GRIP, Internships Abroad Problem Solving Abroad
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September 12, 2023
Ruqaiyyah Lucas-Caldwell, CAS '24
GRIP: World Medical Association
Since coming back home, I’ve received several questions about my summer—about what I did in France, my favorite parts and what I learned. Every time I recount my experiences, I always have a smile on my face because I am so excited to talk about my time abroad!
While abroad a skill that I really improved on was my problem solving. At school with any minute issue I would call my mom, mostly to hear her opinion on the situation even though in the back of my head I knew what I had to do. While I was in France, however, 10am CEST would mean that I would not be able to reach her which forced me to lean into my discomfort and figure it out. For example, due to the protests in response to the fatal shooting of Nahel Merzouk the border between Switzerland and France shut down early because there was a 9pm curfew in France. I was unaware of this curfew and was in Switzerland past 9pm. I had to figure out a way to get back to my apartment so that I could be back at work the next day. I took the bus to the last stop between Geneva and Ferney-Voltaire and walked to the border. Because Ubers did not work I had to call a cab in the little French I knew in order to return to Ferney-Voltaire. While this may seem like a small decision, it was one of several problems I solved all on my own which I was very proud of.
Living in Ferney-Voltaire has forever changed me. I know that I want to work in global health and pursue policy relating to topics I am interested in. In addition to that though, working in a clinic is very important to me in order to be in the field, treat patients and hear their stories.
Before coming to Penn I knew that I wanted some international experience. In my almost four years here I have been able to do a Penn Global Seminar in Chile, live in France, and I will be living in London for my study abroad program in a few weeks. Since being back at Penn I try to push as many people as I can to have an abroad experience. This has been such a rewarding summer where I have learned so much about myself. I am grateful for the risk my younger self took for my future self and I encourage all Penn students to take this risk and explore life outside of the US.
The Global Research and Internship Program (GRIP) provides outstanding undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to intern or conduct research abroad for 8 to 12 weeks over the summer. Participants gain career-enhancing experience and global exposure that is essential in a global workforce.