We often hear that volunteering can lead you to places that will change your life. For Jessica Goudeau, volunteering led to starting a nonprofit that provided supplemental income for Burmese refugee artisans for seven years and then to writing After the Last Border: Two Families and the Story of Refuge in America, which was named a New York Times Editors’ Choice book.

Jessica has a PHD n literature from the University of Texas and has spent over 10 years working with refugees in Austin. In our conversation, we discuss how Jessica’s friendships with “Mu Naw” and “Hasna” , inspired her to devote two years to writing her first book, and the ways her experiences helping refugees has transformed her life. We also discuss how the sentiment towards towards refugee resettlement in the USA has changed, and a few ways the refugee resettlement program is evolving.

Jessica’s book recommendations:

Kao Kalia Yang, Somewhere in the Unknown World

Dina Nayeri, The Ungrateful Refugee

Ahmed Badr, While the Earth Sleeps We Travel

Viet Thanh Nguyen, The Displaced

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