Aug 22 2023
Lianna is one of CWS Harrisonburg’s immigration interns. She was born in Cuba, but now lives in the Harrisonburg area, and attends the University of Chicago. As an immigration intern, her work varies daily. “I work with Lucia who is our main legal representative here. Most of what I do has to do with paperwork. So like, scanning, uploading files onto the legal server, sometimes translating documents or interpreting for clients, as I'm bilingual,” Lianna explained.
There were a variety of reasons she gravitated to this internship. One was her interest in international law. “This past year, I took…a class about human rights. And we had a unit about refugees, refugee laws, and refugee rights. I really loved that part of the class.” Another reason was because of her experiences. ”I just wanted to learn more about immigration. I'm an immigrant myself, and I wanted to learn more about what kind of laws and resources are in place for new refugees,” she said.
Besides learning about the immigration process, one of the trademarks of any internship is learning and making new connections. “One of my favorite things has been just getting to know people, getting to know other volunteers. And it's just been really cool to see how passionate they are about the refugees, and how they have a big heart for community and serving people,” Lianna said. Through her experience at CWS, she’s seen how newcomers have shaped the community. She explained, “I've only been living here for six years, and the city has already grown so much. It's become so diverse in so little time, and it will continue to do so. It's so cool [to see.]”
Lianna also works at the front desk, where she gets to interact with clients everyday. “Sometimes it's sad to hear some of their stories, as the refugees have gone through incredible hardships. But it's cool to see the resilience and how,even though they might not know a lot of English or they're struggling their way through, they're trying to learn more every day to get settled here, to find a job, to provide for their families. It’s incredible to see people with that kind of drive” Lianna said.
As for Lianna’s goals for this summer, she wants to continue expanding her knowledge on the resettlement processes for refugees and immigrants. “I just want to continue learning. Like I said, every day there's something new to do,” she said. Thank you, Lianna, for all your hard work this summer. CWS Harrisonburg looks forward to seeing what you accomplish in the future!