Actress Lindsay Lohan discussed her work with refugees, her public image and her plans for the coming year Thursday in an online video interview with CNN.

“It was scary for me at the time because I’m entering a world that I know nothing really about and I’m trying to learn about it,” Lohan, 30, told the news network’s Abu Dhabi bureau in the United Arab Emirates, speaking of her recent visits with Syrians refugees in Turkey.

“But the most amazing experience I’ve ever had,” she continued, “was when I went into those container camps and saw what the Turkish people are actually doing for people that are just walking aimlessly and have nowhere else to go and giving them refuge.” She added, “Someone needs to bring attention to it” in the United States, where international issues often tend to be overlooked. “What about the other places? And the other people that are suffering? We need to bring awareness to them and attention or else we’re never going to learn.”

Asked for her response to those who might be cynical about the idea of her doing humanitarian work, “I say they should come join,” she replied. “Come help. … Getting on the ground, getting your hands dirty, and then discussing it after, so you know what you’re talking about. It’s easy to go take a photo somewhere and say, ‘I work with kids.’ Really? Do you? What are you working with, with kids? No, you have to go there, learn the statistics, the land, the people, what they mean, so money in the world goes to the right places.”

The “Mean Girls” star reflected that, “Losing half of my finger [in a boating accident this year] and getting it back was one of the best things that’s ever happened to me,” since otherwise she would not have developed a visceral empathy, even to that smaller degree, of “what it feels like to lose a limb,” as many refugees have.

As for her future plans, she says she will begin shooting a fact-based film in April about a Swiss couple abducted by the Taliban. Additionally, “I have been trying so hard to do ‘Mean Girls 2.’ ... I’ve already written a treatment for it; it I just need a response” from the producers and rights-holders. “I know Mark Waters, who was the director, he would happily come back.”

Otherwise, “I’m looking to develop my own production company my own branding company in Dubai,” where she said she will be living for a time. “I’ve met amazing women there that are really strong and have taught me a lot and are very supportive. I don’t think people realize how accepted it is for a woman to be a strong woman in the UAE.”