Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Interest High in Refugee Center

Within the past twelve hours I have received two e-mails from University of Illinois students who are interested in the Refugee Center. One student studies journalism and wants to write about it; the other student wants to volunteer or intern there.

The employees at the Refugee Center field many questions from college students and professional reporters. Every time immigration issues come up in the news, someone does a story with a local spin. I know that this takes a lot of the employees' time, but it also raises awareness about their clients, the issues they face and the good work of the Refugee Center.

Students from many majors can benefit from volunteering there. The student who just contacted me studies International Studies. That makes a lot of sense. The Refugee Center deals with refugees, asylees and immigrants from around the world. Students from law, political sciences, social work, community and human development, languages, sociology, etc. can see the issues that the study about come to life at the Refugee Center.

We want students to make connections between their Spanish community service learning and the other subjects that they study. Here are some issues that students can connect across the disciplines:

  • immigration policies and laws, today and through a historical comparison

  • issues of discrimination

  • language and culture maintainance and/or loss

  • access to public health

  • international politics (as related to refugee vs. immigrant status)

  • literacy

  • etc.

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