Goodbye to fancy flags and awesome people -Kayla Bruce

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My summer with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was the most incredible learning experience, and in many ways that I never would have predicted. This summer has deepened my understanding of international humanitarian organizations and the complex setting within which they must function. It has shown me that several of my preexisting criticisms of the U.N. system were superficial, while I developed others as the summer went on. I was truly learning new things every single day in Geneva, and as excited as I am to be headed back to NOLA, I wish I could have stayed a bit longer.

During my last week at UNHCR, I wrote up a list of my internship tasks and accomplishments to review with my supervisor. It was great to have an opportunity to sit down and discuss how my work impacted the office and well as how my time at UNHCR impacted my own learning outcomes. I was proud to see this impact, and there were a few major projects that stuck out in my mind. I think my greatest contribution to the team were the creation of Key Messaging Outlines, something my office has talked about making but never actually had until now (view my last post for a more detailed description of this project). I completed Key Messaging Outlines for Syria, Iraq, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Nigeria, Burundi, Yemen and Ukraine. Now that the foundation is laid, the team simply has to review their countries’ outlines once a week to make sure they are up to date. I produced an outline template that can be filled out if (alright… when) new crises arise. This project will allow anyone on the team to confidently speak at a press briefing on an issue that may be outside of his or her area of expertise.

Watching my desk neighbor do a French News 24 interview down the hall

Watching my desk neighbor do a French News 24 interview down the hall

I also developed a clear media monitoring outline, a project I have been working on since the beginning of the summer. This required a combination of getting the hang of our media tracking software, doing follow up research on different media outlets, understanding which media sources were priorities, and working with the PI team to develop a format that would be concise and useful on a weekly basis. It was satisfying to see that by the end of my internship, people were checking in with me right after a briefing to ask when I would get the data on their note, anxious to analyze its reach (I had to wait at least 24 hours to start evaluating media pick up). I developed a template for future interns to use and have offered to Skype with a future intern to discuss how I went about the media monitoring process. Other project I worked on included writing interviews, expanding publicity for media pieces, creating country blurbs for a website featuring refugee musicians, and writing a comparative media report to try and convince Angelina Jolie to finally speak on BBC instead of CNN. While there were a few major projects I worked on throughout my ten weeks, every week brought new and different tasks and new opportunities to learn.

One thing major thing I have come to terms with is that if I want to continue in this field I will have to get several years of field experience under my belt. This is not only an important next step in getting hired in this field, but important in understanding how administrative work at head quarters translates to services in the field. While this has always been something I have distantly considered, I’m now aware that I will need to make that decision soon. It will mean a minimum of two years abroad, and ideally three to five. It will mean leaving a lot behind and missing major life events; graduations, weddings, births and deaths. It will also mean spending enough time somewhere to gain a more permanent community, and to deeply understand that culture. It will mean working in direct services and connecting distant planning and fundraising to real people. It will allow me to determine whether this is the right path for me, and if it is, it will allow me to continue along that path. Whichever path I chose, the next few years will be a period of major change for me, and I’m excited for all that lies ahead.

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High Commission Guterres welcomes the President of Tanzania to UNHCR headquarters (unfortunately, the red carpet was temporary)

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Beautiful performance by a Syrian refugee on World Refugee Day

Sad to leave, but glad to have made such great friends

Sad to leave, but glad to have made such great friends

Au revoir, Genève – Angelica

Now that I am back home and able to reflect on the past two months, I’m realizing how much I have learned and experienced throughout the course of my internship. In terms of giving me some direction professionally, my time with ICMHD was invaluable. It has allowed me to see what working in public health could entail, and how I may best contribute, especially in the earliest phases of what I’m hoping will become my career. More broadly, and perhaps even more importantly, it has renewed my determination to pick an occupation with which I will be able to do some “good.”

