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  • Writer's pictureSunday Goshit

The World at Our Doorstep

IC Compassion helps new arrivals navigate the U.S. immigration system and settle into the new culture in which they have found themselves. Immigrants to the Iowa City area come from all different parts of the world, and rarely is English their first language. In fact, some of them have very little or no English at all, and their native culture is likely very different from a typical American. There are so many things for new immigrants to learn and adjust to, it can be a shock.

New immigrants must deal with issues of language and communication, understand new daily routines, build relationships and find jobs. They must learn how to navigate landlord-tenant relationships, the school system, government-provided services and many other systems that Americans take for granted. These can become overwhelming and can lead to instability for families, underutilization of skills acquired by many who are college graduates from their home countries, and frustration and sometimes anger toward a system they had hoped would improve their lives. There are a lot of barriers to overcome!

IC Compassion, with our community partners, has formed a coalition called the Refugee Alliance of Johnson County, made up of governmental and non-governmental organizations, religious bodies, and individuals interested in refugee issues. We help tackle the many challenges that immigrants and refugees have in adjusting to life in the United States and the Iowa City area. Immigrants have truly become an integral part of Johnson County, and by coming together to learn more about and from each other, we make our community a more equitable and inclusive place to live, work and thrive.

Some people are waiting to travel to other parts of the world to learn about other cultures. But the pandemic has revealed that our ability to travel and visit others outside where we live can be uncertain. Plus, the cost of travel can be exorbitant, and the logistics difficult to manage. But you don’t need to travel outside this country (or even this county!) to experience the cultures and peoples of the world, to develop intercultural competence, or to show compassion and empathy to the plight of others. By joining with the hundreds of people who have volunteered at IC Compassion, you can travel the world while staying at home. The World is at Our Doorstep.

You can be a good neighbor by reaching out to immigrants and refugees, by lending an ear to listen to their stories, and striving to understand why people from around the world come to Iowa to make this place a home. As IC Compassion seeks to provide resources for immigrants and refugees, we also provide complementing resources for people who are open to venturing out of their comfort zone and becoming global citizens. When you reach out to the world through IC Compassion, you experience the beauty of the world, build relationships across cultures and experience the satisfaction of being a global volunteer.

If you are interested in becoming a global volunteer with IC Compassion, please email We look forward to experiencing the world with you!

True Religion

Lyrics by Ryan Delmore

You came for the lost, the sick and the blind With salvation and hope You gave to us free,

so what will we do With this treasure we hold

Let justice roll on like a river Let mercy shine bright as the sun Take care of the orphan and widow Take care of our own flesh and blood

ʻCause this is the way that Youʼve called us to love To share what we have with the hungry and poor Put clothes on the naked and heal up the broken and torn True religion True religion

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