Bogolo Joy Kenewendo
A PITZER EXPERIENCE: A LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCE
In the fall of 2008, I was welcomed to Pitzer and the Claremont Colleges as an exchange student. I knew then that I would never be the same person again.
During my time at Pitzer, I was involved with Model United Nations (MUN); this was a fresh experience since we didn't have it at the University of Botswana. At first I thought it was like debating but it turned out to be more than that, learning about the UN and its processes, its language and drawing resolutions. After that experience, coupled with a number of informal debates with my Pitzer friends, I realized how great it would be to have the same thing back at home.
The Office of International Education and Partnership at the University of Botswana agreed to start MUN as an office project which meant that our team would have some financial backing and endorsement. We started off with three people which later grew to eight, just in time for the Harvard National Model UN. It was such an achievement to send my team to Harvard for some exposure and experience to assist in setting up our own conference.
We have since established a national Organization; Botswana United Nations Association (BoUNA) which primarily deals with sensitizing the public on objectives and principles of the UN, particularly the MDGs. We have so far managed to hold conferences, address members of parliament and have youth representatives to the UN.
I became a youth representative to the UN general assembly and COP15 through the program I exported from Pitzer College. Furthermore, I am now an economist working with a prominent economist whom I met during one of BoUNA's events. In the summer of 2009, I attended the Jean Monnet Summer program on European Integration where I was introduced to Elena Cantiani, an Italian Exchange student. (Side note, I met my boyfriend while preparing for the trip to Italy; he is an expert in regional integration and was at the time working for the French Embassy.)
I was blessed to be at Pitzer and there was a whole chain of events after my study there which has made my life what it is and an absolute pleasure. I have awesome friends who keep me engaged in discussion and keep pointing out opportunities out there.