The musings of a 30-something, native New Yorker who's taking life one day at a time.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

German Marshall Fund Fellowship

Well, I've clearly got to work a bit more at this blogging thing! It has been a full year since I last posted an entry. Absolutely shameful!!! Oh well. I guess there's always room for improvement. This blog comes in time for my impending departure to Europe. I was recently awarded a fellowship through the German Marshall Fund. As a fellow, I'll be traveling to Europe to various cities, where I'll have the opportunity to meet with individuals who work on public policy. As my professional interest lies in the realm of housing policy, I hope to have the chance to learn more about how housing is being addressed across Europe.

Just to provide a bit of background about the fellowship... the German Marshall Fund awards fellowships to approximately 45 Americans per year. These 45 individuals are broken up into three groups, one of which goes in the spring, the second in summer, and the last in fall. There are also 45 Europeans who do the same thing, but end up coming to the United States. The whole point of the fellowship is to encourage trans-Atlantic understanding and relationships. Needless to say, I'm thrilled about having been selected as a fellow, as well as the opportunity I've been presented with.

I specifically requested to go in the spring because the timeline worked the best with my schedule and other obligations. So, I'll be traveling with about 15 other people. We'll all be together in two cities: Paris and Brussels. The rest of the time, we're split into smaller groups of approximately four or five people and the smaller groups are always shuffled around so you're always with different people. As for my itinerary... I'll first go to Washington D.C., where the whole group meets up and gets oriented. Then, we all fly to Paris, where we'll spend four days. After that, I go to Hamburg, then Rome, then Bucharest, and (lastly) Brussels. I'll spend approximately four days in each city. While there, I'll have individual meetings, as well as larger group meetings. However, we'll also have the opportunity to enjoy time to ourselves, as well as see some of the cultural sites and attractions in each city. We're also going to have the chance to meet with Marshall Fund alumni in each city, mostly over dinners in the evening.

I figured this blog would be a fabulous way to share some of my experiences with friends, family and others, while I'm away. I'm going to bring a laptop along with me with the express purpose of keeping up my blog. In addition to providing a portal for others to see and hear more about the type of things I'll be doing, it'll also give me the chance to reflect a bit more on the experience, as well as memorialize the trip for me.

I don't leave for a little over a week, so I suspect that (if I have the chance to post another blog) it'll likely be filled with my musings about the trip as well as about all the little things I need to do in anticipation of the trip. I'll be gone for a little over three weeks, so I'll have to be thoughtful about what I pack. Longer trips, such as this one require that you be pretty strategic about what you pack. To top it off, I'm going to be having professional meetings, so I'm going to need to pack some appropriate clothing for that, in addition to more comfortable stuff for leisure and evenings. It'll be a challenge in resourcefulness, no doubt!