Big Buddies: Service in Action

by Karina Kainth, MSFS '17

One of the MSFS program's foundational elements is a commitment to service. Yet in the midst of classes, internships, and exams, we don't always get the chance to engage in direct service and remind ourselves of one of the reasons why we are committed to the career paths we've chosen.

This is why participating in Big Buddies is such a gift. Big Buddies is a student-led organization within the School of Foreign Service that coordinates mentorships of students of diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds from a local elementary school.

Our first event this semester was a scavenger hunt on Georgetown’s campus. It was our first time meeting the kids from the new school with which we have partnered. This year, we are working with students from Key Elementary School. The school is unique in that it is multilingual; students learn in multiple languages. Many of the "littles" in our group, who are 2nd through 5th graders, are already fluent in three or more languages.

The kids were full of energy, excitement, and curiosity. From playing freeze tag on the main lawn (the stately brick paths that traverse Georgetown's front lawn were designated as “lava”) to facilitating the kids' discovery of a Van Gogh-inspired mural in Lauinger Library, to chanting "Hoya Saxa!" on the football field, we all had an amazing experience. The kids were introduced to a new possibility for their futures, while I was reminded of what it means to be constantly inquisitive and find delight in the simple things.

Many of us have come to MSFS to make an impact at the macro-level. It’s equally important, however, to engage at the individual level and remind ourselves of what we’re working towards and the future to which we are contributing.