Estamos en Contacto

Spanish Flag in Plaza de Colón, Madrid, Spain

My UNESCO-UniTwin internship has officially ended, and those eight weeks flew.  The CBE gave me the opportunity to truly maximize my one graduate school summer, and it is hard to imagine learning so much in a practical environment in such little time with any other program.  The fellow process works.

Fishing off Lanzarote, Islas de Canarias

Throughout the summer, I felt challenged and busy enough to stay interested, but I also had the chance to take some nice day trips and an awesome vacation at the end.  The European August vacation norm is something we should really consider including in the U.S. work calendar (I know, I know — we’re more “productive” given our measly ten days off).


Practicing ABS negotiations, Maputo, Mozambique

Primarily, I saw one part of a large international project through from start to finish.  I helped plan and build materials for a workshop in Mozambique, attended the workshop, and participated in the debriefing and reflection.  I analyzed a current international issue in a country I love and associated with natural resources in which I have a personal stake.


Obviously not as much of a stake as Mozambicans themselves, but a stake nonetheless.

I helped write an EC proposal and dove for marine invertebrate collection toward helping policymakers delineate a new MPA.  I spent the majority of most days speaking in Spanish but writing in either English or Portuguese, and ten days of this time involved trying to move fluidly through all three.  Though exhausting and headache provoking, this promoted major improvements in all three languages.

Diving for Invertebrate Collection off Cabrera, las Islas Baleares

And now I am back where people walk faster, eat lunch at their desks, and are often looked down upon for speaking Spanish in the streets.  The States are not so bad I know — there are many great things about them — but it is always a little depressing when the adventure ends.

At least with the modern day options for communication, there always seems to be a way to make contact.  I will continue to receive updates on the project’s progress until its completion in December, and as the Spanish say, “estamos en contacto.”

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