My involvement with the Ralph J. Bunche Summer Enrichment Program last summer was one of the most enlightening experiences of my life. Not only can I now add the program to my extensive brag sheet, but I can also boast of meeting ambassadors, congressmen, diplomats, and other high-ranking officials. Over the summer, I met new friends, saw places I never expected to visit, and had a great time in the process. The group leaders were all energetic people and fun to be around. Most importantly, my knowledge of the problems facing the world has been greatly enhanced, and my world perspective has been changed.

My favorite part of the program was the trip we took to the United Nations in New York City. The UN is a huge building with a plethora of information available for one to consume. The only requirements are that you abide by International Law. Thus, what is allowed in any country that is a member of the UN is legal there.

The program has developed my foreign language skills. I studied Japanese as part of the program. I not only learned a lot of vocabulary, but thanks to our great instructor, I grew to love the language even more, and plan to someday master it. The program has also enhanced my debating abilities, thanks to the extensive amount of rigorous debates over controversial global issues.

Due to my exposure with the Ralph Bunche Center, my interest in Foreign Affairs has been encouraged, and I now play an active role in my school's Amnesty International Program and volunteer at the Center on a weekly basis. My only regret is not being able to attend the program for another exciting 2-week adventure.

The International Affairs Summer Enrichment Program is a wonderful, educational experience. It is educational because it makes the students aware of the different kinds of problems going on around the world.

On the last day of the program, there is a UN simulation that includes the five permanent members of the UN and one other member who is in the term of office. The discussions at the simulation are interesting, yet it is hard for all of the members to come to one conclusion about what should be done about the specific problem. Without a solution at the end of the program, most students begin to wonder what could be a definite answer to the problem in question. This lets the students know how hard it really is for the UN to solve problems in different countries around the world. The simulation is successful, but the participants always wanted more time to complete the discussion.

My personal experience was amazing. When I first started the program, I was very sure of what I wanted to do when I grew older. As the program went along and various panelists of doctors, diplomats, and ambassadors spoke to the group, I started getting confused about my career goal. I now know that I have many more opportunities to choose from, and I have set my mind towards a different career goal.

So far in my life, this has been one of my best experiences.

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I was immediately interested when my government teacher at school announced that there would be a program at Howard University about international affairs. It was a subject that had always interested me when I read the newspaper, but was not particularly focused on in schools. It was also not an everyday opportunity to meet a group of individuals of many races and nationalities, all interested in international affairs.

From the first day of the program to the last, I learned an incredible amount from the program activities, as well as from other participants and group leaders. I was able to ponder the advice of a wide range of professionals working in the field of international affairs: from doctors, to environmentalists, to economists, and even ambassadors. Each gave a unique view based on their own experiences, and I was able to pick and choose bits, hoping to eventually formulate my ideal “job.” Before the program, I was keenly interested in medicine (and had been since 4th grade). As I listened however, I thought of all the people, particularly children, in third world countries who did not have access to medical care. Was it not possible for me to combine my dream of helping people throughout the world with my desire to practice medicine?

The field trips were also truly amazing. I had never felt so lucky to live in Washington D.C., the center of foreign policy, among many other things. Though I live so close, I had never actually been to the World Bank or Capitol Hill. I was surprised to find that the World Bank’s mission resembled my own personal goal: to eliminate world poverty. The trip to the United Nations in New York was interesting as well. It was overwhelming to be in the room where top leaders in the world came together to discuss and try to solve problems common to all of their countries: poverty, hunger, disease, etc. What made the visit even more great was knowing that we, the participants of the program, were actually going to simulate a United Nations Security Council meeting on Sierra Leone, a crisis which is still costing lives today. It was only unfortunate that we didn’t have time to debate the issue as long as most of us would have liked.

I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in such a wonderful program. Not only did it open my eyes to the endless possibilities in international affairs, but the people I met were genuinely concerned for the welfare of human beings throughout the world, and I am glad to have had the chance to get to know them.