One of my favorite classes offered at the University of Mobile is the internship course; it allows students to put into practice what they learn at UM and gain real life experience for their chosen career field.
This semester I interned at Dwell Mobile, a nonprofit organization, which allowed me to observe how a nonprofit runs and improve my cross cultural communication. Being a Christian Studies major, I wanted something that would allow me to work with a nonprofit and give me the ability to interact with other cultures.
Heeding the guidance of Dr. Douglas Wilson, dean of the School of Christian Studies and my advisor, I looked into obtaining an internship at Dwell Mobile. Dwell Mobile is a nonprofit organization that serves refugees in the Mobile area by raising awareness, removing obstacles and restoring relationships.
Dr. Wilson said he thought interning with Dwell would be mutually beneficial. With his email of recommendation, several weeks of waiting and a couple of phone calls later, I secured my dream internship, working at a nonprofit.
Executive Director Jeri Stroade offered so much wisdom. It was an honor to be under her leadership and learn hands-on what working at a nonprofit organization is like.
My favorite lesson from her was when she explained what Dwell is; their goal was not to be a program-centered organization, but a value-driven organization. Jeri stressed we were not intended to be saviors to other people, but to demonstrate the Savior to others.
On Wednesdays, Dwell offers Foundations, classes with the goal to teach foundational skills to aid refugees to better acclimate to Mobile, Alabama. A normal Wednesday night would look like socializing with people over free dinner and then attending a free class. The classes included everything from driver’s education to English as a Second Language.
I oversaw volunteers and tutored girls who were in the fourth grade or older, and Wednesday nights quickly became my favorite part of the week. I looked forward to building relationships with the girls. As a class, we were learning TikTok dances for Dwell’s Cultural Night. I am not gifted in dancing, but it made them laugh.
Interning at Dwell has been a highlight of my last semester at UM; I have gained invaluable experience that has prepared me to better serve the Lord and work at a nonprofit.
Through showing up consistently, I learned how important it is that we are there for others even in the difficulties, because it reflects how the Lord is there for us. Interning prepared me for the workforce; it reminded me that I am working to serve the Lord no matter my tasks.