their journeys are often heart breaking, but they themself are the strongest, most impressive people I know - they are so hopesful and optimistic. Working with people of such strength is truly inspiring."
- Tentje V. (2012 Resettlement Intern)
"I coordinated all of the donations for the IRC Northern California’s Thanksgiving Potluck Dinner in 2011. This is the largest event of the year for the IRC Northern California, and I had to provide food for over 150 refugees, asylees, IRC staff and volunteers. My role involved leading a team of volunteers and interns in contacting over 140 local businesses for in-kind food and raffle prize donations. The most meaningul part of the entire process was sitting down with a newly arrived Burmese family and sharing a hot meal with them the night of the event. They exuded joy and contentment throughout the entire yime, and seeing the impact my work had on this family was an incredible experience."
- Brett N. (2012 Development Intern)
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