What is the best part about traveling and settling in a new country? If you ask anyone this question, hands down they will say: Meeting new people!. Amen to that!.

Being in the US is a global unique experience, you can easily find people from every corner of the world, living, studying, working, touring, eating, taking pictures, swimming… and what better opportunity than this to make friends you can couch-surf with whenever you visit their countries? :D.

Being alone in a new country is intimidating, making new friends is what makes it pleasurable and worthwhile for everyone.

I think I did something good to be blessed to have this family as my friends, a strong, modern, warm family who welcomed me to their home with open arms, prayers and blessings and shared with me their food, stories, intimate times and holidays.

This family is like no other, every member is extraordinary and thoughtfully compelled to devote time and energy to embrace people who are different and less fortunate.

Today, I will talk about this young inspiration, the eldest daughter of the Claire family; Annelise Claire. This 17 years old young lady is truly inspirational, brave, thoughtful, kind, beautiful like a fresh summer breeze. I never met anyone at 17 doing such great community work, doing great in school, speaks very fluent Arabic a language I never thought Americans will be interested in and won a grant which she dedicated to help connect Syrian refugees with American counterparts to make them feel more involved and welcomed in their new country.

I don’t know what I was doing at 17 years old, I didn’t even know what grant or applications for grants meant until 2 years ago.

Annelise is a senior at Washington Latin Public Charter School, she began studying Arabic in 8th grade. She chose Arabic and continued to learn it in school and practice with her Syrian and Arab friends living in the DC area.

Annelise says:”I absolutely love the beautiful language and fascinating culture. Also, many of those from the Middle East whom I’ve met are so hospitable and generous, and I am eager to befriend and better understand them. Another thing that attracts me is the emphasis on community and how the identity of the individual is formed as part of a whole. As someone who has grown up in such a transient city as DC where people are always coming and going, I love the communal aspect of Middle Eastern culture”.

Annelise hopes to major in Arabic or Middle Eastern studies in college. “I dream of living and working in the Middle East someday and putting my Arabic language skills to good use. I don’t know what that entails right now, but I just know I want to work for peace in the lives of those who need it most”. Annelise Claire.

This young lady and her family are doing an amazing work in their community and for the Syrian families, their work should be recognized and applauded by everyone.

Their story is a real proof that stereotypes about Americans and Arabs are untrue, humans are inclined to support their brothers and sisters in need always and always.

Part 2 to be continued…