Last Week Reflections

Hard to believe that this internship is tapering to a close already–these 2.5 months have flown by!¬†I continue to be so grateful for the learning opportunity that this summer position has offered to me. This introduction into the realm of services for refugees and immigrants has proven to be an acutely sobering experience. I feel more receptive and empathetic towards people who have been uprooted and thrown into environments that are completely alien and often indifferent towards their presence. However, embedded in this newfound receptiveness is also the humbling knowledge that I am in a position of such privilege and power that I will never begin to truly understand the experiences¬†of our clients here in their new home of Manchester, NH. It has been uncomfortable to me to step into the lives and new homes of clients from conflict-ridden Central African countries. To know that even as the odor of frying oil and too many bodies packed into a two bedroom apartment washes over me, even as I hold a baby in my arms and help a woman who speaks no English at all check in at the doctor’s office, even as I wince over the details a raped and abused client’s mental trauma in her medical file–I will go home tonight to fragrant sheets, a clean kitchen, and a town where everyone looks like me and speaks my language.

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2: Late post!

This post is late, but that seems to fit in with the general feeling here of not always being completely informed and on top of my daily tasks! I don’t mean for that to sound negative–I actually quite enjoy not knowing what my day is going to look like until I get to work.

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1–First few weeks at the IINE

I have been thrown into this internship without much ado, and have therefore been forced to learn quickly and think on my feet! As a health intern with the International Institute of New England, I am responsible for providing transportation to clients (very recent refugees and asylum seekers who have gone through the legal immigration route and arrived in Manchester, NH) to and from various health assessments, immunizations, and tests. I also help lead cultural orientation sessions on health and hygiene. I have already gotten to work with families from Burma, Malaysia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Burundi. It has fascinated me to witness firsthand the processes and services provided to immigrants and refugees, and I have learned a lot so far about how the system works. I work under a director supervisor, who himself immigrated many years ago from Nepal. The office space is dynamic and diverse, and I am lucky to have tasks that take me in and out of the office, without too much sitting around. Every day is different!

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