By Tara Palmer, Floater Intern
To say I’ve enjoyed my time at The International Center so far would be an understatement. As the Floater Intern, I am able to experience each department for two weeks at a time and work with each department head and their current intern.
My most memorable experience so far was getting the opportunity to guide a group of men from Bangladesh through Indianapolis and their day of meetings throughout the city.
These seven men were here to be part of the International Visitor Leadership Program about Climate Change & Adaptation. I worked with Beth Barich and her intern Ashalyn Hardy as they finalized the itinerary for the visit. This took a lot of time contacting our possible topic experts and waiting to hear their responses. Even up until the day before, meetings were still being confirmed! Ashalyn and I put together welcome packets for the participants to receive upon their arrival at the hotel. This is where I met the group on Thursday morning, ready to walk them through downtown to their first meeting, which happened to be at The International Center. All the men were extremely friendly and excited to see another city. They had already been in the United States for two weeks and were staying for one more. On our walk, I pointed out the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, and they were eager to hear that they could go up in the monument to see the city from above. We met with the Hoosier Environmental Council where the group had an extensive discussion with plenty of questions from the participants.
We then went to Conner Prairie for a few hours as a cultural activity and as a chance for these men to learn more about Indiana’s history. Here, I learned that these men love nothing more than pictures, a way for them to bring the sights home and share with family and friends. Even though it was a rainy day, they used the living museum to get many photo opportunities. They were even able to speak with some of the participants about similarities to their own Bangladesh history. After eating at the food court in Circle Centre Mall and some quick shopping, we met with the City of Indianapolis Office of Sustainability. The meeting was held in the Mayor’s Conference Room, where we enjoyed a view of the city and pictures with the American, Indiana, and Indianapolis flags.
Even though I was only a guide and observer throughout the day, I learned a lot about climate change and was genuinely interested in the topics being discussed. Even more, conversation and many questions made this meeting lively. The men were reluctant to have to conclude the session, and could have gone on for hours longer had they had the opportunity! At the end of the day, I walked the group back to their hotel. Some parted ways to go to the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument and some to Circle Centre; all eager to explore and see what more Indianapolis has to offer. I loved answering their questions about American life and living in Indiana. I learned so much about their culture and even learned a few words in Bengali. I am looking forward to my remaining time here at The International Center and what else it has in store for me.