After returning from our GROW trip to Chicago, Sophia and I are more excited than ever for what lies ahead of us as GROW interns. Not only did we have an incredible time exploring the city and getting to know each other, but we had the opportunity to learn some important lessons from the GlobeMed head office that will aid us in our internship. Our first day in Chicago started off as a bit of a disaster as our flight was delayed 5 hours!! After we landed, however, this memory quickly faded. We wandered the streets of Chicago taking in all of the sights and eating EVERYTHING! Naturally we made sure to get some deep dish pizza, and of the stores we went into had a Nutella bar, we were in heaven. We took the long way home after dinner in order to take in all the sights; Michigan Avenue, Navy Pier, Millenium Park. We turned in early that night as we knew we had a big day ahead of us. The next day we met with all of the other students from around the country as we embarked on our first adventure as GROW interns. We learned about creating our MoU’s, how to evaluate our project plans, and the importance of metrics and evaluation. The keynote speaker Jody Kretzman absolutely blew us away as he called for us to think differently about the work we will be doing this summer. Instead of looking at ourselves as outsiders coming in to help he told us to integrate ourselves, learn about our hosts, and find what gifts and talents they have to offer. In doing this we can better help our partner organization by building up the good that already surrounds them instead of trying to find a list of faults to fix. On Sunday we met for half a day to conclude the GROW Institute. On this day we focused on what we had already learned, and how we could bring our action plans to life while in our host countries. Before concluding the weekend we participated in a final exercise and discussion that brought to light the diversity of the GROW interns as well as that of the host countries we will be visiting. We touched on important topics like race, gender, religion, and sexuality, and how all of those wonderful thing that make us unique can also be a source of pain or fear within our lives. In having this open conversation about “taboo” topics, we were able to better prepare ourselves for what lies ahead of us as we enter cultures vastly different from our own. All in all I would say that the weekend was a great success!