By Kyran Williams
For our second experience week trip, we went to Atlanta, Georgia, where we learned about immigration and met with organizations that helped immigrants. In our first trimester, the older cohort had been learning about immigration, but being able to meet some of the people involved made it feel more real.
We arrived in Atlanta on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and we went to an event where we learned about the freedom riders. I was glad to get to learn about this, because when I was in public school before I came to Springhouse, I was never taught this, and I think it’s important to learn about the people behind the movement.
The following day, we visited the Georgia Asylum and Immigration Network, an organization providing legal representation to asylum seekers. The people there spoke to us about the legal process that asylum seekers have to go through and the difficulties of it. We then had the opportunity to look at the paperwork that people have to fill out in order to be granted asylum in the United States, which is a process that the organization helps people through. It surprised me how difficult the paperwork was to understand and fill out, even as a native English speaker, and how little space people were given to tell their story.
The last place we visited was the International Rescue Committee, where we did volunteer work. On the first day, I volunteered at the daycare, where people attending classes could drop off their kids, and on the second day I helped organize a shop where the people they helped could get things they may need. Some others volunteered helping in classes teaching English. This was my favorite part of the trip, since we were able to work more directly with the people who they were helping. The part I enjoyed most about it was getting to hold one of the babies there and seeing him starting to learn to crawl.
While in many ways the trip was difficult to go on, since we were away from home, and on this one we were learning about difficult subjects, I think it was an important experience to have, and brought us all closer together. It was also fun to get the experience of being in a new place and walking around the city of Atlanta. I’m glad to be given the opportunity to go on these trips and learn about new things that I otherwise may never get the chance to experience.