Earlier this year I was in Disney World with some of my best friends. We had just spent two days enjoying Orlando’s January sun, becoming friends with the Disney characters (much to the chagrin of the kid’s parents behind us in line), and enjoying what we knew was the second to last college break we would ever have. We were in line waiting for the Animal Kingdom’s Festival of the Lion King to start, when my friend Jacquie and I decided to check our phones for any emails. We figured we may have something from our respective campus media organizations or our parents. Instead we had one from a professor offering us the opportunity of a lifetime.
She asked if we would like to go to Switzerland to report at Global INET, a conference in honor of the Internet Society’s 20th anniversary. Of course, I immediately thought, “yes.” It had been a year and a half since I traveled out of the country. My sophomore and Junior year had been all about adventure and reporting abroad, and the stagnant nature of my senior year had created intense wanderlust. I had also taken a Future of the Internet Class with the professor inviting me to Switzerland, so essentially between my time abroad and my research into the Internet, I had been training for this moment my whole college career.
But first I thought I should call my parents for approval. I may be a legal adult, but I figured I should check in before stamping my passport again.They both told me that when given an opportunity like that, there was no need to ask. And, so the next few months GlobalINET 2012 became the event I counted down to.
From January until the day we boarded the plane, April 20, the 12 of us attending the event studied and met regularly to prepare. We followed the news and researched the ever changing policies surrounding the Internet, anything to keep up with the geniuses that would be presenting at this event. I mean, as one of my friends on this trip, Rachel, pointed out: “These people all created their jobs. They didn’t exist before them. How amazing is that?”
So now the 12 of us: 8 Elon students, 1 high school student (starting early!) and 3 staff members from Elon are in Geneva, Switzerland at GlobalINET 2012. We had our first day of reporting yesterday. I covered the Collaborative Leadership Exchange and will post the story I wrote for that event shortly.
You can find full coverage of the event here: http://www.elon.edu/e-web/predictions/isoc_20th_2012/default.xhtml