X. La fin de mon stage

The end of an era

My summer in Geneva was certainly one that I will never forget. Not only was I able to build my legal network by meeting interns from all over the world, including renowned public defenders, attorneys leading the fight against corrupt prisons in Rwanda and Burundi, and made friends with many fellow interns that are aspiring lawyers. Utilizing French every day increased my comprehension and speaking skills immensely, which was certainly one of my most significant takeaways. The most rewarding part of my internship was the friends that I have made.

Abi and I did not know each other at all before going to Geneva. We met after learning that we were the two interns selected to work at IBJ. From there, our friendship blossomed and we became travel buddies. Despite spending nearly every day together and working on most of our projects at IBJ together, we never got tired of each other. Abi invited me to travel to Italy with her for her birthday, which was one of the highlights of my summer. She also was always willing to go out and explore with me. Whether we went to la jonction for a dip in the river, or to la barje for sangria by the water, we shared so many experiences and stories together. I could not have asked for a better companion to go on this adventure with than Abi.

My journey home

When my lease at Citê Universitaire ended on August 13, I was in a bit of a bind. I had originally planned on traveling around Germany and Austria before catching my flight from Geneva to Copenhagen for an overnight layover, then back to the US. Unfortunately, it was not financially sound for me to go on that adventure, so instead, I used couchsurfing.com to find a host to stay with for 5 days. I stayed with a Parisian man named Stéphane. He is an avid cyclist and travels the world using Couchsurfing. Couchsurfing is similar to airbnb, but you always stay with a host, but it is free. There is certainly a risk on both ends because generally, the host has never met the surfer. Luckily, Stéphane had dozens of reviews, all of which were very positive. I had a great experience staying in his apartment in Carouge, which is a quaint and provincial subdivision on Geneva.

After my stay with Stéphane, I boarded my flight from Geneva to Copenhagen for an overnight layover. One of the interns at IBJ, Carmen, became one of my good friends over the summer. She told me her sister, Margo, is in Copenhagen, so I coordinated with her to stay with her for my overnight layover. Margo explained to me that since her father is Danish, she has a Danish passport. But, she has to live in Denmark before she turns 22 or her citizenship will be revoked. She moved to Copenhagen and ended up loving it, so she is enrolling in a Master’s Program in Copenhagen. Denmark is paying for her to go to school. Not only is there no tuition, but they pay for her living expenses while she is in school. We stayed up late, chatting. Margo had actually interned at IBJ a few years ago, so we exchanged stories about our experiences.

The next day, August 18, I had most of the day to see Copenhagen before my flight took off. Denmark’s pride celebration was happening while I was in Copenhagen, so I saw pride flags adorning most of the shops and restaurants. Throngs of crowds also moved through the streets. I spent a few hours wandering through downtown until I needed to get to the airport. I was anxious nearly the entire flight from Copenhagen to Newark International Airport. I chose Newark as the airport to fly in and out of the US because it was the cheapest option. But, that meant I needed to find a way to get to and from DC. I had found a flixbus that left Madison Square Garden at around 11:45 and my flight was scheduled to land at around 9 PM, so I had less than 2 hours to get my luggage from baggage claim, hustle over from Newark airport to Madison Square Garden, and board the plane. Of course, my bag was the last one to get onto the belt. I called my partner, who had ordered the ticket for me and asked if I could push the bus back. Luckily, there was only a small fee to take the later bus. Once I got my bag, I boarded a bus to the train station, waited about 45 minutes for the train into NYC and ended up making it with several hours to spare. The bus ride back took several hours, most of which I was asleep. I made it to my partner’s apartment at around 6 AM, exhausted and jet lagged.

I barely had time to catch my breath when returning to the US. I made it home on Saturday morning, and school was scheduled to start that Monday, so I was in DC for barely 24 hours before I moved back to Williamsburg. My journey home was exhausting, but also a nice time for me to reflect on the last few months that I had spent in Geneva. I am very thankful for this opportunity and cannot wait for my next journey to Geneva. À bientôt!