Freshman Year: Immigration and Refugee Rights Summary and Leadership Development
Throughout the duration of my freshman year, I had the ability to work alongside a small group to investigate the mental health of refugees and develop a social action project. Being able to complete this project provided me with unique insights into the larger structures at play within the United States that not only affect the process of relocation, but also affects the wellbeing of refugees.
In order to comprehensively address this issue, but teammates and I departed upon a research journey to understand the unique narrative of refugees who enter the United States. First, we sought to understand how the process of relocation affected a refugee’s wellbeing, but then we investigated the causes for mental strain. We came to understand many essential categories that cause refugee populations to experience higher levels of stress and a general lack of mental wellbeing, which can relate to linguistic, educational, professional, and economic barriers. This research proved to be fundamental in our attempt to address this issue through our social action project.
In our social action project, we tried to address the topics that we learned about in our research. To do so, we launched an awareness campaign on the American University campus. My team and I created a video and website that included facts regarding the refugee experience in the United States, and communicated with AU faculty to include the video in freshman year development classes. Alongside this, we also raised money for a DMV non-profit in order to fund their efforts in providing aid to refugee populations in the area.
Being able to work alongside my team has provided me with so many insights into my own work habits and leadership, while also allowing me to understand effective teamwork. I have learned that I am strong in communication with my team, as I was able to complete deadlines and reach out to teammates when necessary. I also believed that I had strengths in taking initiative, finding myself completing daunting tasks like editing our video and website. In the future, I look forward to strengthening this skills alongside many others.