My internship has given me some insight into how this goal may be attained. One of my learning objectives was to understand, in greater detail, how NGOs and intergovernmental organizations can help in the pursuit of “development,” which I continue to associate with the alleviation of suffering, at least in part. My conversations at my internship, whether over lunch, or during a meeting or after a presentation, have exposed me to the complexity of doing so and the necessity of a combined effort on the part of citizens, governments, NGOs, intergovernmental organizations and many other entities that have the potential to generate change. Sweeping measures do not seem to work when addressing the root of persistent development and public health issues. One of these issues, which I was able to learn more about through a presentation at my internship site, was the high rate of cesarean sections in many parts of the world. The reasons why so many women are opting for C-sections is not well understood, and likely vary from country to country, presenting a complicated and pressing issue to unravel. I would like to be part of the effort of answering these types of difficult questions in public health in the hope of better understanding that which influences our decisions regarding health.

With this idea in mind, I would like to continue to learn about research in public health, and contribute what I can when I return to New Orleans, and beyond. I would like to further investigate sources of inequality and how they influence health and well-being, a research topic I view as extremely relevant for study in New Orleans, a city suffering from great inequality with unique public health needs. I now feel I have more direction in my coursework as well as the work I plan to do outside the classroom to facilitate this.

My experiences in Geneva have also reinforced my determination to do as much abroad as possible. Seeing other parts of the world is incredibly rewarding and essential to understanding our increasingly globalizing and multicultural lives. Anyone interested in doing work that will have an impact on people outside of your own culture should seize opportunities to immerse oneself in life elsewhere. I’ve heard the importance of cultural literacy emphasized time and time again throughout my internship.

It is difficult to encompass the change I feel I have undergone and everything I have learned during my internship. I remain thankful to Newcomb College Institute and the Center for Engaged Learning and Teaching, for making this experience attainable. I believe that experiences such as these are at the heart of what life as a college student should be. I don’t know when else I will have the opportunity to so freely explore my interests. This summer will truly be a defining moment in my life.

I can’t wait to return to Tulane and apply what I’ve learned at ICMHD and living in Geneva to life in NOLA (which will be quite soon, as I’m back in early August for RA training).

Until next time, Geneva!

A view from a hike in the Swiss Prealps.

A view from a hike in the Swiss Prealps.

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My favorite spot to swim in Lac Léman, Baby Plage – “plage” is French for “beach.”

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A picture I find representative of the clean, Calvinist-cool vibes of Geneva’s old town.

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Another delightful spot in the Old Town.

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St. Pierre Cathedral. My hostel was located right across the square from it. It’s bells ring every 15 minutes. One ding for the 15th minute of the hour, two for the 30th and three for the 45th. Surprisingly, I and many others at the hostel did not find this annoying, except on Sundays when the bells would ring for a solid 10 minutes, from 9:50 until 10 a.m. I had to, however, appreciate being so close to such a beautiful, historic building.

Bye Bye Big City – Audrey Preston

Wow, I can’t believe it’s the end of summer already! It absolutely flew by. I hope to be back here next summer, so at least I still have some time to see some of the sights that I missed this time around. I thought that ten weeks would last longer, but it feels like the blink of an eye. I’ve been especially busy the past few weeks.

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I’ll miss going through these doors every day 🙁

Things have picked up significantly at work. It seems contradictory, but now that the fiscal year end has passed, everyone has a little more time to help the interns learn the ropes and really get a feel for how the office operates. I’ve been primarily working on accounts payable, so I’m helping to make sure that all the bills get paid, and the right vendors get the right checks sent to the right address. I’ve had to pay a lot of attention to the details, and I’ve been developing a keen eye for typos. I’ve enjoyed seeing the variety of vendors that Success Academy uses; it takes a lot of resources to keep 32 schools up and running, especially when we are renovating schools in between school years. The sheer amount of cash flow has blown my mind, and I didn’t realize that operating schools had so many moving parts. As Success Academy grows, it will get even more complex.

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Turning my ID in!

