Week 7: Finishing Finland and Frolicking in France

What a satisfying feeling it is to complete a grant proposal, especially one I feel extremely passionate about. Finland was certainly one of those proposals I got attached to. I believe so strongly in the mission of the project and I am looking forward to following and keeping up with this proposal to its end. The Finland team spent the first few days of the week rewriting and revising the project narrative. Once we had the final draft prepared, we sent it off to be checked by our senior legal advisor and were ready to move on to the next project. 

What is the next project you may ask? Well, there are two. The first is actually a lot of fun, IBJ is creating an online game. I cannot disclose the details but I can say that I have been having a blast coming up with different creative ideas for this app, and I am looking forward to playing it and sharing it with everyone once it comes out. The second project is another training program, this time for Rwanda! The Myanmar training is all set to take off in two weeks. I am looking forward to hearing the various trainer’s and attorney’s stories of how the training went. I do wish I could be in Myanmar myself, however, I am excited to shift my focus to the Rwanda training which still needs quite a bit of preparation. In the next few weeks, I will be preparing the training materials including PowerPoints for the trainers, surveys, written activity forms, as well as sending the training manual and all materials off to be translated. I have been working with volunteers from the United Nations volunteer (UNV) website all summer on various translations. The UNV website has been such an incredible resource for IBJ. Each volunteer we have collaborated with has been exceptional and have produced excellent work product. Plus, for me personally, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know each volunteer throughout the summer. I imagine it will be a little sad turning over my UNV account to the next intern, but I am happy to have had the opportunity to work with these individuals for the past seven weeks.

Before I can dive in with the Rwanda training, I have a couple of other technical documents my bosses asked me to complete. One thing about working for IBJ is you are always doing a number of different projects at once, and often things come up at the last minute that are time sensitive. I really enjoy this element of the job as I work best in a busy and flexible environment. I also love how team oriented this office is. I’ve said it a lot this summer but it still amazes me just how much IBJ relies on the interns. I feel really blessed to have been able to work on such a variety of different projects, and I will always be grateful for the experience I have gained here.

I have also really enjoyed sharing my work and travel stories with my mom. She is a scientist and thus has a very different perspective from most individuals I cross paths with. It is always refreshing talking to her about the law and sharing everything I have learned. I am so glad I have had the opportunity to spend the past two weeks with her. This weekend we went to my favorite city in the world- Paris! I have been dreaming of returning to Paris since I was there last, and I am happy to say it was just as magical as ever this visit. We arrived on Friday, which also happened to be Bastille day. The streets were covered in  white, red, and blue and you could literally feel the locals excitement and joy in the air. One of my friends from work is Parisian and she gave me a list of restaurants, sights, and activities to do during our visit. There is nothing better than following a local’s instructions when seeing Paris. We explored various gardens, Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Arc, even Paris Disney (per my mom’s request) and, of course, we spent the most time gazing at the Eiffel tower. There truly is nothing better than sitting on the lawn in front of the tower, eating a Nutella crepe, with the sound of local musicians playing in the background. I wish I could freeze moments like that and return to them as often as I’d like, especially this moment as I got to share it with my best friend. On our last day in France, we toured the Palace of Versailles. Considering it was their independence day weekend, the crowds were unbelievable! However, it was completely worth the wait to see the exquisite architecture, interior décor, and gardens. Plus, standing in the courtyard of a place that was originally built for a select few with no regard for the rest of the country that was starving, and being surrounded by the likely descendants of those starving people who the palace now belongs to, was quite empowering. I hope to return again someday.

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However, sitting on the platform of Musée de l’Homme watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night is without a doubt my high for the week. We had a delicious meal right next door and wandered over just in time to see the tower lit up. I think one of my favorite things in the world is the Eiffel Tower at night and to share that moment with my mom was extremely special. My only low was having to leave before midnight in order to make our train back in time, but that gives me something to look forward to for next time.


For now, I am back in Geneva and ready to begin the Rwanda training preparations. I look forward to sharing with each of you the details of such preparations in my next blog.

Until next time,