During her time at ISD, Lauren Olosky was inspired to help others. Now a student at Georgetown University, Lauren’s commitment to supporting refugees, and to better understanding the causes of their flight, remains an important part of her world.
My first time at the Düsseldorf Airport Train Station as a volunteer in 2015, at the start of my IB Diploma, was one I will never forget.
That day and the subsequent months revealed the scale and intensity of the Syrian refugee crisis, but even more importantly, the toll it took on thousands of people who fled fearing for their safety and wellbeing.
Meeting these refugees and hearing their stories provided the impetus for my Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) project. Several friends and I started volunteering at the train station regularly, especially with the children. Months later, when the arrivals at the station began to decline, we shifted to the refugee center just down the street from ISD. Through fundraisers, awareness campaigns, direct volunteering and music lessons, and the invaluable support of friends, teachers, and the ISD community, I soon came to realize how deeply this cause resonated with me.
When I came to Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. last fall, I was inspired to seek out more opportunities to engage with refugee and migration issues.
Last semester, I studied climate-induced migration in my class on humanitarian crises. At the same time, I interned with the Asylum Seeker Assistance Project, a nonprofit that serves asylum seekers in the local DC area with purpose and dignity.
In one of my classes this semester, I am studying the roots of the refugee crisis: the complex geopolitical and historical context of the conflict in Syria and its neighboring region. Another one of my classes contrasts the American and Swedish asylum systems, and especially how they meet (or fail to meet) the particular vulnerabilities and needs of children. I now know I want to be at the forefront of these issues, working towards progress for thousands of people displaced by conflict.
It’s clear to me now, looking back on the path I’ve taken thus far, how I can trace the essence of my academic and personal pursuits to my experiences at ISD. It sparked my interest and set me on my way forward.
ISD will always hold years of memories and significance for me, attached to friendships, traditions and community – but I now know how ISD and the friends and teachers I met there also empowered me to pursue my long-term passion, and for that I am grateful.