Casual Fridays with Nationalities Service Center (NSC)

Welcome back to another week of Casual Fridays where we are interviewing Employer partners to bring new and exciting opportunities to you all! Today we are joined by another fantastic employer. This week we are happy to have a rep, Raia Santos, from the Nationalities Service Center here to talk about volunteer and internship opportunities available in their organization. For over a century now, the NSC has empowered immigrants and refugees to thrive in our communities and pursue a just future. They provide services and support in a variety of different ways, including but not limited to: legal services, health and wellness, education, language access, employment, housing, etc. 

I hope you enjoy this interview with Raia!

Kelly Dougherty: Thanks for joining us, Raia! Can you start by telling us more about who you are and what you do?

Raia Santos: Sure! My name is Raia Santos and I am the volunteer coordinator at the Nationalities Service Center (NSC)

KD: Thank you! Can you tell us a little about NSC and what you want our students to know about the organization?

RS: Of course! NSC provides scaffolding and support for clients as they learn to establish their new lives and pursue a just future. NSC has over 20 departments and heavily relies on the assistance of interns and volunteers. Students who have joined the team have been responsible for planning and facilitating health appointments for clients, planning unique events, coordinating ESL classes for the semester, overseeing the food pantry, and resettling new arrivals, which includes picking them up, finding housing, setting up the home and school enrollment for school aged children.

KD: Do you recruit interns for each of the different departments that serve your immigrant and refugee clients?

RS: Yes. We provide comprehensive services and support including legal protection and remedies, health and wellness, education, employment services and language access through 20 department. Each semester, we recruit interns to work within each department to aid clients with support and learning to navigate a new culture, new systems, discrimination, language and more.

KD: Do you recruit year round, or are there certain times of year that students can apply to these opportunities?

RS: We recruit interns, volunteers and potential employees year round!

KD: Are these opportunities open to students in all class years?

RS: Yes, we offer opportunities for all class years, but give preference to Juniors, Seniors, and Grad Students.

KD: How is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion reflected in your practices and culture at your Organization?

RS: AT NSC, we stand with immigrants. We Champion immigrants with urgency today and for generations to come. For over a century, NSC has empowered immigrants and refugees to thrive in our communities and pursue a just future. Our staff is also made up of individuals who reflect the clients we serve on a daily basis. We also partner with community members, centers, local politicians, business and more to conduct outreach and educational efforts.

KD: Thanks so much for sharing all of this, Raia. Lastly, what is the best part about working at NSC for you?

RS: The best part about working for NSC is gaining the opportunity to be a part of the change in someone’s life. Immigrants make up about 15% of Philadelphia’s population. 1 in 5 Philadelphians in the labor force have an immigrant background, and 1 in 5 children live in a household with a foreign-born person. Imagine arriving in a new country without support, filled with fear, and coming across a team of individuals who genuinely care to make your new journey enjoyable and less frightening. Having the chance to be a part of said team that supports and prepares clients for their journey in a new environment is the best part about my job. I also enjoy connecting with like-minded volunteers and interns. 

KD: Who can students contact with any questions?

RS: They can contact me, Raia Santos, Volunteer Coordinator.

We hope you learned a lot of great information from this interview with Raia at the Nationalities Service Center. To learn more about opportunities with this organization, please see the attached information and visit their website:

By Kelly Dougherty
Kelly Dougherty Assistant Director, Employer Relations