Hudson’s Service Reflection

Over the course of the year, I tutored a 20-year-old student in Damascus via Skype. Because of the time difference, I had to wake up at 5:45 A.M. to coordinate with him. We had to make ‘audio calls,’ because his internet was not good enough for video. We were connected through Paper Airplanes Tutoring, which is an organization that connects students around the world with Syrians that want to learn English. I taught a student whose brother was seeking asylum in Germany, and he had hoped to join him there, as he was attracted by work and education opportunities and economic growth. I was teaching towards the TOEFL, an English exam often used as a barometer of one’s fluency. A good score was required in order to obtain a scholarship from a German university-his university had been shut down for the year due to war. The experience was extremely rewarding, and he greatly inspired me. He stopped his English studies once the EU reached an agreement on how many Syrians they would accept. Because he was still in Syria, he was far behind on any asylum process, and the German universities were much harder to attend. I spoke with him at length about ways to flee the country, but he did not want to leave his parents behind. We remain friends, and often still talk on Facebook.

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