Miho Carey is a sophomore at Yale University. She is half Japanese American, born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. Growing up in a multicultural family, city, and school has not only taught her to love and appreciate learning about cultures different from her own but also to discover similarities and connections that bond all groups of people to one another. She is pursuing a B.A. in Ethnicity, Race, and Migration, with a concentration in contemporary refugee and immigration law, while fulfilling the Arabic language certificate congruently. She has pursued her interests in this area of law through working with El Refugio and Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia, the Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS) of New Haven, Connecticut, the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation in San Francisco, California, and the Yale Refugee Project. Her studies in Arabic are complemented by an intensive language program in Amman, Jordan that took place last summer. This program was language focused, but also included an in-depth discussion of history, culture, politics, religion, and societal problems in both Jordan and the Middle East. Part of the reason why she decided to take Arabic at Yale was to learn more about a wrongly stigmatized culture and to make the step in an attempt to, hopefully, help to normalize something interesting and exciting like learning Arabic.
At school, she is heavily involved in the Yale Refugee Project (YRP) community, mainly working in two major projects: Women’s Youth Leadership Group and the Employment Program. She started the Employment Program this past year. Its main goal is to support IRIS by providing an 8-week job training program to recently resettled peoples. We match a student with a refugee requesting this service from IRIS. Unlike the youth group, the Employment Program put students in a position of power. They now had the responsibility to tell someone they barely knew how to conduct themselves in their new home. Although I believe this project is important and effective, she also believes it can be problematic if conducted under the wrong mindset. Students often relied on their knowledge from past experience within YRP or IRIS.
Many people often join this club because it sounds interesting and like a good cause; who doesn’t want to help people, right? However, in order to do this ethically and effectively, we must look at these refugees first as people. People with religions. People with cultures. People unlike our own in many ways. Throughout her childhood and college years, Miho found herself spending most of her free time volunteering with people, but if that volunteer work isn’t done specifically to support, engage, and empower the goals of those who are being helped, it can often take a toll on those very people.
After the Ibrahim journey, Miho wants to conduct a mandatory workshop for all new and returning members of YRP, eventually making it available to intercultural and interfaith service groups in an attempt for ethical and effective service on campus. The goal of this curriculum would be to encourage open and meaningful relationships between people with vastly different backgrounds, in the name of collaboration and ethical volunteer work. The Ibrahim Program would help me to gain the tools necessary to organize, run, and take part in something as important as this program will be. Although she wants the Ibrahim Program to affect her life and those around her in the short term, she also hopes to carry what she will learn with her throughout the rest of her life. Her growth will be a vital skill in any field, but especially when working with international conflict, aid, and resolution. After college, she hopes to eventually work in the domestic and international service sector with those displaced and affected by conflicts in the Middle East. She wants to reiterate the idea that the U.S. is a place of foreigners and immigrants. In her spare time, you can find Miho hosting her radio show, practicing songs on her guitar, drawing, or on a walk with coffee in hand. She can be contacted at email@example.com.