1-Mattis Justo Quam
1-consectetur. Curabitur blandit tempus porttitor. Praesent commodo cursus magna, vel scelerisque nisl consectetur et. Duis mollis, est non commodo luctus, nisi erat porttitor ligula, eget lacinia odio sem nec elit.
A Student of the World
A committed global traveler, Marcela Morales ’16 stayed stateside this summer to work for an organization that helps refugees find their footing in the United States.
Born and raised in Guatemala, Marcela Morales ’16 came to the United States when she was 10 years old, and the urge to see more of the world has never left her. A double major in economics and international studies, with a concentration in global business, she spent this past summer as an intern at one of the nation’s largest refugee organizations, learning first-hand what refugees face when they come to the United States.
“The International Institute of St. Louis provides all the necessary services that refugees need from immediate to long-term,” she says. “They pick them up from the airport once the embassy sends them here, they help them find housing, get a job, learn English. They also provide medical treatment.”
Founded in 1919, the International Institute of St. Louis is part of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. Morales found out about the internship through a Google search; she had gone to the city once before as a member of Enactus, and she wanted to get to know it better. Working in the organization’s employment department, she helped refugees find a job, as well as learn about how the organization teaches them financial planning and budgeting.
“I took a class last semester about refugees and what people in countries that are at war go through. I had a lot of Congolese clients this summer, and that’s what I had mainly studied, so it was really amazing,” she says.
Morales was able to participate in the internship through a grant from the Douglass Cater Society of Junior Fellows, of which she is current secretary. She’s also a member of Enactus and a peer mentor leader. During her junior year, she spent a year studying in Finland, “because it was different.”
“I feel like I got to know a very different part of the world, and being immersed in a culture that not many other people know about was pretty cool,” she says. “Although it was very cold, I did get to see the northern lights, which was incredible, and I did go above the Artic Circle.”
In the College’s Global Education Office, she learned about an organization called CISabroad that helps students find internships all over the world related to their interests. Funded by a Cater grant, during the summer of 2014 she traveled as a CISabroad intern to the rainforest in Ecuador where she spent a month studying the indigenous culture of the Kichwa.
Morales plans to apply for a position at the International Institute of St. Louis after graduation as a way to embark on a global career.
“I want to continue to work internationally,” she says. “I think through all of my experiences that I’m culturally sensitive to other people and their backgrounds, and I think that can give me a skill set that’s needed in the business world.”