Outside of accounts payable, I’ve been working on miscellaneous tasks around the office too. I’ve helped streamline the credit card payment reporting system, and gathered data for an analysis regarding cost cutting at the middle schools. One of the best things about Success Academy is the collaborative atmosphere; you really get a sense that everyone is willing to roll up their sleeves and pitch in whenever something needs to be done, regardless of the task.

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Working hard or hardly working?

The corporate culture is definitely my favorite part. The finance department is really great about building relationships and creating a cohesive team. They have a book club, where every so often they all read the same business-related book (picked by the team on a variety of subjects). We talk about it during the weekly team meeting every Wednesday. Right now, we’re reading a book called Crucial Conversations, which is about how to navigate uncomfortable discussions without damaging the relationship. It’s been a worthwhile read, and I recommend it. It’s really important for office relations anywhere.

The office is really friendly, too. Last Friday, we all took off work and went to a lake as a team building activity, and it was actually very fun. I had a great time, and felt like I got to know my coworkers much better and more informally. We had a cookout and a picnic and went kayaking, and people brought their kids and spouses. It was really fun to be able to connect with people who are older than me and come from different backgrounds. Despite the differences, we were still able to bond on multiple levels. This summer has really drove home that corporate culture is so important – going to work is a lot more fun if you like the person you sit next to for 8+ hours every day.

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They also bribed us with cupcakes – yum!

Besides that nugget of wisdom, I’ve learned so much more about what I want from a career moving forward, which is why this summer was so pivotal. I need a job that’s challenging and stimulating, but I don’t want crushing amounts of pressure, and I need to like the people that I work with. At the end of the day, I don’t think that corporate finance is really for me, but I’m very happy that I discovered that sooner rather than later.

That realization has also been really important to my future career plans. I was able to narrow down exactly what I want to pursue, which is equity research (basically researching stocks and providing recommendations to the market). Since I have a much better sense of direction, I was able to focus my energies into pursuing my options more vigorously, and with a better sense of purpose. I’ve found that people are more willing to help you if they have a better idea of exactly how to help you, and they can offer really phenomenal opportunities. For example, I was able to go to a networking event with accelerated interviews this past week, so I may have an offer for an internship before I go back to school, and I won’t have to worry about it at all while I’m abroad. We should find out in about a week, so wish me luck!

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The best part of networking is the swag…. just kidding

I can’t believe that I’m going to be in Peru in less than a week. I’m feeling nervous but definitely excited. I got an email from my host mother this morning asking which foods I like to eat, and it drove it home that I’m going to be living in South America for four whole months, speaking Spanish and seeing the sights and eating the food. It’s really surreal. I feel like I’ve grown so much in the past two months, so I can’t imagine what this semester will bring. I feel almost exactly like I did when I left for New York ten weeks ago – it’s like I’m about to go skydiving and I need someone to push me out of the plane.

It’s been quite the ride, and there’s even more adventures ahead.

Wish me luck!

Audrey

Midpoint Post – Sarah Haensly

Midpoint

Hi! I’m about a month into my internship with the Nature Conservancy and have about a month left to go. Most of my work up to this point has revolved around preparing for the Washington coast Works Sustainable Small Business Competition boot camp that will take place at the end of this month. I’ve been doing a lot of the coordinating with the conference center that we will be at as well as making sure the materials are available to the participants.

 

First off, I am definitely working on all of my learning objectives. I have learned a lot about coordinating and planning events, as well as making sure all the little details are taken care of. I have been engaging with the other people in my office, as well as my internship supervisor. Two of my learning objectives will take place during the boot camp because I’ll be listening in to all the information about creating sustainable small businesses and learning more about environmental organizations. For all of these things I am monitoring my growth through a workplan that my boss and I created that lists all the tasks that we have accomplished, as well as everything that has yet to be done.

 

Right now I am most proud of learning how to do all these tasks on my own. I feel like I have grown a lot through my internship and think that a lot of the skills that I have learned will carry on to future jobs. I also am excited for the boot camp because there I will have the opportunity to learn a lot more about small businesses.

