I’m in Atlanta, Georgia right now attending an event at Emory University called “Displaced.” The week is intended to raise awareness about refugees and displaced people. Last night I had the privilege of introducing AID at a dinner mixer with local refugees and Emory students. I picked up two Bhutanese men to bring to the dinner and had the opportunity to talk to them on the way about their situation in Bhutan, experience in the refugee camp for 17 years in Nepal, and their transition into American life. The younger of the two men is attending high school in Atlanta and wants to be a doctor.

Clarkston, GA is only 15 minutes away from Emory, yet most American college students live in a bubble and don’t realize the opportunities to experience the world in their own city. Clarkston is home to thousands of refugees from every continent of the world. Last night I heard volunteers and refugee resettlement directors from World Relief talk about how their lives have been affected by the refugee families they work with. Refugees come in to the United States at the bottom rung of society, though they have so much to offer. Many are educated, fluent in multiple languages, and were in the higher levels of society in their home countries. If we as Americans can look beyond our own “bubbles” and participate in other cultural communities, there is much to be gained.

-Liza Butler-