A Brand New Experience: Refugee Tutoring

On February 13th, I signed myself up for Refugee Tutoring which was one of the biggest service projects that I signed myself up for and sadly I was attending it alone without any close friends. Although I was slightly worried about being alone, I walked to the North Lounge of the Union with an open heart and an open mind and trusted in my social skills to make or meet some new friends and acquaintances. Initially, when I arrived at the North Lounge, I was feeling iffy. There was the usual sign-ups and check-ins and I did meet some sweet actives like Alvina! She’s always so nice, welcoming and always smiling at you. I was so glad that I knew her :). Although initially a little light-hearted and shy, what changed from an awkward-me turned into a super happy and laughing-me. The kids at Refugee Tutoring were all hyper, fun, obedient, intelligent, and easy to communicate with and have fun with. But what made Refugee Tutoring so fun were these two actives, Tom and Anna. They changed the whole experience at Refugee Tutoring for me. Tom has an amazingly happy character, funny sense of humor, and addictive laughter that made me smile and laugh a lot. He kept fighting for my kids (cause the kids were obviously flocking towards me, jk) and he made teaching the kids look fun. And during free time, Anna was a super sweet and motherly figure. Not only was she a nice tutor, but she was engaging as well during free time when she decided to participate in a cultural rope dance that required a good beat, bouncing feet, and intricate and crazy jumps. I was so glad that I signed up for this day because I had the opportunity to meet two super awesome and fun brothers that hugely impacted my opinion of APO and made me more proud for being a pledge. Also, at Refugee Tutoring, there’s an amazingly smart and loving Asian boy who is so sweet to his little sister and absolutely LOVES history and physics! I couldn’t keep up with his knowledge of the advancements of military equipment per country during World War II nor was I smart enough to answer all his intriguing questions and hypothetical situations regarding physics. That’s when the group of Physics Brothers assembled. Brian, Enrique and Harsh – the physics enthusiasts – were the assembled group of knowledgeable physics students who gathered to answer the questions of one eighth grader – and I thought that was so sweet. It was like seeing three big brothers teach their little brother. Overall, the day ended well with arts and crafts and we drove back to ISR where I knocked out on my bed after a long morning. This experience greatly influenced my impression of APO and made me proud of the work I was doing.

-- Wendy Wu (Emma Watson, Spring 2016)