 

All of the skills that I am learning will be transferable. First, after the boot camp I will have learned a lot that can be applied to the things that I learn in economics. I hope to write some sort of paper at some point about the positive effects of creating small local businesses in rural communities as opposed to big industries. I also am gaining more information of where I’d like to be in the future. I picked two broad degrees of study in order to give myself as many options as possible. I would like to continue to work with rural communities in an economics sense.

 

I’ve also added some photos of the building that I work in.

 

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Wrapping Things Up- Jean Namonywa

I finished working with Fund 17 about a week and a half ago. I’m really proud of the work I did! I completed the legal resource document, and it will be used to as training material for the Fund 17 interns this Fall, and also as a reference guide for fellows consulting with clients. Impact assessment was a real challenge, but I’m glad I got some exposure to it. Reaching the last client to complete the satisfaction survey was a real challenge, but I luckily got it taken care of. The only date that worked for the client to complete the survey was after the end date of my internship, but it was nice to put in the extra work to reach our goals of having those surveys completely finished.

This experience was a great exposure to the complexity of the law. I got to dive in to the various areas of the law that a small business touches, from the Cottage Food Law to General Liability Insurance. I would love to get to see these areas of law in practice, and an additional experience I would like to take on is to consult clients on the legal issues I learn about. I also liked when a lawyer contacted us for a meeting and told us about her career. My advice for students interested in a legal career to meet with a lawyer to learn what the day-to-day job is like, and also to get exposure to different types of law to learn what you’re drawn to. My advice for a student that wants to work for a nonprofit is that they shouldn’t expect immediate results from the work they do. They also should make sure that the work they do truly positively impacts the people they want to serve, and the best way to do this is to learn about impact assessment. It’s not the most fun part of the job, but it’s one of the most important!

Key Messaging Outlines for UNHCR -Kayla Bruce

A few weeks ago I started working on a project I feel will truly benefit the Public Information team at UNHCR, as well as myself. Currently, the PI team is set up so that each employee covers the refugee crises/situations in a certain part of the world. These divisions are unequally drawn based on how much conflict is happening in a given part of the world, and therefore how often a UNHCR will want to share information on a topic. For example, one person covers only Syria and Iraq, another covers all of Europe, another covers the horn of Africa, etc. This allows each team member to develop relationships with our people in the field and to understand the UNHCR’s role in each situation on a deeper level. However, it also means that when someone is on leave, on mission, or even out for the day, our coverage of their area of focus can be limited. It is a huge amount of pressure for a spokesperson to speak at a press briefing on a topic with which they are not incredibly familiar, as they could truly be asked anything about it. So, that’s where this project comes in.

I’m working on creating Key Messaging Outlines for all the major refugee situations in the world; essentially Public Information “cheat sheets.” My goal is to compile outlines that will enable any PI team member to present on a given topic and effectively express UNHCR’s perspective on an issue. These one page outlines include background, UNHCR’s key needs/messages, important facts such as numbers and locations of refugees, and funding requirements. Then I have a key documents section that includes recent reports, funding appeals, etc. It also links to the latest UNHCR briefing note on a given situation, which the PI team has said is the most useful key document to have in mind while you’re speaking at a press briefing. It shows how your colleagues presented on an issue, what terminology they used, etc. Finally, I include an infographic map at the end of each document. This helps people to visualize a conflict in the context of its neighboring countries. It often includes which areas are the least stable or where the main refugee camps are located.

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Refugee map used for the Central African Republic outline

Another goal is to create these documents in a way that can be easily reviewed and updated at the beginning of each week by the spokesperson for that area. The background information is less likely to change. However, we often get updated numbers from the field every week or two. All the key numbers, financial requirements, etc are bold and written so that a spokesperson should be able to simply update the numbers as necessary and essentially leave everything else. I have also made a blank outline that can be easily filled in if a new crisis arises or a minor situation becomes more significant.

