Saturday, 25 May 2013

A Summer Abroad

Bonjour blogosphere! Although it has been almost a year since I last posted, I have high hopes that this entire summer will be well documented, even though I am already into the third week of it. But I will retrospectively document the last 3 weeks over the course of this next week.
From The Beginning
This past academic year I held an undergraduate fellowship at the McMaster Health Forum, a health policy hub based in Hamilton. As part of my fellowship experience, I was given the incredible experience to travel to Geneva, Switzerland this summer for a 2 ½ month internship at the World Health Organization. As I recently completed my final undergraduate year at McMaster University, I could not have been more excited to have an opportunity to spend my summer between undergrad and grad school travelling Europe. I’ve never actually been to mainland Europe before, only Iceland (which always seems to shock and surprise people).

The Internship
I am interning in the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research at the WHO. I am working on a number of smaller projects, but the majority of my work is dedicated to conducting key informant interviews and co-authoring an original research paper on conference evaluation.

In terms of activities outside my internship’s terms of reference, the intern community in Geneva is incredibly well organized and large – with interns from the WHO, UN and International Labour Organization, to name a few, filling up the city in the summer. There are weekly drinks organized, gym classes, weekend excursions and lunches organized, meaning that nearly any day of the week the intern community is up to something.

The Accommodations
Finding housing in Geneva, especially for only a couple months, is notoriously difficult (and expensive!) but I lucked out in finding a beautiful, two bedroom, two bathroom apartment in a suburb just outside Geneva, with a wonderfully helpful and cheery roommate who also happens to be an employee at the WHO. And I have a bike to use while I’m here. Lucky? Definitely.

The City
Geneva is the tenth most expensive place to live in the world, according to The Economist’s Worldwide Cost of Living Report 2013, has a population of 194, 245, and is home to CERN, The Palais des Nations (UN HQ), the World Health Organization HQs and a whole bunch of watch and chocolate shops (more on that to come in future posts).

The Plan
So I am about 1/3 done my internship at this point (that is terrifying, so much work left to do!), and once it finished in mid-July, I have plans to travel to Montreux for the Montreux Jazz Festival, and then I’m off for a romantic couple of weeks in Nice and Paris with my man, before heading home to good ol’ Canada, eh.

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