Week 9: To Teach is To Learn Twice

This week includes even more reflection on my time spent at CRIS.  Are you surprised? (Jokes)

Anyway, a few days ago I saw a fortune from a fortune cookie that said, “To teach is to learn twice.”  I looked up the quote just now and it appears the quote originated with the French writer Joseph Joubert.  Good looks, Monsieur Joubert.

This quote resonated with me and my fellowship in multiple ways, with my volunteering in the ESL/Employment classroom and the community guidelines I’ve been writing.

As I’ve been spending one afternoon a week with the students learning English, I’ve learned English truly is hard.  As a native resident, I definitely take for granted my ability to communicate clearly and completely with another person (in English).  As most of our students are refugees, I can only imagine the internal struggle they are going through because of the inability to speak in their new country.  Most of them don’t know any English because none of them chose to come to the United States – they were forced to leave their homes, belongings, friends, and even family.  As I teach them English, I learn twice over the difficulty and importance of learning to communicate.

The community guidelines I’ve been writing and compiling are meant to be sort of a quick general summary of the diverse refugee community in Columbus.  Of course, these guidelines can be neither all inclusive nor completely correct, but I think they will give people an idea of where the refugees are coming from (both physically and culturally).  I have learned a lot about the communities by talking to members of each refugee population in Columbus, but now I am creating the guidelines to teach others and I am looking at all of the information in a new light and therefore learning again.  I must take the information I’ve gathered and put it into digestible content for the general public.  This project resonates with me because I hope it will spark empathy for the new arrivals in our country.

I can’t believe I’m almost done at CRIS, but this summer has made me realize more about myself, my passions, and my future career.  I know I want to help people and at CRIS, I learned there are millions of refugee to help in various ways.  Whether it be at an NGO, nonprofit, or a government agency, I know I can find the job I’m meant to do.

Thank you to the Columbus Foundation for giving me such a great opportunity and to CRIS for hosting me this summer.


Katy Nash


About Katy Nash

I'm a rising Junior at Miami University majoring in International Studies and Economics. This summer, I am a Fellow for the Columbus Foundation at the Community Refugee and Immigration Services in Columbus, Ohio. On this blog, I'll be documenting my experience!
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