Learning up close

While studying abroad in Talloires, France, BEST scholar Talisa Watts is seeing global health engineering and policy at work.
A woman stands among many stone statues.
Photo courtesy of Talisa Watts

This summer, Talisa Watts studied abroad in Talloires, France. Talisa is a civil engineering major and a scholar in the Bridge to Engineering Success at Tufts (BEST) program. She blogged about her experiences in Talloires during the summer of 2018.

By Talisa Watts, E21

It has already been three weeks, I can’t believe it. My time in Talloires is halfway done. I have added some more French to my repertoire, seen many beautiful landscapes on hikes, and am loving my classes. In Flowers of the Alps, I have successfully learned to recognize and name about seventy-five flowers. In Global Health Crises, I am learning more and more about the disease I have chosen to research—Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS for short).

This week for CEE 193 (Global Health Crises), we were able to visit the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) museum, both of which are in Geneva, Switzerland. One of the first things I noticed during my visits was that everyone spoke English. The second thing I noticed was the wealth of diversity. Although everyone spoke English, people were from all over the world. It was beautiful to see so many people from different nationalities, different cultures working together to better the world. And they really are.

In the photo, I am standing with The Petrified at the entrance of the ICRC. These statues sculpted by Carl Bucher represent the faceless victims of human rights violations, the people who the ICRC works to protect. Faceless, because there are so many whose suffering we don’t see and faceless because the suffering need help, no matter who they are.

I feel very fortunate to have been able to visit these noble organizations; they are working towards accomplishing such large missions. It was awe-inspiring to see people working towards so much good.