A week after my last official day as an intern at GirlForward, I wake up to a phone buzzing with messages: “I miss you so much.” “How is school?” “You need to text me more!” Their messages brighten up my day. I’m not going to forget them. Although I have only known most of … Continue reading Friendship Knows No Borders
Maria* and Catherine* chat quietly in Swahili, while Noor* and Farida* speak to each other in Pashto. I sit in the middle, a student of Arabic and a native speaker of Hindi/Urdu. Leading a literature circle of English language learners has been challenging, exciting, and deeply rewarding to say the least. Furthermore, working with the … Continue reading “Wow! I know some Pashto words!”… and other interesting observations
The bus vibrates with the rhythm and melody of the latest Bollywood songs. Twenty girls clap, dance, and sing along, speaking intermittently in Dari, Urdu, Pashto, and Arabic. The large American flag waving outside the window is my only reminder that we are indeed in the States. Growing up, my parents told me many stories … Continue reading A post about bus rides… and being bus(y)
“Thank you so much for applying to….” Those words. Those six words say so much. They’re just a benign “thank you”, right? Sure, but when those words are the first six words of a decision letter, you may as well not read on. They’re a wolf in sheep’s clothing-- a kind way of saying, “Sorry, … Continue reading For Every Door that Closes…
It’s the 21st of January. Again. Last year, on this day, millions of Americans across the nation took to the streets in what would be the largest protest in the history of the United States. Last year, on this day, it was Trump’s first day in office. I couldn't march on the 21st last year. … Continue reading “Displaced”: One Year Later
You develop an interest. You go abroad. You learn a language, and become steeped in another culture. You come back home. You connect with alumni. You exchange ideas. You give back to your community. Months after my experience in Jordan, I feel like my summer abroad has finally come a full circle. For the past … Continue reading Coming a Full Circle: Giving Back after my NSLI-Y Experience
As I stepped into the vicinity of the Riverbend Church, I took immediate note of my colorful surroundings. For the eye, the area was lined with rows of stalls displaying art, food, and cultural artifacts from all across the world. For the ear, the air was filled with tones and melodies of different languages. Kippahs, … Continue reading What Truly “Makes America Great”
Walking into the small room plastered with children's’ artwork and school assignments proudly on display, I realized that it was only months ago that I had last stood in the same spot. Just a few months. Yet so much had changed. I, the volunteer who once knew little more than the Arabic alphabet, could now … Continue reading Tutoring Refugee Kids with iACT!
It’s Friday night and I leave for Pre-Departure Orientation (PDO) on Monday. This past week has been incredibly busy. In addition to cramming last minute Arabic vocabulary, choosing host family gifts, and packing my luggage, I was lucky to spend this week doing one of my favorite things: volunteering with refugees. Every summer, Interfaith Action … Continue reading A Rewarding Last Week in Austin… T-3 Days until my NSLI-Y Adventure!
As I wrote earlier, I have been volunteering as a Youth ESL Tutor for refugee children with iACT, the Interfaith Action of Central Texas on Saturdays. Today, I was volunteering in their other location for the first time, and I expected the general routine: come in, help out the kids, take them outside for some … Continue reading A Happy Coincidence