Intern Spotlight: Hannah Merrill
This is the third in a series of spotlights on our summer 2017 student interns. Learning Life’s students this summer are assisting with research, curriculum development, outreach, and family and youth events for our Citizen Diplomacy Initiative (CDI). Hannah Merrill, interviewed below, is assisting with curriculum development, evaluation research, and international learning activities with our youth, among other things.
Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, but have spent the majority of my life in Iowa City, Iowa, and the Chicago suburbs.
What school do you attend, and what is your year and major there?
I am a rising senior at Georgetown University, where I am a double major in French and Economics with a minor in Arabic.
In my free time, I enjoy eating my way through Washington DC (Mediterranean, Ethiopian, Korean barbecue, etc.), doing yoga, and hiking.
Is there a life experience you have had that has particularly shaped you as a person thus far? If so, what is it, and how has it shaped you?
Studying abroad in France was a particularly formative experience in my life. I lived with a host family with five kids, so not only was I completely immersed in the language, but I also got to see how family dynamics in France compare to those in the United States. For example, the kids would come home for lunch on school days, and the family spent at least an hour eating their meals together whereas in my American family, we never came home for lunch, and spent twenty minutes eating because we’re always on the go.
Adjusting to life in a foreign country forces you to step out of your comfort zone, but is so rewarding in the end. I fell in love with the city I lived in, Strasbourg, made friendships that will last a lifetime, and came back with incredible memories.
What are your career plans?
After graduating, I would love to do some kind of fellowship like Fulbright to have more experience working abroad and interacting with different cultures. After that, I plan on going to law school to pursue a career as a lawyer.
Why did you choose to intern with Learning Life?
I chose to intern with Learning Life because I wanted an experience working with a non-profit, and the work that it does really interested me as someone specializing in French and Arabic. Its mission to create global citizens resonated with me, because I strongly believe that in today’s globalizing world, connecting with other countries and cultures is especially important.
What is the most beautiful place you have seen on Earth, and why is it so beautiful?
The most beautiful place I have ever seen is the French Alps (see adjoining photo), a mountainous region bordering Switzerland which I visited during my semester abroad in France. I have never seen such incredible views. The mountains covered with snow were some of the highest I have ever seen, and the little French town where we stayed that served as a ski resort was so enchanting with its cute little boutiques, restaurants and cafes.