Two days ago, I went to a workshop help at Nazareth College about refugees. There were two guest speakers, one from Church World Services and the other was Jim Morris, Director of Catholic Family Center. I went to the workshop to try and learn more about the population that I am working with and to gain any valuable information that might be helpful.
They explained what a refugee is and gave step by step information on everything that a refugee has to do and go through to come the United States. You may think that it shouldn’t have been news to me because I am a refugee, it was. When I came to the US I was 10 years old. All I remember was being in a refugee camp and then showing up here at the airport. All the steps that they explained are things that my dad had to fulfill. As I was sitting there, I kept thinking “Why was it so easy for my family?” and “Why do the refugees that I work with have a more difficult time acclimating here?”
While I see some similarities between my experience as a refugee to those I work with, there are definitely many differences. I believe that the biggest difference is in the spectrum of differences between mine and the refugees’ culture to that of the United States’.My family had an easier transition because our culture was closer to that of America’s. One thing that I still can’t fathom is that many of the refugees I help have spend their lifetime in a camp where many of the things we take for granted they didn’t have. Housing was different. They didn’t have to worry about bills and and other things like appliances. In my country, we had these things. I lived in a house, we paid bills, and we had appliances. It was because of this that made it easier for my family.
Going back to the workshop, it was interesting to see all the things that my family had to do to be able to come here. At the age of 10, I didn’t have to worry about anything. I was too young to understand what was going in regards to being a refugee. One thing I do know is that everyday I am thankful to be here, as I believe are the other refugees that have been given the opportunity to start life anew.