Students Recall Extraordinary Summers

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Students described their summers at a recent Career Planning dinner.

More than 30 students gathered in the Main Lounge of Moulton Union last week to recount their summer stories. And they were far from your ordinary summer anecdotes of, say, summer flings, trips to the beach house, suntanning mishaps, etc.

“I worked at the U.S. Embassy in Rome,” Luke Drabyn ’15 told the group. With little experience speaking Italian, Drabyn plunged into the diplomacy scene, helping write speeches and prepare for events. By the end, he was such an esteemed member of the embassy office that the staff nominated him to give a speech in front of 500 Italian exchange students — in Italian.

Raisa Tolchinsky ’17 interned at the Jill Grinberg Literary Management in New York City. Tolchinsky, a poet, said she was excited at the chance to be part of a literary world. Also, living alone in the city was a new experience for her. Amid the NYC bustle, Tolchinsky said, “I learned to find my sense of stillness in a place of such chaos.”

And then there was Ben Pallant ‘16, who interned at a hospital in Cambodia. Pallant shadowed doctors and provided support with logistics and organization, helping the operation to aid many native Cambodians in need. Along with learning about medicine, Pallant was able to explore the nature of the NGO world. “I wanted to understand the ethics of volunteerism — the ethics of voluntourism,” he explained. The philosophy of helping in a foreign country wasn’t as straightforward as he thought it would be.

The 32 students at the Career Planning dinner all received grants from Bowdoin’s funded internship program. The grants, provided by donors, allow students to pursue a variety of professional opportunities during the summer. Typically these are internships across the country and around the world that do not provide wages.

Other students at the dinner spoke of building devices that help low-income disabled children to stand, studying the economics of a golf business, assisting immigrant families find new homes, and creating opportunities for sustainable living in Bangladesh — just to name a few.

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