I’m writing to you from my desk at UNESCO in between assignments, late into my first week of work. I’m exhausted in the best way! This first week of work has been full of introductions and tours and technical problems and awkward laughs after cultural miscommunications. I’m learning every minute.
My placement is in UNESCO’s magazine, The Courier, and I’m working directly with the digital editor. Right now we are preparing to push out an issue that focuses on indigenous communities around the world, as it is the International Year of Indigenous Languages. I have never worked in a magazine before and I am still getting used to the pace and energy, which seems quite different than that of newsrooms.
Today the entire Paris staff gathered to hear an address from Director General Audrey Azoulay. This is the most diverse space I have ever been in and I love it. She gave her speech in French and English, and Ida and I had the chance to introduce ourselves to her after the address. She was very nice, although her face betrayed her when I said I was from the United States!
More personally, I found a nice apartment in the 5th arrondissement of Paris with two Dutch girls who have quickly become my friends. We have mostly been cooking at home and spending hours at the kitchen table laughing about things I never thought I would laugh about like the metric conversion and the concept of drive-thru coffee.
Last week I met an incredible French woman who invited me to her dance class. Although I would normally be inclined to say “thanks but no thanks,” I decided to go and try it out. I went last night and it was awesome! The other dancers were so welcoming to me– they even invited me out for burritos afterward! (If you know me, you know burritos are the fastest way to earn my friendship!)
OK, it is time for me to get back to work. More soon!
My fellowship at The UNESCO Courier was arranged through the University of Oregon Crossings Institute for Intercultural Dialogue and Conflict Sensitive Reporting. My weekly blog posts are also published on the Institute’s website.