It’s not often that while sitting in the Lion King show at Disney World, you check your email and find an invitation to go to Switzerland. Scratch that, it is a one of a kind opportunity — one that I got to share with my dear friend and Disney partner in crime, Jacquie.
We had just spent two days enjoying Orlando, becoming friends with the Disney characters (much to the chagrin of the kids’ parents behind us in line), and enjoying what we knew was the second to last college break we would ever have. While waiting in line for the Animal Kingdom’s Festival of the Lion King, Jacquie and I decided to check our email. 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, and I was ready to have my bags packed in a minute. I had also taken a Future of the Internet Class with the professor inviting us to Switzerland, so essentially between my time abroad and my research, I had been training for this moment my whole college career.
After checking in with my parents (they basically called me dumb for even asking), GlobalINET 2012 became the event I counted down to.
Twelve students were invited to cover the event. From January until the day we boarded the plane we met regularly to prepare. The pressure was on for us to know enough to keep up with everyone presenting at the 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?”
I went in excited to see Switzerland and report on some of the greatest minds. The trip became more than that though. I loved the speakers, and the sessions. I loved looking up things that I didn’t know. I loved the data that went into all of the presentations, and I knew that not only did I want to report, but I wanted to be surrounded by this data forever. Honestly, it was a turning point in my career. I learned that being an international reporter was everything I ever dreamed of. I learned that I wanted to continue to travel and write from abroad, but I also learned that I had dreams I hadn’t even fathomed yet.
Oh, and in case you were wondering Call My Maybe is popular right now, even in Switzerland. You can’t escape it.
You can find full coverage of the event here: http://www.elon.edu/e-web/predictions/isoc_20th_2012/default.xhtml