Growing up in Florida, the prevalence of a diverse society has always been evident to me. While realizing at a young age how many differences exist in my hometown of Orlando, I eagerly wanted to become a part of each segment of my world. From a young age, my parents could tell that I had an interest in the international cultures in my life.
When I started high school, I wanted to study other cultures and further my knowledge of another language. Besides taking classes in Spanish, I chose to volunteer after school with Bosnian refugees. The volunteer program aids Bosnian refugees in their immersion into American culture. I volunteered to help a family become accustomed to life in the United States, and was paired with a family who had spent less than three weeks in our country. My family included a mother and two teenage daughters around my age. Within the first hours of meeting the Sinanovics, I believed that through an ongoing relationship, I would be able to have a lasting impact on three lives.
Because the Sinanovics spoke limited English, I was to help them learn through immersion and integration. Each of my visits with the family was a new lesson in English and American life. Simple tasks, like grocery shopping and getting identification, were turned into learning experiences. The daughters, Sladjana and Jasmina, were very outgoing and made valiant efforts to learn English. Soon the three of us were laughing together and becoming friends. They learned English very quickly and were able to socialize with my friends and carry on conversations. When I first introduced them to my friends, I felt nothing but pride to have been able to make a difference in the lives of these girls.
Spending time each week with the Sinanovic family was rewarding and contributed to my choice of college major and future career. Because of my interest in the international world, and my love for...