Student Interns with Kentucky Refugee Ministries

Student Interns with Kentucky Refugee Ministries

Intern Arabella Werner



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Here is another in our series of stories about UofL students continuing to do incredibly important work for our community, even as the coronavirus spreads throughout the country.  Meet Prospect, Kentucky senior Arabella Werner who is interning with Kentucky Refugee Ministries. 

Arabella has been working as a Spanish ESL instructor for Cuban refugees and also did some interpretation work for her students. As the pandemic problems increased, she had to leave the classroom and the face-to-face work she was doing with students, switching to other tasks that do not require direct contact.  “Now, I primarily conduct practice interviews for the citizenship test with refugees via telephone. I also utilize Spanish interpreting skills during the interviews. Now I work remotely from my back porch. It is definitely an adjustment. I am grateful, however, that I am able to continue my work remotely, despite the crisis.”

Arabella says she has benefitted greatly from her internship with Kentucky Refugee Ministries. “My Spanish speaking skills have improved and my interpersonal communication skills have been refined. As a Communication major and Spanish minor, I believe this internship has also aided me in seriously considering my career path. I plan on entering the public relations and sales field, while also utilizing my Spanish speaking abilities. I am hoping medical interpreting, alongside medical sales will provide me with both aspects.”

But perhaps more important, Arabella has grown as a human being.  “Every day I entered my ESL classroom or pick up the telephone to conduct an interview, I have been overwhelmed with joy. It has been a fulfilling opportunity to contribute to the needs of refugees. My cultural awareness and overall perspective have been enhanced by my hardworking, humorous, and resilient students.”

Arabella Werner is yet another UofL students who makes us all proud to be a Cardinal - thanks very much for what you are doing!  If you know of a student doing great work in our community in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, please send an email to so we can tell that story as well.