By Julia Willis
WASHINGTON (CNS) – A group of students recently arrived in the U.S. from Bethlehem University in Palestine in order to participate in a one-of-a kind program with Catholic Charities.
Fostered by a two-year partnership between the Catholic university and Catholic Charities USA, selected students travel to America every year and participate in a six-week summer internship program that allows them to use the skills they have developed within their prospective majors in Catholic Charities agencies nationwide.
Bethlehem University students to spend six weeks at catholic Charities agencies around U.S. (Photo courtesy Catholic Charities USA)
By learning how the organization combats the problem of poverty within the United States and developing a newfound understanding of the cultural and religious diversity of the U.S., participants are encouraged to use everything they learn throughout the experience in order to enact social change after returning home.
As many of the interns have never left Palestine before this trip, the participants were excited to experience a new culture, grow in knowledge, and gain a new form of insight into the problems that plague our world today.
One of this year’s 10 participants, Sarah Hasanat, described how the program will benefit many of the students.
“Many of us … have never been to the U.S. or even traveled outside of our home country so this is an amazing opportunity to learn about another culture.”
Dina Rishmawi explained that all 10 students escort tourists or visiting students around Palestine as part of an ambassador program through the university and being able to come to America allows them to continue serving as ambassadors who represent their own country. “It’s an amazing opportunity for us to not only work in the field we study but also to continue to serve as ambassadors of our country in another place.”
Amjaad Musleh, who will be working at the Catholic Charities agency in Camden, N.J., elaborated on how this experience will allow her to promote the culture of Palestine throughout the U.S. “Some people do not have a clue where Palestine is or even if it exists so this is an opportunity for us to share information regarding our country and our culture.”
Although the students were still unsure exactly what to expect out of the program during their initial four-day orientation in Washington, almost all of them recognized that they would be changed in some way by the experience.
Hasanat said, “A lot of people are poor and are (Read More)