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


By Eric Feldman

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. Although all Panthers, they hail from four different countries – Venezuela, Colombia, Haiti and Cuba.

Camila Robledo, Steve Delicat, Angelo D’Ercole and Elimelech “Eli” Risse secured their places on the trip by entering Global Learning‘s annual Transformation Contest and submitting a work of art which depicted an experience in their lives which transformed their world view.

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

4 @fiu students from Venezuela, Colombia, Haiti, and Cuba visiting @USCRIdc to discuss current refugee policies and careers in the field.

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.

Finishing up a productive and interesting session learning about international development with @G_Communities in Silver Spring, MD.

 “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.” 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.

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.

Thank you @FIUdc for giving us an overview of FIU’s federal priorities which advance quality of life in Miami and beyond.

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

 “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,” D’Ercole 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.”

We’re at @PeaceCorps! Meeting with staff in a variety of operational areas.

Delicat is now considering options he never previously considered. “The entire trip woke me up a bit. It presented me with opportunities 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 in marketing  and communications roles.”

Learning about the policy and legislative process to effect global poverty and injustice with @OxfamAmerica

The trip was sponsored 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.
More photos from the trip can be found on the Global Learning Flickr page. To learn more about the agencies and organizations visited, check out the sites below.