I have met with the each spokesperson to discuss key UNHCR messages, which I think has helped accomplish several goals. By meeting with them one on one about their countries, they have also been able to provide input as to how to structure the key messaging outlines in the most useful way, one suggesting to include a map, another suggesting a link to the latest briefing note. This information is valuable because it tells me what will make this a project that the team will actually use when I am gone. It also makes the spokespeople feel more involved in the making of these documents, which I believe will encourage them to actually keep the outlines up to date after I leave. Finally, it has allowed me to work on something one on one with each person on our team. This has been a great opportunity for me to get to know them each better in a professional context.

This project has been a great learning experience for me. I have learned so much about each of these refugee crises, how UNHCR is involved, and more importantly, when the UNHCR should not be involved. There are many sensitivities that UNHCR has to work around in order to serve refugees. Sometimes this means separating the organization from the political discussion around it, and sometimes it doesn’t. I hope that when I check up with UNHCR in a few months, the spokespeople will still be using these outlines to keep the whole team up to date on major issues.

My desk, hidding behind the tree

My desk, hidding behind the tree

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The boss, Melissa Fleming, and I

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That time I followed the high commissioner around for a day

Goodnight, Vietnam – Kristine

I’ve been back in sleepy Houma, Louisiana for over a week now; looking back through my photos and journal entries from last month makes the adventure seem like a dream. However, I know that the lessons I’ve learned are real and will be carried with me from here onward.

I remember the first patient I tried examining on my own in the internal medicine ward. I was nervous and my Vietnamese was tentative, but I carefully went through all the appropriate steps which I had learned just moments before (look through the patient’s file, observe visual signs, feel the neck and quadrants of the belly area, ask about medical history and lifestyle). Becoming familiar with procedure for new patients and developing my examination skills were top learning priorities for me as I was entering the internship, so I took every chance I could to don the white coat and take a look at patients. In the neurology department, I saw many stroke victims and thus by the end of that week I’d begun to notice the signs and read x-ray charts for stroke of the brain (you can see one below!). Some of my favorite investigations fell under this diagnosis, only because they involved extensive and clever examination. My mentors watched and guided me each day, often with amusement. Although I was sad to leave a department at the end of the week, just when the staff and I were becoming friends, I left my internship having friends all over the hospital. During the last week, I never went to lunch without running into a familiar face. Contrast that with my first lunch at UMC – my mentor was busy so I walked the side streets alone, paranoid that my clothes would label me as a naive foreigner, and still clumsy with Vietnam đồng denominations (which certainly outed me as a naive foreigner).

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An x-ray chart for a stroke patient. Names and personal information have been blacked out.

In every department I would find physicians eager to discuss health care politics with me. I spent many lunches, free time in the office, and walks between patient rooms exchanging information with physicians, professors, and students. We talked about the medical school system, method of payment for doctors, health factors, and patient attitudes in both the U.S and Vietnam. Nearly every patient came in with preconceptions about what their diagnosis should be, or was found to have self-prescribed medication after their last visit. The pharmacies in Vietnam require no physician signature on prescriptions, so patients are able to buy any drug at any time. This, of course, leads to complications in diagnosis and treatment. I learned that effective communication was more than half the job.

I suspect this summer is one I will continually come back to, as I make connections between what I have seen and what I will learn in the classroom. I have yet to see much of the terminology and mechanisms I was exposed to during my internship in school, but I know I will eventually come across them. Having hands-on, visceral experiences to link to readings will solidify the knowledge in my mind. For this reason I hope to continue to build more real-world experiences in the medical field by perhaps working as a scribe or volunteering at different hospitals. One day, I would love to travel again with a program to help administer health care. Foremost, I am excited to learn more about everything I have encountered this summer.

