Teaching Traveling: I’m thrilled to introduce you today to a remarkable traveler named Delia Harrington. Delia, tell us about your background.
Delia: I am a 22 year old college student graduating this May from Northeastern University. I’m originally from the Boston area, and before I came to college I had only been to Canada and France. At Northeastern, though, I’ve had a lot of opportunities to include purposeful travel in my education. I went to Egypt for 6 weeks in 2009 to study Arabic and Middle East politics. In 2010 I then spent a semester in Cuba studying Santeria and all things Cuban, as well as a month in Benin, West Africa studying sustainability in international aid. This past year I spent my Spring Break and Summer classes in the Dominican Republic, working to study and improve the reach of micro-finance with Haitian borrowers in particular. In between all that I’m earning my BA in International Affairs with minors in Political Science, Latin American Studies, Social Entrepreneurship and Middle East Studies. What a mouthful!
I’m currently living and working in Thessaloniki, Greece. Thess is the second largest city in Greece, and has a HUGE student population. I work at American College of Thessaloniki as an International Student Advisor as part of the N.U.in Greece program at Northeastern University. I live with 140 Northeastern University college freshmen. I help create the curriculum for their Global Experience class and am responsible for grading assignments. I also take on many additional roles because I live with them, ranging from mentor to travel guru to disciplinarian to ultimate authority on what it’s like to be a college student. I also plan alcohol-free events and helped plan a trip for all 150 of us to go to Istanbul for the weekend.
TT: Wow! Tell us more about your recent travels.
D: Over fall break, I returned to Cairo, Egypt to relax, see friends and become reacquainted with post-Revolutionary Egypt. The break was only a few days but it was the perfect blend of seeing old friends, having fun (I went to the US Embassy Halloween Party, which was like being on another planet), and witnessing demonstrations. I went to Tahrir Square with a friend who is a journalist for Bikya Masr, and I followed along as she interviewed bystanders and participants in several different rallies, a march on the Maspero Building (where 27 people were killed by the Egyptian military a few weeks ago) in support of free press, the storming of the US Embassy in support of Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Oakland, and the funeral of Essam Atta, a blogger who was tortured and killed by the new Egyptian government. I know it made my parents nervous (and in fact I didn’t tell them until I was already in Cairo), but it’s important to me to stay in touch with Egypt, the Revolution, and my friends there. It’s also incredibly important to remember that things are not finished when media attention fades, and that there is a lot of work still being carried out by dedicated Egyptians.
TT: Fascinating. How do you find and structure your travel opportunities?
D: Northeastern University is famous for it’s co-op program, through which students apply for 6-month positions at companies in Boston as well as throughout the world. We alternate 6 months of classes with 6 months of work, and can go on up to three separate coop positions. This job is my final coop, and is my first international job. NU compiles opportunities in a database, but we still have to complete resumes and go to group and individual opportunities, and there is no guarantee of a job. I knew someone in the office from a previous coop I did at Amnesty International, and she invited me to come to an info session.
TT: How do you find the money to fund this travel?