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At the beginning of the program, I thought eight weeks would take forever. Now we’re approaching our final week, and I can’t believe how quickly time has passed. I am very happy and grateful I was able to participate in this program. I have learned many things, both about the exterior world and myself.

The Internship

I am a psychology major who is considering a career in law. This summer made me think that I would someday be capable of practicing in law. I could see myself litigating, filling out forms, interacting with clients, and so on in the future. However, I am not sure that I do want a career in law. Organizations like Dade Legal Aid are doing good work in the public sector, but I think I’d like to help clients more directly. I am still considering going into clinical psychology. The good thing is that I still have time to be unsure about what I want to do after Duke. This summer was instrumental in helping me narrow down my career interests.

The primary focus of my internship at Dade Legal Aid was family law–with some domestic violence law, not immigration. However, with immigration featuring so prominently in the news this summer and information sessions about immigration law, I was still exposed to immigration from a legal perspective. Some of the group members from Catholic Charities also gave a presentation on immigration for one of our weekly reflection sessions.¬†Even outside of the office, Miami is a city of immigrants, so it would have been difficult to avoid the issue. I have come away from this summer with a more comprehensive understanding of the immigration system and its challenges.

The City

Of course, there is no way I could ignore our setting. In my opinion, Miami is the best place to engage with immigration, short of states on the border with Mexico. The cultural diversity is manifested in many ways. I’ve felt it just standing in the Perez Art Museum, listening to the countless languages the tourists who visit here and the locals who live here speak. I’ve felt it with the World Cup, seeing so many people proudly wearing the soccer jerseys of their home countries and cheering in the streets when their teams scored. It is also seen in the neighborhoods. To my knowledge, there is no Chinatown or Little Italy in Miami. Rather, there are neighborhoods like Little Haiti and Little Havana and others here.

I used to think Miami was overrated. Now, I view it as an exciting, young city that is going through its growing pains. I have grown to respect its people and energy. I don’t think I could ever live here, but I would like to come back more often than I had in the past.

Conclusions

I am also grateful to my fellow group members for teaching me as much as they have and for making this an enjoyable experience. About the program, I am satisfied with the whole experience. For anyone who is on the fence about doing Duke Engage, I would encourage them to do it. You’ll be surprised where it can take you.