How will this experience help you in your job search and career?
Prior to conducting our research, I was hesitant of pursuing a career in humanitarianism. When I arrived at SSP last year, I was adamant to work in a government organization; however, by the spring semester, my aspirations began to waver. After hearing the stories of volunteers and refugees, I discovered a passion for humanitarianism. This experience has both redirected my career path and better prepared me for working in the field.
What was the biggest lesson you took away from this experience?
A researcher can never depend on a response via email. In an effort to schedule interviews, we emailed a variety of individuals and organizations involved with the asylum-seeking process; however, very few responded. With minimal time to complete our research, Teuta and I decided to show up at the addresses and ask for interviews in person. If we had not done this, our research would have been unsuccessful. Though it can be intimidating, I learned that sometimes the best way to get answers is to show up and ask for them directly.
Have you changed as a result of this experience? If so, how?
Absolutely. Though I was aware of the horrific experiences of refugees, there was little that could prepare me to hear it directly from asylum-seekers. Hearing their accounts of violence, homelessness, unemployment, and war was life changing. I think that it is difficult to commiserate with asylum-seekers when we see them on social media or the news, but after meeting with refugees, I developed a greater sense of empathy for their experiences and appreciation for my home life. This experience instilled in me a passion to do more with my SSP degree after graduation, and showed me how lucky I am to be a U.S. citizen.