October 2018 update from District 6220 2017-2018 Global Grant Scholar, Paula Priebe
Paula Priebe, Wausau, WI., USA
Previous studies, degree, experience:
- University of Michigan, B.A. Sociology, Global Change, Urban Studies
- University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, M.A. Urban Planning
- Peace Corp-South Africa; worked with NGOs in rural communities fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic
GGS Rotary Area of Focus: Peace and Conflict Prevention/Resolution
- Place of Study: University for Peace (UPeace); Cuidad Colon, San Jose, Costa Rica
- Studies & Degree: Master of Arts in International Peace Studies
- Host Club: Rotary Club San José Noreste, San Jose, Costa Rica
October 2017 Update:
This week marks the two month anniversary of my coming to Costa Rica. Time is flying past! I am well settled in Ciudad Colon and falling into the rhythm of graduate school.
Last week, my second course toward my Masters of Arts in International Peace Studies finished. We have a block schedule at UPeace where we take one course at a time, for 3 1/2 hours every week day for three weeks, then move on to the next course. Both of my courses thus far have been introductory theory courses that lay a foundation for the detailed courses ahead. I have been learning a lot and have been trying to focus my projects and papers about topics related to my goals of working with both urban planning and peacebuilding after graduation. The best part of UPeace so far is the truly global student body. There are about 140 students from at least 40 different countries, which make for very engaging and eye-opening discussions in class. This week I begin my third course, which is a two week course about the United Nations system, and then in April 2018, ends with a 3-day Model United Nations Conference here on campus.
I spend most of my time in the small city where we students live or up at the UPeace campus, which is about a 20 minutes bus ride up a nearby mountain. I am also studying Spanish and exploring my surroundings. I've been in to San Jose briefly a few times, but hope to explore that city more in the future. I've done a little bit of adventuring, including a few weekend trips hiking or whitewater rafting. And on a three day break we had from classes last month, I went up to Monteverde (four hours north) to visit a cloud forest reserve. Breathtaking!
I've also had the pleasure of attending one Rotary meeting with my local host club, San Jose Noreste. They have been very welcoming and were excited to get to know us. There are two other Global Grant Scholars studying with me at UPeace, both from the United States, one from North Carolina and one from South Carolina. The local club has invited us to a few upcoming events including a tree planting project day and their annual Christmas celebration. I'm looking forward to getting to know them more through these events.
Thanks for your support and interest in my studies so far. I've started keeping a blog, so please check it out for more detailed updates. https://paulapursuespeace.wordpress.com/