So this post is an experiment because it seems like some companies are neutral, while others take stands on different issues. Let’s see where this takes me.
The world is hurting, I’ve noticed. Have you?
There’s no reason for this post--I just wanted to write it. I will speak about a period in my life that really changed my view of the world, and my place in it. It was my time at Howard University, where as a French major, I had the chance to visit the United Nations during my senior year.
During this time, I was required to take one year of simultaneous interpretation. I had no idea what this was before taking the course, but a shorthand explanation is that it is what interpreters do overhead during General Assembly sessions at the United Nations when delegates speak. The UN includes six official languages (langues)—Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.
Representatives of nations can either speak in one of these six languages or provide an interpretation from their language of choice into one of these six languages.
But back to the course. For one year in this simultaneous interpretation course, I visited the Ralph Bunche Center for International Affairs in a room modeled after the UN General Assembly. We had German speakers, French speakers, and Spanish speakers. Each week, we would go upstairs into a booth while our professors read text from, for me, French-language periodicals, mainly newspapers, while we interpreted usually from French to English.
I interpreted from national, reputable newspapers for a year in at the Bunche Center. So you can imagine how amazing and inspiring it was to see the real UN interpretation booths resting above the UN General Assembly during a tour with the UN. It not only brought my classroom experience to life, but confirmed my desire to connect with others through language.
Most students study languages in high school, but it wasn’t until there was a human element to the words that I really started to develop a passion for the written and spoken word.
I still need to live in a French-speaking country to officially become fluent, although I can translate basic texts from French to English.
Even so, this experience at the UN inspired me to go beyond Atlanta, and not be afraid to take who you are and what has shaped you—good and bad—along the way. So I will say that the French language opened my eyes to the world and the ability that language has to connect.
You also become aware of possibility, of thinking, “I want to work at the United Nations” or “I want to pursue this, or that…”, basically insert whatever seemed impossible before but now possible since you did something that you’d never imagined prior to. It fit with attending school in Washington, DC, where the World Bank was near, or amazing educational institutions that were preparing bright minds to possibly funnel though internships and employment opportunities just a few hours away in the Big Apple.
In closing, I doubt I’ve made an actual point, but I just really get impacted by what I see around me. I am still a citizen of the world (and yes, this obviously includes Atlanta). As I start out as an entrepreneur, I sometimes wonder in what way I will contribute to the betterment of those around me. This is real. It feels almost like a social responsibility.
Who knows in what way you will be the change that you want to see in the world? Here is one way for me, from my college undergraduate experience with the French language and the mental doors that it opened.
Well, that's it really. It was necessary to have this post before I could write any other ones. Until next time. A tout alors.