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An Experience Worth More Than Money

By July Zheng, Case Management Intern

It is eight months since I began working as a case manager intern at Daily Work. As an international student from China, I am surprised that I am able to support struggling job seekers in U.S. There is no doubt that helping them is a precious experience in my journey. The majority of job seekers at Daily Work are immigrants and refugees.

I have a similar experience with them living in a foreign country and I can understand what it is like for them. Both I and the Daily Work job seekers had to get thorough culture shock, language barriers, geographic differences, unwritten rules in U.S., and overcoming difficulties in their personal life. That’s the reason why I wanted to try my best to help them find an ideal job.

At same time, they are also my teachers to help me build a new perspective to look at my life. Some job seekers are suffering with homelessness and feeling desperate; while they still keep hope and bravely work to find new jobs, which gives me encouragement to survive thorough my own darkness of life. If you ask me what motivates me to work so many months for no pay, I can tell you that job seekers teach me a lot to be a good social worker in U.S., but their life experiences are also lessons for me, too. It is experience that in many ways is worth more than money.

There are many times I doubted my case-management skills and job counseling skills, because all job applications are new to me. I also have no working experiences in America. Before each appointment with my client, I have to do more preparations than other volunteers. It has been long and hard journey for me to learn how to create a good resume, write appropriate cover letters, search opening job positions and finish long job applications because I am using my second language while adjusting to another culture. Besides that, I need to engage with my clients and build trust relationship with them. That’s probably hardest part because it’s impossible to help job seekers when they don’t trust you.

I know there are more challenges for me ahead, but I still put my 100 percent of my energy and passion into my internship. You never know how much growth that you and job seekers will make together unless you truly work at it. As for me, each appointment is an opportunity to hear new story from others, improve my knowledge and skills, and to help jobseekers achieve their goals.

What’s your experience as a volunteer at agency? What have you learned from it? What’s motivating you to be a volunteer or to keep volunteering?

Like me, I think you’ll find that when you try your best to do something, life will give you more positive feedback.

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