Intern Spotlight: Rilind Abazi

This is the fourth in a series of spotlights on our spring 2018 student interns.  Learning Life’s students this spring are assisting with research, outreach, fundraising, and international family-to-family projects focused on community photography and food culture as part of our Citizen Diplomacy Initiative (CDI).  Rilind Abazi, interviewed below, is, among other things, helping with fundraising research and event organizing, research on democratizing diplomacy, and transcription of food culture interviews we conducted with some of our CDI families.

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Kosovo, an independent country in Southeastern Europe that was formerly part of Yugoslavia, and lived there for my first fourteen years.  I moved from Kosovo to Newtown, Connecticut in 2012.

Rilind AbaziWhat school do you attend, and what is your year and major there?

I am a sophomore at George Washington University, studying International Affairs and minoring in Law and Society.

What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time I like to be outside, explore new places, and try new cuisines, like Vietnamese. I enjoy reading, writing, and practicing calligraphy. Recently, I’ve found a passion for movies (especially dramas and documentaries) and try to go to the movie theater more often.

Is there a life experience you have had that has particularly shaped you thus far?  If so, what is it, and how has it shaped you?

I think in many ways different parts of my life have informed my belief that I am to be of service. I was born in the middle of a genocide, grew up in a developing country, moved to Newtown, Connecticut in the same year that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting occurred, and was in front of the White House, as a first time voter, on the night of the 2016 Presidential Election.  I think that these life experiences have made me realize the importance of serving others, whether that is in the local, national, or global community. I believe that having courage and hope in humanity can help societies open their minds and hearts to embrace the struggle for justice and peace.

What are your career plans?

I am not sure at this moment. I hope to be able to use my skills and knowledge to engage in making positive change that would improve the quality of life for all people, especially underrepresented, historically oppressed communities.

Why did you choose to intern with Learning Life?

I think that it is crucial for young children, especially those from low-income families and communities to get more exposure to international affairs and the opportunities in that realm.  Learning Life’s approach can inform and empower our younger population to appreciate other cultures and traditions more, and maybe even incite them to pursue a career in international affairs.

What is the most beautiful place you have seen on Earth, and why is it so beautiful?

The most beautiful place I’ve seen is Kinkaku-ji in Kyoto, Japan.  It is a serene temple painted in gold.  The balance between human construction of the temple and the surrounding nature of gardens and a tranquil pond gave me a profound feeling of calmness and order.