For anyone interested in shadowing at UMC or in the industry at all, I highly recommend developing personal connections and reaching out to administrators and physicians directly. Not only is it cheaper than going through a sanctioned program, but it also allows for more control over what you will be learning and accomplishing, and is likely to strengthen and extend your professional network. In such a competitive environment, standing out and maintaining strong networks gives you a special advantage. The more important advice, though, is just to go beyond your borders and do something you love in a new place you might come to love.11756644_964345063626027_1697159696_n 11759477_964345680292632_713365960_n

The End of My Summer with teachNOLA / TNTP Academy – Hannah Ryan

Many of my learning goals for my summer internship with teachNOLA / TNTP Academy revolved around communicating effectively with those that I interacted with, and becoming knowledgeable with the tools that I was using to complete my tasks, specifically Excel. As my internship continued, I became a lot more confident with composing emails and communicating effectively with those around me. I learned it is important to repeat necessary things because not everyone will catch it the first time. I learned that even if you think an individual will ask a follow-up question or already should know the information, it is important to supply them with as much information as possible the first time you confer with them, as to limit any more confusion. Pretty much every task that I did involved recording information in an Excel sheet, or pulling information from another Excel sheet. One thing I learned to do with Excel was a VLOOKUP. This function allows you to draw information from a file of interest and transfer it to the file you are using automatically, with the use of a common identifier. This function saves a lot of time and unnecessary transferring from one document to the other. Another one of my learning goals was centered around asking fewer questions, and being more thorough in the questions that I did ask. I learned that the more comfortable you get in a position and the more confident you become in your abilities, the easier the question asking becomes, the fewer the trivial questions become, and the easier the answers are to understand.

During the rest of my time at Tulane, I plan to help where help is needed in my life. Many of the everyday tasks that I completed aside from my long projects were things that really just were helping get things done that other people maybe didn’t have time to do. Myself and the other interns made posters to hang up at PST and we helped with the folding and distribution of the end of training T-shirts. We also were at hand to help with anything the staff needed during the big hiring fair for the fellows as well. During the rest of my time at Tulane I also plan to just enjoy myself. Watching how stressed each of these fellows were about making sure they got through the program, and figuring out where all the money was going to come from to pay for it, made me realize how I am not ready to jump full-force into adulthood. I’d rather just enjoy the time I’ve been given to relax and be naïve, and take advantage of that time. In the future, I look forward to learning more: more about where I am at, more about where I want to go, and more about what I can do to contribute to society.

If anyone is interested in interning with teachNOLA / TNTP Academy, this is what I recommend. Be flexible. Take advantage of all the opportunities you get to help anyone. I wish I would have taken more opportunities to see what it is that actually happens during Pre Service Training, rather than just what is behind the scenes. Be on time. You can get a lot more work done, and have a lot more opportunities to do new things if you make the most of your time, including getting there early. Enjoy the job you are doing. The staff is great and more than willing to help with any questions you may have.

If you are interested in the field of non-profits I would explore the vast number of opportunities. There are many non-profits that offer a number of different services. If there is one thing I learned from my internship, it is that there are many different branches on a tree. Everyone each has their own job and their own leaves to support so explore.

I learned that to become a more effective problem solver, you have to be firm and flexible at the same time. You have to try to understand each individual’s problems while still trying to get your job done, which is heavily dependent on deadlines. It is all a balancing act, and it is important not to judge any one person because their situation may be a little more difficult than another’s.

I have had a great summer with teachNOLA / TNTP Academy. My favorite part was getting to interact with the staff, the fellows, and my fellow interns. I have learned a lot, and I look forward to implementing what I’ve learned in the future wherever it may apply.

Hannah

 

 

 

Three weeks to go in Geneva, no signs of slowing down – Angelica

With a month behind me at my internship with the International Center for Migration, Health and Development, I am beginning to see how much I have gained from my time here. Back in April, I drafted my learning goals with the intent of taking full advantage of the vast opportunities that surround me in Geneva. I have striven to do so, and find that seizing these opportunities always pays off, whether they be weekend trips to France or conversations with (initially) intimidating superiors. These experiences let me know I am progressing in achieving what initially brought me to Geneva: the chance to explore my interests and gain concrete knowledge of the ~working world~ towards which I am headed, and to shake off the uncertainties that may prevent me from embracing possibilities that come my way.

