More Alike Than Different

2020 n13

Sarah’s purple hair caught many by surprise, so she walked into her interview willing to change the color if Jani, KIN’s Volunteer Outreach Coordinator, thought she should. But Jani loved it, and Sarah began her internship with KIN a couple of days later.

As a college senior, Sarah already knew she wanted a career helping those without a voice in society. She is drawn to helping children, and as she cared for the children of ESL students, she realized many internationals are quite literally without a voice in our culture: “treated as outcasts because they don’t speak English or because they aren’t American by birth.”

Because Sarah’s genuine love for the children was evident, it didn’t take long for the international parents to trust her—something that doesn’t come easily. For many of those parents, Sarah was the first white person they had ever trusted with their children. The children loved her brightly-colored hair, especially when she walked in with a new color!

Sarah’s internship gave her an opportunity to practice much of what she learned in college. It also broadened her understanding of the world. In her own words,

A big thing I learned was that we as humans are more similar than different. So often we let things like race, cultures, and religion divide us. But working with people from all over the world during my internship, I saw how truly united we could be as we relate to each other on a human level. There were classes with people from all over the place. I watched them interact with not only the teachers but also each other. They bonded and helped one another, finding common ground and friendships along the way. We all have something special to bring to the table.

With her new perspective (and probably new hair color) Sarah hopes to work with immigrants, refugees, and other internationals again in the future.


We’re looking for three (unpaid) interns for Fall 2020, and we’ve designed these internships to be mostly virtual. If you or someone you know would like to practice what you’ve learned in college and grow in your understanding of internationals in Knoxville, email us here! We’ll work with your professor to ensure you get the hours and projects you need.

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