It's me again, I'm back, and only about a year late for my next post. Very briefly, let me just say that after my 6 months in Rwanda, I spent one month traveling around Iceland with my university to study geology. I don't have any entries up, but I do have photos! Anyway, I am so excited for this post because I get to share with you the unique experiences I had on a trip to Poland earlier this month.
Along with 9 other university students about to begin their senior years, I was selected by General Electric to join a group going to Poland for 10 days to participate in what they call the Presidential Internship program. This program is sponsored by the Office of the President of the Republic of Poland, GE, and the Polish and Slavic Federal Credit Union, and allows a total of 20 students each year (10 from each non-government sponsor) to gain familiarity with Polish diplomatic, economic, developmental and cultural elements.
For a week and a half, we traveled around the country touring cities and meeting with representatives from the Polish Senate, the Warsaw Stock Exchange, and the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Entrepreneurship & Technology, and Investment & Development. We also had the incredible opportunity to meet the President of Poland during a televised conference in the Presidential Palace.
While I am sure that this trip was exciting for all of my companions, it was particularly important to me because it allowed me to connect with my Polish heritage. For those who don't know, I am lucky to have citizenship and family ties to Poland as well as the United States -- although we try to keep close connections to both sides, it can certainly be challenging in a multicultural household. On this trip, I was joined by ten other students of Polish descent, none of whom possess the same split cultural background and therefore all of whom had been raised with a more traditional Polish background. Traveling with this particular group of people not only allowed me to have fun, but it broadened my understanding of my own identity, and gave me new perspective as I interacted with political officials and visited cultural museums.
Having the opportunity to go on this trip has meant so much to me, and I am eager to apply the knowledge that I have gained to political and diplomatic endeavors in the future. A huge thank you to GE, the PSFCU, and the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland for making this experience a possibility!
Hi! My name is Karla Cox. This blog is a compilation of notes, thoughts, and photos from my travels around the world.