IBP Alumni Volunteer in the Bahamas, Gain New Friends
In February, seven alumni from Georgetown’s Master of Arts in International Business and Policy (MA-IBP) program embarked on a personal trip to the Bahamas that turned into a service endeavor. Initially planned as a way for students to get together and relax in celebration of their graduation the previous December, those from the cohort who were able to attend the trip headed to the Bahamas for a one-week vacation that turned out to be so much more.
The MA-IBP program is a one-year interdisciplinary program that blends the strengths of the Walsh School of Foreign Service and the McDonough School of Business to provide an understanding of the frameworks and mechanisms that drive business and international relations and explore those concepts in contemporary global issues.
“The program was an eye-opening experience that exposed me to how the world operates and the intersectionality between politics, society, economics, and more,” said Binita Raval (IBP’19). “I learned alongside my classmates from more than 35 different cultural backgrounds.”
Shamini Gibson (IBP’19), a native Bahamian, hosted her fellow classmates. Gibson acted as the group’s tour guide around her home country, helping them experience traditional Bahamian culture and its colonial history. Although the cohort enjoyed Bahamian home-cooked meals, visited the Atlantis’ aquarium, and took a day trip to Blue Lagoon Island, it was important to the group to ensure that they gave back in some way during the trip.
“Although the members of the cohort came from different backgrounds, they wanted to be able to make a difference and give back to an organization that helped locals in the Bahamas,” said Raval.
The group coordinated with Hands for Hunger, a nonprofit food rescue program that collects excess perishable and prepared food and delivers it to agencies that serve the Bahamian community. They met at the Atlantis Hotel on Paradise Island and spent the first part of the morning packaging food to be donated. The cohort took the packaged food to the local Red Cross and another local community center in Grant’s Town to be distributed to those in need.
“We felt it was important to continue the Jesuit mission of giving back and supporting social causes of food hunger and insecurity,” said Nqobile Chitimbire (IBP’19).
The trip served as a memorable and enriching experience for the members of the cohort, complete with relaxing yet rewarding components that forged a strong bond in the group.
“The fact that we went to the Bahamas to visit Shamini says so much about the MA-IBP experience because so much of this unique opportunity is attributed to the relationships we made with each other and what we learned from one another,” said Emily Wesolowski (IBP’19).
Raval is grateful for the time spent with her classmates and feels the trip only brought them closer together. They group says they were inspired to plan a visit to another classmate in their hometown when it’s safe to do so.
“We started the program as ‘Cohort 3’ in January of 2019 and this trip demonstrated that we have established friendships and relationships that will live on past our one-year program,” said Raval.
Gibson relayed the experience as one that she felt proud to have gone through and a program that left her equipped for the next chapter in her life: “We started as classmates, finished as friends, feeling like family!”