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Summer interns reflect on their time at the IRC

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Interns offer myriad supports for the work of the IRC in Salt Lake City, helping build capacity and drive progress. Their efforts this summer have helped support programs and raised funds, all while working remotely. We would like to introduce you to a few of the committed interns who have helped with our ongoing response to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Summer interns reflect on their time at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Salt Lake City.
Chloe supported the employment team this summer helping job-seeking refugees create resumes and set up interviews. Photo: Courtesy of Chloe Loveland

Chloe Loveland, employment team intern

Working with the employment team this summer, Chloe helped connect newly arrived refugees with their first job in the U.S. Chloe faced a number of obstacles to hurdle, especially since communication with clients was entirely remote over the past months. She worked to find the best way to connect with refugee job seekers remotely, which included a lot of text messages for clarity and scheduling to keep refugees up to date. Throughout the summer, her proudest moment has been helping a refugee woman find her first job by helping her build a resume and apply for jobs. Chloe will be going back to school in the fall where she will continue her biology degree. Although her major and her internship choice seem separate, they stem from a similar passion. “I want to have a positive social impact that’s sustainable,” she said. This internship has taught her the “power in empowering,” as she put it.

Summer interns reflect on their time at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Salt Lake City.
Khalid supported the education team by connecting with parents, collecting important documents and filling backpacks with school supplies—all in preparation for the new school year. Photo: Courtesy of Khalid Moussa

Khalid Moussa, summer youth intern

Khalid is a youth intern placed with the education team through a partnership with Utah State University, supporting a broad range of activities that help serve over 300 refugee youth. “I help with whatever they need,” he says, which includes obtaining documents for school enrollment and making phone calls to parents to learn how they what was best for their child's education as the start of school will look very different in the fall. Khalid also enjoys assembling backpacks filled with school supplies—all materials donated by generous community supporters—to ensure refugee students are prepared for their new school year. However, his favorite part is all of the positive people he meets and the encouragement he receives. A refugee himself, he says: “[the IRC] helped me and I wanted to help them.” Plus, he loves education and teaching others. “Helping others is the best way to help yourself,” he shares. He has found that the IRC benefits from all of its teamwork and believes that working together is vital in all things. He plans to go into his senior year of high school this fall and then study engineering in college.

Aditi Krishnan, health promotion program intern

Aditi works with newly arrived refugees to help them build a better understanding of the U.S. healthcare system, which she notes can be confusing for anybody. During her internship, she built a curriculum for a virtual health class, which she leads. She appreciates that the health program doesn’t assume what any family needs and tailors their efforts to the individual. She’s especially engaged in global health, which she studies at her university, and she’s amazed to see the relevancy of her classes. Aditi enjoys working with people and has a strong desire to understand the needs of refugees to better inform health care providers. She explains how refugees are not helpless but live in fluctuating and challenging circumstances. “We would need just as much help...they’re just as human. They come to Salt Lake and lead lives just as similar as our own,” she says.

Summer interns reflect on their time at the International Rescue Committee.
Brooke supported the IRC's health program in an effort to help newly arrived refugee families to access the WIC program remotely. Photo: Courtesy of Brooke Tate

Brooke Tate, maternal & child health intern

Brooke supports access to the WIC (women, infants & children) program, which helps women and children access healthy food. She loved gaining experience at the IRC this summer. “I had the best mentor who was very helpful and taught me a lot about the IRC,” she says. The highlight for her was interacting with refugees in the program. “I did get to take a mother to an appointment and walk with her to the grocery store to show her how to use her WIC checks,” she shares. “It was fun to interact with her even with the language barrier.” She really enjoyed the intern fundraiser, too. “I have found that a lot of people want to know how they can help refugees,” Brooke says. “And this gave them an easy way to help.” Of the experience, she says: “[It] allowed me to learn more about how I can help now and in the future. You don't have to travel far to help someone in need.”

Summer interns reflect on their time with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Salt Lake City.
Amen has worked with the education team to bring technology and digital literacy education to newly arrived refugees. Photo: Courtesy of Amen Koutowogbe

Amen Koutowogbe, digital inclusion intern

Amen works with the education team to teach refugees about technology through PowerPoints and videos. “Overall, it was an awesome opportunity for me since I am a Video Production major,” she says. She had the opportunity to interact with people from different backgrounds while interning. “Not only did I realize the power of diversity in the company, but this internship allowed me to see life from a different angle,” she shares. She especially loved working on team projects. She says that working together helped develop new ideas and improve their productivity. “Teamwork is an important tool in a group,” she explains.

The IRC in Salt Lake City is grateful for all interns who commit their time in support of our work and those we serve. An internship at the IRC provides exposure to different perspectives, new challenges, and opportunities for growth. Learn more about the internship opportunities available at the IRC in Salt Lake City by visiting Rescue.org/InternSLC.