After I started working, I felt more like a citizen than a marginalized refugee. Even the atmosphere within my family changed from dim to bright.
For over twenty years, Radwan, a Syrian refugee, worked as an ESOL teacher in elementary schools in his native country. He always had the dream of serving his community and contributing to the development of the Syrian educational system – but his dreams soon evaporated in the wake of the war. As Radwan describes, it was heart-wrenching to be ripped away from his homeland. “When we fled, we left everything behind, among them my job in which I invested my life,” he says.
When Radwan arrived to the US, he feared that the investment he had made in an education career would be blown away once he began searching for his first job here in the US. Still, he approached the employment team at NSC with an open mind and was determined that his long-term goal would be to remain within the field of education.
Seeking to understand American work culture, Radwan attended NSC's job-readiness club sessions to cultivate his skills for his first job here. “During these sessions, I had a clear vision about the best ways to search for jobs and how to successfully attend interviews,” Radwan says. Participating and answering typical interview questions using role-play exercises helped improve his ability to speak professionally and express a great deal of confidence. Then, the moment came for a job opportunity with the School District of Philadelphia.
Armed with confidence, his sophisticated talents impressed the interviewers enough to hire him on the spot as a Bilingual Counseling Assistant for the School District of Philadelphia. His main role is to help non-English speaking students and parents navigate all school-related issues.
It has been a transformation in more ways than one. He says, “After I started working, I felt more like a citizen than a marginalized refugee. Even the atmosphere within my family changed from dim to bright.”