Bittersweet Goodbye

In the beginning of our study abroad adventure Professor Piñeros-Shields prompted us students to write a letter to our future selves. This letters purpose was to identify not only our hopes but our expectations from the opportunity we were about to embark on when studying in the foreign country of Spain. In this journal entry I wrote much about my plans to be genuine. Being genuine and authentic when building the relationships with people I meet during my time in Valencia, and in particular with the people I interact with at my internship.My internship placement is at the Centros de Acogida a Refugiados in Mislata (CAR-Mislata).  In my first journal entry I also had spoke about my expectations for my internship, I expected to have learned more on the topic of migration as a whole and in particular to find out exactly what a refugee was and what it meant to be one. At the center for refugees, CAR-Mislata, I have worked closely with various social workers who were kind enough to take time out of their already very demanding schedule in order to help get me settled into my internship. The staff of CAR are dedicated and hard working. The employees of CAR-Mislata, specifically Visi and Amin, made sure I was not only made aware of the purpose of the center, but also what exactly its mission and core values are. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to work hands-on with many refugees that reside in the facility of CAR-Mislata. I have spent 80+ hours for the past 6 weeks at CAR-Mislata, getting familiar with the staff and residents of CAR. The individuals who I personally got to know all varied in age, there are refugees that I have come in contact with that were between the ages of 1 month old to forty+ years old. I have worked with children and family units as well as with men and women that were similar in age to myself. Both the employees and the residents of CAR are all responsible for the center’s character and they make the center what it is today. When thinking about saying goodbye a bittersweet feeling washes over me. I will never forget the beautiful people I met at the center, or the eye opening stories I was told by them. Saying goodbye feels as if I’m almost being unfair. Most of the young women I have been interacting with came off of the Aquarius, a large ship transporting more than 900 refugees from Libya. These young Nigerian women have found a friend in me, and I have found a friend in them. I have learned so much about their experiences and hardships. I have gained insight into their realities and lives, it feels unfair of me to leave them knowing that I bring a sense of joy into their every days lives. But I know that we will remain in touch with one another through social media, I can not wait to see where these young women go and what they make of their lives, their futures are bright. My time at CAR-Mislata is soon coming to an end and I will soon have to say goodbye to all the wonderful people I have met. I will never forget this diverse group of people that I was introduced to by interning at CAR-Mislata. I will forever carry their faces and stories in my heart and going forth I will live my life with more cultural competence and awareness of the world around me.

-Bianca xoxo