Good Luck to Our Graduating Interns
Good Luck to Our Graduating Interns
At BIIN, we have a saying, which is, “BIIN interns are different from others, BIIN interns stay.” This was the case for one of BIIN’s 2022 ESL interns, Alyssa Ramos. Alyssa initially stepped into BIIN under former Director Jaimi Washburn. Under the new Americorp member at the time, Viviana Castillo, Alyssa started her service at BIIN. That service, which was initially for ten weeks, turned into a full-year commitment to our community.
Alyssa Ramos (ESL Intern)
Alyssa is a Political Science major who was born in Orange, California, but was raised in Fort Worth, Texas. She arrived in College Station two years ago to complete her bachelor’s degree. Aspiring to be an immigration lawyer, she wanted to be more involved with the Bryan/College Station immigrant community but did not know where to start. She first learned about BIIN through the Sociology Department at Texas A&M University and felt inclined to be involved with the immigrant community. Alyssa shared with us that she was able to choose her role as an intern and she chose to be an English class intern, which she describes as a “perfect match.” She stayed at BIIN from August 2022 to May 2023.
Alyssa was able to specifically serve with our higher level classes, levels three and four. She built the purest relationships with students and was able to get to know them more personally, learning about their goals and aspirations outside of ESL classes. An interaction at BIIN that Alyssa remembers fondly is one she had with a level three English student named Yesdel. Alyssa recalls how Yesdel described his life in Cuba and his favorite parts of the city, but he also mentioned how different it was compared to life in Texas. She adds, “This interaction made me reflect on how each student has a unique experience and journey to where they are now.” Alyssa also remembers the first time she welcomed volunteers into our English classes, saying, “It was wonderful to see all the volunteers interact with the students.”
She consistently kept up with students when she knew they had an important event coming up or when students would mention they had missed class because they were feeling sick. These relationships are in part a big reason why she decided to extend her stay with BIIN for an extra semester. We asked Alyssa, “What made you stay after you completed your internship requirement?” Alyssa responded:
The clients at BIIN and my coworkers made me extend my internship. Viviana is the BIIN English coordinator and was also my supervisor who made me feel welcome at BIIN. At times, BIIN would be overwhelmed with students and clients, and Viviana would be hands-on with the day-to-day operations at BIIN. Thanks to Viviana, it did not feel like an internship but rather surrounded by friends. The students in the English classes arrived every day to class in good spirits ready to learn. Throughout the year, I would learn about their life through stories they vividly described. The atmosphere at BIIN did not feel like a workplace but rather a second home.
During her time here, Alyssa also founded the notorious map in the entryway of the BIIN offices. She explains that she started this project because of the large, empty space on the walls of the hallway when you first walk in, saying, “The walls looked a little plain and I wanted to put something that embodied the spirit of BIIN.” She suggested putting a map on the wall where everyone–volunteers, clients, and students–can put a pin on the place where they were born. She explains, “I put the map in the hallway and it is the first thing you see at BIIN, which can give visitors an idea of all the clients we serve across the world. The impact of the map allows visitors and clients to see how many people we help serve.”
A year later, Alyssa graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Texas A&M University–WHOOP!! Graduating feels surreal to her but she plans to take a gap year and hopes to apply to law school to further her education, eventually becoming an immigration attorney. Her experience at BIIN has helped her be more empathetic towards people. She says, “Each person has a story and it is important to listen to them.” She hopes to be able to inform people that, “Immigrants are not limited to one sector in society. Each person has a story that is important. Some immigrants chose to migrate to the United States for a better life while others chose to further their education in the United States.”
As a final goodbye, she would like BIIN’s clients and students to know that “they can reach any accomplishment or goals they have for the future, and their futures are so bright! I would like to thank the English class students for coming to class and sharing their time with me. I will miss BIIN.” And BIIN will miss her!!
Thank you Alyssa for your service with us!
Thank you to Viviana for interviewing and writing this story.