Report from our 2023 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellow
We invited Eirik to take part in the exciting 2023 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellow program, a program designed to foster relationships among the younger generations of Europeans and Americans to promote awareness of shared values in light of the global challenges of the 21st Century. He had a wonderful time learning about the United States. We asked him about his experience, and he said:
Participating in the Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship was truly an amazing experience. 45 Europeans from different backgrounds, together with ten Americans at our age and a handful of mentors became true Americans for four weeks. For the first two weeks we stayed at Purdue University in Lafayette Indiana. We got to experience U.S. campus life in Indiana and Washington D.C., all while learning a lot about U.S. politics and society through lectures with professors from all over the country. These lectures gave us a much better understanding of the United States before we explored the country towards the end of the program and prepared us for our community project where we would help our community back home. We stayed in Lafayette for a week with a host family from the area to experience their day to day lives, for the true American experience. For the last week of the program, we set out on a bus journey across the United States to Washington D.C., where we stayed at Georgetown University to explore the city. My best memory of BFTF is from the last week when the group started dancing Cha Cha slide with a stranger outside of the White House, home of the world’s most powerful person. A security guard from the Secret Service even joined us, stating he had been employed there for 15 years so they couldn’t fire him for joining.