- by Ayat Al Sallami -

Ayat Al Sallami

My name is Ayat Al Sallami. My major is social work and I just finished my summer internship as a case manager at Mary’s Place in Rochester. It is a non-profit refugee outreach center that reaches out to refugees of all faiths and nationalities.

Is it a good experience for you? What’s good about it?

Yes! It was a wonderful experience because every day I meet new people from different countries with different cases. The clients I worked with were from Somalia, Nigeria, Nepal, and Yemen. Each of my clients has a different issue that needs to be solved. For example, applying for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). I have to help them to fill out the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) application. Also, I help them apply for health insurance, and look for housing.

What do you do, day to day?

Working with clients in different cases like applying for health insurance on the phone, looking for houses, and applying for SNAP. I worked on so many different things, every day is a new day for me, meeting people, and working on different cases.

How is it benefiting/affecting you personally? What are you learning about yourself?

I have learned that I am capable of working with people who speak different languages. I have to build good communication skills with all different kinds of people. I learned that I am responsible and I pay attention to detail.

What are you learning as part of a team?

Working together, asking questions, building a friendship, and improving my communication skills.

What’s been the most interesting/powerful/impactful part for you?

The most impactful part for me is remembering myself and what it was like when I came to the United States. I was not speaking English and I didn’t know how to communicate with people. Seeing these people made me remember myself and how I got here.

How does this experience support or advance your future plans?

It definitely helped me know myself better and where I want to work and with whom. It gave me the experience to know myself better and the skills that I can have for my future career. I can use my communication skills and my values in my major which is social work.

Has this experience changed your perspective about yourself, or your potential to make a positive impact in your eventual career field or life’s work? If so, how?

This experience made me live the real world of how people are living exactly like refugees. It taught me so many things about humans’ lives and how they are surviving in America. My eyes are now wide open to the world that we are living in.