Name: Asmaa Albbukaie
Profession/Industry: Social Work
Current U.S. Position and Company Name: Case Manager, Agency for New Americans
Country of Origin: Syria
Education: Master of Library Management, Damascus University
First Job in U.S.: Interpreter
Story Author: GTI Volunteer Erik Olson
In November 2014, Asmaa Albukaie and her two teenage sons were among the first Syrians to be resettled in Boise. Having fled their hometown of Damascus due to the ongoing civil war, Asmaa and her sons were eventually resettled from their temporary home in Egypt to Boise with the assistance of the Agency for New Americans (ANA).
Having worked with resettlement agencies in Egypt as an interpreter and case manager, Asmaa took up work in Boise as an interpreter for a mental health clinic. However, holding a Master’s degree in Library Management, she was quickly referred to Global Talent Idaho, where she describes learning about American workplace culture and perfecting her resume writing and interview skills to be a complex but rewarding process. She found the mock interview process a particularly helpful aspect of her GTI training. As the practice interviews were recorded, she says she was able to go back multiple times and listen to herself speak while at home or in the car, which allowed her to internalize the ways in which she could best showcase herself in an interview or other professional situation.
Due to Asmaa’s previous experience as a case manager, GTI, through its partnership with the Idaho Department of Labor, was able to help her find a three-month social work internship with the Agency for New Americans. This internship added necessary U.S. work experience to her resume and eventually led to full time employment as a case manager at the Agency for New Americans, the same agency which had facilitated Asmaa’s move to Boise.
While Asmaa cites going back to school to finish a second Master’s degree in psychology or social work, and potentially a research or professorial position as her long-term goals, the desire to assist and provide hope for incoming refugees sharing her culture, language, and background makes her current work at the Agency for New Americans a busy yet meaningful position here in Boise.
If you would like more information on Asmaa’s story, please see the related story from the Idaho Statesman in the link below.