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Angela Mellon: Intern for the UN Refugee Agency in Syria

July 5, 2011

Angela Mellon

I only meant to be in Syria for the summer, but the longer I stayed the more I fell in love with the people around me and their hospitality and kindness. Every woman on the bus was my surrogate mother, every girl my new best friend. I was surprised, even confused, by their welcome but I got used to it and now home is the place that feels strange. I interned for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and saw that same Syrian hospitality stretched thin with the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees living in Syria. Summer passed, then fall, winter. The secret police cut my stay short on February 3rd, giving me 48 hours to leave the country. Government aside, we have a lot to learn from Syrians, if only more of us went there to listen and learn and share.

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