When I first joined this program, I didn’t know what to expect. I was fully prepared to meet new people and come out of it feeling as though I saw another outlook on life. My cohort and I went on numerous eye opening and fun trips. During my time I heard so many different points of views from so many different people. I felt extremely lucky to have had the chance to listen to their stories. One day, I got to hear the pasts and journeys of two men who traveled to the United States by themselves for their own safety. They left their families and homes behind in search of a better life. When I heard their stories, I felt guilty. Yes, guilty. I get to live in the United States and take for granted all that it has to offer, especially after all the events that have been occurring around the world. I have the privilege to practice the religion of my choice. I have the privilege to get an education. I have the privilege of clean water. I have access to food whenever I need and want it. Hearing their stories didn’t come as a shock to me; I always knew other countries weren’t as well off as we are., But the fact that the two men sitting before me experienced all of those events at such a young age and fled to the United States, caused me to rethink and readjust how I look at my own life.
During this internship, I have been taking the train into Boston from my suburban hometown. After listening and getting to know these men, I have come to realize that everyone has a story and a past. These men that look outwardly just like any one of the commuters on the MBTA, have had to endure such horrible hardship still get up every day, get dressed and go to work and school, just like everyone else. I now look more closely at my fellow commuters and think to myself, “What is your life like? What did you have to face in order to get to this place and time?” I wonder too, what their current home lives are like. I wonder about the woman that looks particularly tired, the one carrying the heavy shopping bag while constantly looking at her watch … Is she a single mother rushing to her second job after staying up late with her sick child? It makes me feel small, how in the past I would complain and groan about my life because I had to get up super early to go to Volleyball practice or couldn’t go out with my friends to get ice cream because I had a school paper to write. My problems now seem petty and selfish compared to what other people in this world are forced to deal with.