My internship helping refugees

This article was published in FIU News by Yenisleidy Simon Mengana

Name: Raquel Fernandez

Hometown: Miami, Florida

What is your major? Public administration with a certificate in leadership. I will be receiving my master’s in public administration with a certificate in human resources in the spring of 2021.

Where did are you interning? Paper Airplanes

What is your title? Tutor and asset mapper

How did you get your internship? I got this internship through the Global Learning Medallion program at FIU. I had submitted my capstone project, and although it was approved, I wanted to do more than write a research paper.

What are you doing there? I teach an English-based curriculum to a Jordanian student once a week, and I assist coordinators in asset mapping. I gather pertinent information (such as for Syrian refugees in countries like Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Germany, France, and others).

How does your internship connect back to your coursework? Taking courses such as World Ethnographies and Myth-Ritual-Mysticism expanded my understanding of different cultures and societies.

What is the coolest thing about your internship or that has happened during your internship? The best thing about my internship has been that I have learned more about a culture that, in today’s society, is looked upon in a negative way. We are all humans wanting and working toward similar goals.

What have you enjoyed most about your experience? Making new friends around the country and the world and opening my opportunities to new experiences.

What have you learned about yourself? I learned that, even at the young age of 40-ish, lol, I still have a lot to learn and plenty to contribute.

What advice do you have for those beginning the internship process? Take your internship seriously, and learn to be tolerant of other’s choices and lifestyles. This is your opportunity to shine, give back and make friends along the way. I have had many jobs in my life, but none more rewarding than this internship. It is about having the feeling of helping someone else in another part of the world and expecting nothing in return.

How has the position increased your professional confidence? I have always been a highly motivated and organized employee; this internship has given me the confidence in wanting to do further research for refugees around the world.

How has the internship expanded your professional network? I can now say that I have contacts with people in Jordan and the United States, including Melissa Mitchell, a humanitarian from Tying Vines Humanitarian.

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