Many people know that the International Rescue Committee's refugee clients and other clients who have survived conflict and persecution come from various parts of the world. What is less known is that some of our volunteer assistants in the office occasionally come from other countries as well. The following is an interview with Seleyna Milliot and Dorian Hostain, two standout volunteers who came from the University of Poitiers in France to serve the IRC's Turlock and Modesto offices from April 2019 through June 2019. Dorian and Seleyna, who earned their bachelor's degrees in business this past year and plan to start earning master's degrees in marketing in September, used their skills to benefit refugee clients in the Central Valley.
The following profile is taken from an interview with IRC intern Maria Rico.
Seleyna: Hello my name is Seleyna Milliot. I’m 21 years old and I volunteered with the IRC for three months.
Dorian: My name is Dorian, I live in France and I volunteered with the IRC for three months.
What made you want to join the IRC?
Dorian: I found the organization through a webpage that matches applicants with other NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and allows people to see which ones are the best match for them.
Seleyna: Dorian mentioned the position to me, and since we were both business majors, we were in search for an internship that would help us gain more experience in our majors.
What was your role, and what were your main duties with the IRC?
Seleyna: I helped run the IRC Turlock/Modesto Facebook page, along with working with the resettlement and placement department, helping people with job logs, and working with (immigration caseworker) Monica Contreras to help input data for immigration services.
Dorian: I had similar roles with Seleyna. I also helped with job applications and immigration services. We also helped with donations, such as helping deliver donated goods to families in need.
How did your role in the IRC help the organization?
Seleyna: We mainly helped the organization by making sure things are running smoothly in the office, like opening mail and organizing important documents. We both reminded clients about any appointments.
Were there any challenging or new things that you’ve never done while working with them?
Seleyna: I’ve had some experience working at an internship (at a French nonprofit that helps make science understandable), but this position had me do different activities from my previous internship. (In my previous internship), I wasn't really able to see how my work was helping people, which I really wanted to do, whereas at the IRC I would see that in immigration, the clients I called to make sure that they knew they had an appointment were scheduled for an oath ceremony later on, for example. In employment, we saw that clients who were looking for a job were finally employed. And at the IRC, I had contact with clients through phone calls, at the reception, and even face to face. ... At the IRC, I felt like I was part of a team and I felt like I was actually making a difference.
Dorian: The most challenging thing for me was the language. I had to keep practicing my English for the position.
Did you accomplish any personal goals you had during your time at the IRC?
Seleyna: Yes, having been accepted to this (volunteer experience) helped me gain more experience with my field of study, especially now that I am going to be getting my master's degree in marketing.
Dorian: It has helped me accomplish some personal goals of mine like being able to help people in some way.
Did you feel like you learned a lot from this experience?
Seleyna: Working with the IRC has helped us change our perception of the world. We were able to meet new people, learn about them, and learn about new languages.
Dorian: It made me realize (there is) huge diversity found here in California, which I don’t usually see back in France.
Want to get involved as a volunteer in the IRC's Turlock and Modesto offices? Sign up today at https://www.rescue.org/volunteer-opportunities/turlock-ca