This past year, I spent 8 months as a placement student at FCJ Refugee Centre. What I really loved about my time there is the mix of a busy, fast paced environment with the vast amount of love and passion that everyone there brings. I worked on a team led by Diana, who seems to be working on a million cases at once, with a combination of other students and staff. We were thrust into working on people’s files and applications, which I think made us really learn well what we were doing, as well as give us confidence and self-determination to continue learning new things.
There’s a lot going on any day at FCJ. There’s people working in healthcare, housing, with women and children, in anti-human trafficking, and in legal assistance. I found it a really great learning opportunity because while I was working on a specific team primarily with government and immigration applications, I was able to see what everyone else was working on. One of the main philosophies at FCJ is that everyone is working together as equals and partners, at the core they are really “Walking with uprooted people”. Everyone there, whether it’s a worker, volunteer, someone seeking a service or assistance, or just a friend, is all part of the FCJ community.
Something that demonstrates the community at FCJ I think is the way that meals are shared. In the morning before anyone starts to work, everyone shares a cup of coffee or tea in the kitchen. Sometimes someone will have brought a snack to share, either from home or from a recent trip.
The whole team also has lunch together every day, occasionally signaled by the smoke alarm because the person cooking got caught up with a busy task, and everyone sits and shares a few moments together to eat and chat. In December I went to the Christmas party where the whole FCJ community is invited. Dinner and drinks are provided for everybody, and toys and presents are given to the kids. The atmosphere was so fun and lively, and really emphasized what the heart of what FCJ is about. I really loved my time at FCJ, and met some really amazing people that truly inspired me.