My six months of working alongside MSRI have finally come to an end, and I can’t even begin to explain how valuable this experience has been, not only on a professional level, but also on a personal level. I’ve been able to meet and connect with inspiring people and work with them to help the refugee community of Kuala Lumpur in their time of need. I’ve learned so many things from my coworkers, my students, and my community while living
in Kuala Lumpur. I feel incredibly blessed to be able to experience another side of the world in a setting like this.
This internship has been extremely rewarding in terms of developing professional skills. Some skills I practiced daily were leadership skills, communication skills, the ability to work under pressure, and adaptability. Some job specific skills I also had a chance to develop includes creating lesson plans to teach English as a second language to children and adults, becoming familiar with excel, and completing funding reports. These skills have been extremely helpful in terms of applying for future job positions. This experience has given me a taste of what it will be like working in the field. It also put into perspective how valuable the concepts we learn in class really are, and how they can be applied in the real world.
This experience has helped me become a more self-aware individual. It has taught me not to take things for granted and to respect the diversity of communities around the world. It has showed me that the world is a very big and very beautiful place, and that it has so much to offer! My time in Malaysia has also helped put into perspective my privilege as a Canadian. Our privilege as Canadians is something that is very easy to overlook while living in Canada. It is also easy to overlook while traveling around the world. This experience is
unique because we are able to connect with locals and understand their culture, languages, limitations, values, and ways of life that people wouldn’t otherwise be able to do if just traveling through. Because we are able to learn about a country this way, it forces us to be reflective about who we are.
It was truly eye-opening to be able to see and experience a global problem firsthand. Something that I previously only read about was suddenly there in front of me. The quality of life that refugees have is a problem that is beyond me. I quickly realized that everything I could possibly do in the six months of working with MSRI wouldn’t even begin to make a dent in the issues at hand. Despite this, the people at MSRI work hard to make a difference in the lives of the small percent of refugees that they work with, and that is all anyone can do. I’ve seen remarkable resilience in the refugee communities we’ve worked with, especially in the kids I taught. The resilience and determination in the students of MSRI school shows that the students have the potential to make a positive change in their own lives and the lives of their families.The constructive environment of the school helps its students very much. Working with MSRI has taught me that the privilege we are born with is something we cannot help, but what we choose to do with that privilege makes us who we are.