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When offering emotional support to refugees, it’s essential to ask open-ended and non-intrusive questions to create a safe and trusting environment. It takes time to build trust and consistency in a relationship.  Belonging is crucial for anyone and important to grow as a human and feel empowered and seen by others.
As you learn about their family and share with them about your family,  it is important to ask the right questions – approaching the relationship as a learner. 
Here are some questions you can ask:
1. How are you feeling today? Is there anything specific on your mind that you’d like to talk about?
2. What are some of the challenges you are facing right now, and how can I help you navigate them?
3. Can you tell me more about your experiences before coming to America? I want to understand your journey better and more about what happened.
4. What do you miss from your home country that you’d like to tell me about?
5. What are your interests and hobbies? I would like to know to better help you.
6. Are there any cultural traditions or practices you’d like to share with me that you do not do here?
7. How can I support you in your education and/or career goals?
8. What do you enjoy doing when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed?
9. Have you made any friends or connections since arriving here? How can I help you expand and grow your social contacts?
10. What are your dreams and aspirations for the future? Let’s discuss ways to work towards them together.
Remember, always be respectful and sensitive when asking these questions, and let the refugee know that you are there to listen and support them without judgment.
By Joel Vestal
July 30, 2023

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