Friday, February 27, 2015

What I Did Over January Break: Matt B.

Classes have been back in session for a few weeks, so we asked our student bloggers what they did over their winter break.  Enjoy!

Matt, what did you do over your winter break?
This winter break I got to take part in a Trek.  At SAIS, there are a variety of treks available to students. Career Services, for example, will organize treks to take students for interviews at companies in cities from Zurich to Shanghai. Academic departments at the university also host a variety of treks. Many of my friends this winter break went on treks to places such as Colombia and Myanmar.  I went through a student club for my trek this January, and went to Israel.
In Israel, we spent eight days traveling all over the area, starting and ending in Tel Aviv. On the trek were SAISers from different concentrations, but three in particular stood out in terms of the event planning—Energy Resource and Environment, Strategic Studies, and Conflict Management. Our trek was filled with constant meetings and dialogues, which greatly encouraged everyone to explore different points of view through discussions over the course of the trek. 
The topics of the presenters varied throughout the trek. We met with Shimon Peres to hear about his efforts with the Peres Center for Peace.  We also went to the West Bank to met with Dr. Hanan Ashrawi of the PLO. But not all the speakers were political. Even in the West Bank, we met with a Palestinian Venture Capitalist and his prized start up, يامسافر. For the ERE side of events, we visited the Mekorot group to learn more about their efforts to help switch Israel to 75% desalinated water systems by the end of the year.
The trip was eye opening and challenging for many reasons, both obvious and not. I definitely could not have imagined a better way to spend part of my winter break for a student of Conflict Management.
Yael Mizrahi wrote in the SAIS Observer about the trip far better than I ever could. If you’re still curious about the trek and its components, go check it out!
–Matt B., SAIS Admissions Student Blogger
Photos courtesy of Nancy Lu Wang.