One of my learning goals was to better understand the role NGO’s and intergovernmental organizations play in “international development.” My understanding of this much-used term has been expanded from my experiences speaking with those at the ICMHD and other interns at a variety of organizations, from other non-profits to the UN. From understanding the UN bureaucratic system, to possessing deep knowledge of a culture, I am learning about many of the factors that influence the efficacy of “development” ventures. This is valuable knowledge in my pocket, which I am able to reflect upon when I (force myself to) write down my experiences so they may inform the work I may be doing one day.

Making connection others which allow me to having such conversations is something I am proud of since I have a tendency towards being reserved. I have met some amazing people in Geneva, from whom I have learned so much (it also doesn’t hurt that I’ve also had some incredible times with them). Those around us have incredible stories to tell and it always pays to listen. Since many of the other interns I meet are older have much more experience than I have (most are masters students), I am learning so much about their experiences, what they would have done differently, experiences that have shaped them etc. Not only am I seeing the possibilities for my future, but I am seeing how a passion for promoting human rights can play out in people’s lives. Many of the interns I meet are driven by a desire to do good and experience as much of the world as possible. This only reaffirms my own desire to do so, which will help drive me through my future pursuits, especially as I continue to be involved in the Tulane and New Orleans community.

I am seeing that the skills I am gaining here will be invaluable after I leave Geneva. On the professional lean of life, I am currently working on gathering information for an ICMHD project aiming to create a comprehensive source of knowledge on rare cancers in Europe. The depth of research I have had to learn to do will help me in much of my academic career within itself. Seeing the work that goes into such a project on many different levels will inform my understanding of public health project, which will ultimately be essential to my ability to work in this field. It is a sizable project, which I have learned to break into pieces as I work towards wrapping up this task. Long-term projects have always been a challenge for me, but I will be far more confident approaching them after this experience.

Finally, I can’t say enough about how living on my own (or at least to a greater extent than I ever have before) has helped me become better organized, better with money and more comfortable with the prospect of being a full-fledged independent. I’m on a tight budget but have managed to feed myself, I have experienced a lot of what Geneva has to offer and can already see myself handing dorm life much more effectively than in the bumbling phases of freshman year.

To boot, being abroad in a city as international as Geneva has allowed me to interact with people from an incredible range of backgrounds, which will give me invaluable knowledge of other cultures and worldviews. I have a greater understanding of the experiences that shape others and have thus expanded my view of those who differ from me.

In other news, my computer crashed recently, so I don’t have any pictures to share right now, but will be sure to upload some as soon as I can. Time previously devoted to Netflixing, however, is now spent hanging out in the hostel’s communal kitchen talking to very cool people, or wandering Geneva’s exceedingly charming old town. Which will always be a plus.

Asia Bradlee: Midpoint at Boston Magazine

I can’t believe that my internship is already halfway over…this summer has gone by so quickly! So far at my internship I have learned more about my writing and future career than I have in any time that I’ve been at school.

I see the evolution of my writing through every published every article that I write. My progress is measured by the corrections my boss makes to my articles and how I’ve gotten to work on more intense and important projects as my internship has progressed. I’ve been very lucky to not only be doing digital journalism, but II’m currently working on research for a print article that will be published in September, which will give me print and research credit to add to my resume.

I’m extremely proud of the fact that I got to create, photograph, and publish my original avocado toast recipes, all with the support of my boss. It’s a refreshing change of pace to be treated like an adult in a work environment—I’m not constantly supervised and my supervisor trusts me enough to make decisions for my articles and research on my own. If you want to check it out, here it is! http://www.bostonmagazine.com/health/blog/2015/05/22/avocado-toast-recipes/

I’m excited to see how my writing skills continue to evolve and to further my knowledge about journalism. This internship has made me realize that writing is really a passion a mine; and I’m lucky enough to combine it with my other favorite topic: health. I’m looking forward to making the most of these last few weeks of my internship.