I can feel the cool breeze coming through my balcony window as I write this blog post so perhaps, Paris is no longer la ville chaleur it has been for the past week. But when I look back at my time in Paris since the last blog post, all I can remember is the struggle to fight the heat that most Parisiens were not prepared for, though other parts of the world are having it much worse than us! Glad the heatwave is coming to an end because being cool-headed will definitely help me better reflect on my latest updates.
I am well aware that my last blog post was rather lengthy with its details on the contents of the work I’ve been up to. Fortunately, for the readers, the scope of work has not expanded much from last week. Rather than adding on a whole new item, I have been continuing with the work that I have picked up.
The long awaited MIL (Media and Information Literacy) for PVE (Prevention of Violent Extremism) Workshop in a Central Asian country has finally happened! After having to reschedule twice, my supervisor was finally able to fly there and help the local NGO leaders facilitate the workshop with the workshop flyers, powerpoint slides and activities I have prepared. Apparently, the local NGO leaders and the participants were extremely happy with the contents and the format of the workshop. Such positive feedback has inspired my supervisor to develop a MIL for PVE workshop framework based on the programme and the presentation materials I have developed for this occasion. My supervisor told me that he hopes to use the framework as the basis on which local NGO leaders could revise and adapt to develop a workshop that best caters to the specific circumstances of the local community. So since my supervisor has returned, I have been drafting an narrative summary of the workshop, a sample workshop programme, sample presentation slides and handouts for the future reference.
Summer is very much a transitional period here in Paris as well. As some of the projects are coming to an end, I have been synthesizing the final reports submitted by regional offices to draft a policy recommendation paper. At the same time, I have been contributing to proposals and terms of references for phase two of some of the projects that will relaunch in fall.
Drafting some more press releases, reviewing more concept notes and attending meetings… the work routine has definitely settled and is rolling!
One happy update is that I was able to finally distribute the survey I have created to evaluate the impact of an ICT education project that my team has conducted in a West African country! Waiting for approval from above felt like forever but finally, it all went through! I hope to spend a considerable amount of time analyzing the data I will be gathering.
Not Work but Kind of Work…?
The latest few weeks have been especially significant in that I had many opportunities to meet those who participate in development project on ICT education and relevant 21st century skills (which always includes media and information literacy!) Talking to those who are currently in charge of the projects and working with the participants in the field gave me a more clear idea of what the work looks like. From what I have heard so far, I think I am still confident with the career path I have chosen!
There’s always something going on at the organization – it never ceases to provide us with options for fun. Our team had a team lunch at a Moroccan restaurant one day and it was a great opportunity to get to know each other outside the work! The organization has also prepared a summer party where everyone gathered in the garden to enjoy refreshment, music and breeze (it wasn’t hot yet then!)
And the perk of working at a big organization? – Endless receptions!
I fortunately took advantage of what this city can offer before the heatwave arrived. Museum visits can never go wrong in Paris – I have thoroughly enjoyed Musée de la vie romantique where I was able to learn more about the literary circles and the salon culture of the 19th century. Musée Marmottan Monet was a perfect following step after visiting the Monet’s house and garden in Giverny.
June 21st was La Fête de la Musique in Paris where every corner of the city invited musicians of all genre to perform. It was actually more difficult than what my colleagues and I have expected to find a corner with music but after poking around here and there, we were able to spot some buskers.
Paris is filled with cool outdoor spots to chill so I made sure to spend some time outside when it’s not too hot!
Just Outside Paris
For my out-of-Paris excursions, I have not ventured out too far but resorted to places that are about an hour or less train ride from Paris.
Fontainebleau definitely is one of my most recommended places to visit while in Paris! Yes, Versailles is great but with too many people, it sometimes can be too much. Fontainebleau on the other hand had a gorgeous castle but also lush forest and ponds where you could really enjoy the nature and relax! Another pleasant surprise this time was that a Penn nursing student who also interns at UNESCO joined me for the trip! Traveling with someone means there’s someone to grab a photo of you, which is always great!
I actually went to Giverny in the midst of the heatwave so the visit was a bit exhausting but I have to say, the Japanese pond was very much worth the visit despite the heat!
Something that makes me “me”
Welp the last few weeks have been really about taking good care of myself. And that meant skipping running when the weather is too hot outside! As I am more than halfway through my internship journey, to be very frank, it has been ever more important to keep myself healthy and well rested to ensure that I don’t get sick or lose motivation. I have definitely done less excursions on week days. Maybe a few receptions with my colleagues but no happy hours or drinking by the quai. I would return home and ventilate the place so the studio cools down and spray the bug repellent to prevent mosquitoes from entering.
More and more life in Paris has become a routine, and I go along with it!