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Georgina Mukarkar

Here I am, finally done with my third year at Bethlehem University and  ready to start my summer with an internship in America! 
I was really excited when I found out that my six weeks internship will be in Minnesota, because I heard that it has nice cool weather during summer. But I also had no idea what to expect. However I was ready to face new challenges and live a new student lifestyle that I'm not accustomed to.
As soon as I arrived at the airport, I started looking for my host family, which I will be staying with during my internship. And as I was waiting I couldn't help but notice a lady, standing not very far away, carrying balloons and her eyes scanning the place. Surprisingly, she walks towards me and calls my name!
And so my days in Minnesota were going great, and my host family showered me with care and kindness during my entire stay.
They even took me with them to an American wedding, I mean what better cultural American experience could I get! 
And on the daily evenings, we would cook together delicious appetizers and dinners. With all that kindness I was receiving I felt like I was part of their family. 
What really made me fall in love with Minnesota state is the greenness because I don't see much green in Palestine!
As for my internship program, I was interning with the Catholic Charities diocese of Winona in the Refugee Resettlement program. This program ensures newly arrived refugees achieve self-sufficiency as soon as possible.
During my work, I got the chance to meet refugees from different places: from Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Thailand and other . And in one of the days I helped set up an apartment for a family from Thailand. What really moved me was that this family didn't speak English at all, but they expressed their happiness by smiling, laughing and hugging each other, and it made me feel good about the world for a moment as I learnt that laughter is the language of the world.
I also got the chance to interview a Syrian family, as they came to the United States to find a better life, a new start and beginning with the help of Catholic Charities USA. And as I met and worked with more other refugees, I learned a lot from them.
"Hope and trust are always hard to come by when you are a refugee" said a Syrian refugee that I met. Coming from a totally different culture, language and background makes it hard for him to trust people, as when he fled to Jordan the first time they would discriminate against him when they recognized his Syrian accent. But when he arrived to America he put all his trust in the Catholic Charities. And he felt that equality and justice can be achieved in this country. He hoped to take care of his family and give them the education they deserve .
As for the last two weeks of my internship I continued my internship in Washington D.C  working at the main offices in Alexandria. I also got the chance to visit other catholic charities organizations in New Jersey and in Pennsylvania Philadelphia. 
I  became sensitive to other  cultures, understanding a country's core values and allowing myself to create positive relationships with people I work with. 



Bethlehem University Foundation
Phone: +1-240-241-4381
Fax: +1-240-553-7691
Beltsville, MD USA
Bethlehem University in the Holy Land
Phone: +972-2-274-1241
Fax: +972-2-274-4440
Bethlehem, Palestine