Students from 4 countries reflect on ‘transformational’ D.C. trip

Earlier this month, four FIU students spent three days in Washington, D.C., where they visited the offices of seven government agencies and nonprofit organizations.  The goal of the trip was to provide insight into globally-focused careers in the nation’s capital.

Camila Robledo, Steve Delicat, Angelo D’Ercole, and Elimelech “Eli” Risse each secured their place on the trip by submitting a work of art which depicted an experience in their lives which transformed their view of the world.

“The Transformation Trip to Washington did exactly that: transformed me,” Camila said after returning home to South Florida.  “Learning from government officials and employees of non-governmental organizations guided me in the direction in which I want to go.”


At each stop, our FIU delegation engaged with representatives from each office about their personal journeys and the challenges and successes in their work given the current global political climate.

“I loved that I got to meet very interesting and passionate individuals,” Eli said. “Although the goals seemed very similar, the means in which each agency operates is quite different.”

This is indeed the case. Some organizations provide direct services to clients, others apply for federal government funds to execute international development projects, and others rely on private donations to perform political advocacy, for example.

The group also had a chance to visit FIU’s new Washington, D.C. federal relations office, which in addition to housing staff who handle FIU’s governmental affairs, is a hub for engagement with our university’s students and alumni – especially those interning and working in D.C.

In addition to meeting with members of the foreign and civil service to discuss career paths, the State Department treated our group to a tour of the diplomatic reception rooms where the U.S. Secretary of State greets foreign diplomats.

Each student indicated that the experience had an impact on their future plans, both in terms of guiding them in the right direction, and providing the tools to get there.  “I want to expand my horizons and establish a career in law in a big city like this one, and it is good to have well-established connections,” Angelo said. “My career path may change after this trip, however, especially after learning about Peace Corps, the work they do, and the benefits they offer their volunteers.”

Steve is now considering options he never previously considered. “The entire trip woke me up  a bit; it presented me with opportunities that I didn’t know existed.  I never thought I’d be interested in working for any federal agencies, or that they could allow me to be creative, such as through marketing  and communications roles.”

This trip was made possible by the Office of Global Learning Initiatives, the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs, the College of Communication, Architecture + the Arts, and the Office of Engagement.  To receive an announcement about next year’s opportunity to apply, sign up for the Global Learning Medallion today!

The photo album from the trip can be found on our Flickr page. You may learn more about each of the agencies and organizations we visited at the links below.

 

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