“I will never forget the compassion”: An Intern’s View of CWS Legal Services

Cerina interned with CWS Durham Immigration Legal Services in the Summer of 2018, where she was a huge help to our legal team and got to be a part of the great CWS Scavenger Hunt of 2018 (the context for this ridiculous photo). She hopes to pursue a career in legal services after experiencing both sides of this hugely important work. Read on for Cerina’s reflection on the summer:

My CWS Durham legal services internship was nothing like I had expected an immigration office internship to be like. With that said, it was an incredible experience and I will never forget the people I met and the work that they do every day.

I was truly in awe of everything that CWS Durham does, of all of the people they help, and of all of the time they put into their jobs. The impact that this office has had on me is indescribable. It has made me a more confident, understanding, and professional adult. And while I may forget the legal terminology for various applications or how to navigate case systems, I will never forget the compassion and love that this office has shown me and its clients. The immediate joy and positivity that radiates off of the beautiful legal reps and the appreciation they receive from the clients is exactly the reason why I hope to pursue a career in the legal field, and I believe that this internship played a large role in solidifying that dream for me.

There is so much more to immigration than what is seen in the news or perpetuated by those who are fortunate enough to have never experienced it themselves. The whole process is a human one, an unbelievably arduous and never-ending struggle to find peace, safety, opportunity, and family. The work that CWS Durham does is personal and difficult and a never-ending struggle against continuous changes. But somehow, despite innumerous obstacles, people are given a second chance: to become a citizen or a permanent resident, to visit family, to travel abroad, or to seek refuge. To watch the CWS legal representatives support this process as gracefully as they do makes me so grateful for their work!

For my family, my community, and myself, immigration has been such a focal point of our lives. Being able to offer my time to the organization that had brought my family together felt almost surreal, as if I was working off a debt that could never be repaid.

If anything, my internship has made me more grateful for this organization and the amazing people who work there. To my CWS office family and the wonderful clients that I have met, I will miss you incredibly! I can undoubtedly say that my summer was more than well spent and was an experience that I will cherish for a lifetime.

CWS Durham Legal Services works tirelessly to reunite families from around the world. To learn more about CWS Durham Immigration Legal Services, click here.