Story by Lindsay Marum, firstname.lastname@example.org
If someone had told me last year that I would be living in Europe for over six months, that I would get the opportunity to travel to ten different countries and work in one of the most prestigious offices in the Netherlands, I would have thought they were crazy. But here I am, working for the Dutch Rapporteur on Trafficking in Beings and Sexual Violence Against Children, and the experience is beyond anything I could have ever imagined.
My journey abroad began in Italy this past June., where I completed a study program at the Lorenzo de Medici Institute and finished up two of my remaining four classes. Studying abroad in Italy was something I had thought about since I was a freshman, but was not serious about until last year when I realized I was about to graduate and had never left the Boston area for more than two weeks at a time. I lived in Florence for a month and was captivated by the city: the art, the music, the culture, and especially the people. I passed the Duomo every day on my way to class, and lived one street away from the Ponte Vecchio. I got the chance to take two awesome psychology classes, Psychology of Crime and Love and Natural Selection: Science and Myth, that I would not have had the chance to take back home. I learned from professors that had a lot of global experience, studied with other students that were from all over the U.S., and made friends with people I would not have had the chance to even meet if I had not gone abroad. Italy was everything I could have imagined and so much more.
While going to Italy had always been in the back of my mind, I never thought about moving to the Netherlands, especially for a six-month co-op. I completed my last co-op at a law firm in Boston, and was set on going to law school right after graduation. As I began applying for study abroad programs, I also got more curious about getting work experience outside of the U.S., especially in the field of human trafficking. I ended up being one of the first two international interns to work with the Dutch Rapporteur, and in the process I discovered a potential new career path. My research on issues relating to human trafficking like health care and victim identification will be in the office’s tenth report on the state of human trafficking in the Netherlands. I have also gone to conferences in Berlin and Utrecht to represent the Rapporteur and learn about other countries and agencies’ responses to this phenomenon. Not only has the work been fascinating, but I have worked with a great team of people and learned so much about working in a foreign office on global issues.
One of the best parts about this experience has been the travel that goes along with it. I will have been to ten different countries and dozens of cities by the time I go home in December. My perspective on the world have expanded greatly due to all the amazing places I went to and all the interesting people I have met. This journey has made me a better student, employee, and person, and I believe that every Northeastern student should try to travel outside of the U.S. at least once while they are in school.