Posted by: SSU Lingua Franca | April 28, 2017

Where are they now? An interview of SSU alum Brice Bambara ’11

Where are they now? An interview of SSU alum Brice Bambara ‘11

by Elizabeth Blood

Brice Bambara graduated from Salem State with a Bachelor’s degree in International Politics and a minor in World Languages (French/Spanish). An international student born in Burkina Faso, Brice quickly adapted to life in Salem. As a student of French, he completed an internship in teaching French at Collins Middle School and contributed to the World Languages and Cultures collaboration with the House of the Seven Gables to translate and record their audio tour in multiple languages. Brice also worked as a translator and interpreter for the Salem Public Schools, assisting new immigrant families coming from French-speaking countries around the world.

After graduation, Brice completed a summer volunteer program in Peru, teaching English to young children and assisting families who were producing crafts in an attempt to promote fairness and sustainability. He also spent six months working as a project assistant for a community action program in Burkina Faso before moving to Geneva, Switzerland to begin his graduate studies in International Relations at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. He earned his Master’s there in 2015 and now works for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. He agreed to answer a few questions about his career path and life abroad.

Elizabeth Blood: What is it like to live and work in Geneva?

Brice Bambara: It is great living and working in Geneva. The city is rather small and has a lot of charm to it. Geneva is a very multicultural city because of the many international organizations that have offices in the city. It is a common thing for me when taking the tram to work to hear people speaking many different languages. In addition, there are many budget airlines flying in and out of Geneva and you can get ridiculously cheap flights to the neighboring countries. I once booked a roundtrip flight to Barcelona for the equivalent of $50. That’s like the price of a meal for two in a regular restaurant. Can you believe it?! I really like that about Geneva.

EB: What do you like most about your current work in international affairs?

BB: What I really like about my work is the fact that I get to meet people from different backgrounds. Working in International Affairs means being very open-minded and respectful of other people’s cultures and beliefs. I have been working at the Global Fund for the past year, and I have met people from so many countries that have broadened my horizons and allowed me to be completely comfortable interacting in culturally diverse environments.

EB: Do you use your language skills on a regular basis? How?

BB: Yes, absolutely. I have to interact with stakeholders from different countries in my daily tasks. It is a common thing for me to receive phone calls or emails in both French and English. My colleagues speak at least two languages and very often, we switch from one language to another. I share office space with a colleague from Nigeria and another from France. Guess what language I use when talking about our plans for the weekend? Both! This also applies to my life outside of work.

EB: What are your plans for the future?

BB: In the short-term, I plan to get back on the field. I would very much like to work with an NGO somewhere in Sub-Saharan Africa or in Latin America, still in the field of health or education. In the long-term, moving back to work in Geneva once I have gained a lot of field experience sounds very appealing.

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