With my countdown to Paris at a mere 6 days, I've been thinking more and more about my future there. My graduate program requires a thesis or for-credit internship in the final semester and I have yet to figure out which one I'd prefer. My only comfort is that at least I know what direction I want to go in, kind of.Strasbourg, France, I'd never had Lebanese food. And before I moved to Paris for graduate school, I'd never pursued a possible future with an international philanthropic organization.
A few months ago, my advisor noted how my educational path thus far has been unique since I started out so speciality-focused and am only now broadening my study horizons. He's right, but I can't imagine it having gone any other way. Although my professional degree is in magazine journalism, travel seminars exposed me to human rights in a whole new light. Even before then, in high school, I hosted exchange students and participated in leadership programs. And thanks to Girl Scouts, I've volunteered for most of my life.
Not to mention the need for good work: Polio is still an epidemic in three countries. There is only one book per 300 children in some low-income neighborhoods in the U.S. One in seven girls in developing countries marry before the age of 15. Worldwide, 1.7 billion people live in poverty and 800 million people live without clean water. The American Red Cross responds to 70,000 disasters each year. (Statistics from this month's Marie Claire.)
Last semester, I had the amazing opportunity to intern at UNESCO. It was such an experience to work with people from so many different countries with such impressive professional backgrounds. And to be honest, most of the time, I feel that way in the company of my fellow grad students. Though notably younger, each one of us came to Paris with unique portfolios and inspirational motivations; like the birthday girl from the special occasion dinner above. I look forward to seeing where 2013 takes us.