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Opportunity for Students: Blog for New York Times

NICHOLAS KRISTOF is inviting University Students to go overseas with him and blog for him on The New York Times website.

Here is what Kristof has to say about the contest:

Read the full rules here. The contest is open to students enrolled in an American college or university, either as an undergraduate or graduate. You can submit an essay or video or both, essentially explaining why I should pick you. Please don’t gush about my reporting — just explain what you bring to the table. It might be that you’re a great writer or photographer, or it might be that you grew up poor and know something about poverty, or grew up rich and don’t know a thing about it. I’m not looking for expertise but for intelligence and great communication skills so that your blogs, videos and social media will make other students interested in these issues and generate some conversations. If you blog or have other writing or video experience, mention it and send links.

To enter, use this form at the Center for Global Development website. The center will help me winnow down the applicants to a much smaller pool of finalists, and then with the help of my assistant, Liriel Higa, I’ll choose the winner. Probably the aim will be to travel for about 10 days or two weeks in the late spring or early summer. I’ll try to work around your schedule, but if you know for sure you won’t be able to take the time off, then please don’t apply. Your expenses will be covered, but there’s no cash award, and you may have to pay taxes on the value of the trip. I’m not sure just where we’ll travel, but the two Congos are a possibility. If you speak French, mention that but it’s certainly not a requirement.

Also, remember that the traveling is sometimes tough. The joke within The New York Times is that first prize is a trip with me; second prize is two trips with me. We will be bouncing over awful roads, we’ll be eating wretched food, and you may get sick. Hotel rooms may come with bedbugs and rats. And we’ll be on the go from dawn to dusk. To get a sense of what the past winners have done, check out Austin Meyer’s post on malnutrition in India, my interview with the 2014 winner Nicole SgangaSaumya Dave’s first impressions of Morocco in 2011Paul Bower’s reflections in 2009 on how religion in Liberia shares many similarities with the South, or my 2006 visit to the Dzanga-Sangha area in the Central African Republic to see gorillas and elephants with Casey Parks. You can also see what past win-a-trip winners are up to; the 2013 winner, Erin Luhmanncaught up with the previous winners, going back to the Casey in 2006.

If you want to get a sense of the issues I cover and care about, subscribe to my free email newsletter. But don’t feel you need to agree with me to apply or win!

One other suggestion. Only one person will win this trip, but you can always try to make your own trip. Africa is relatively expensive, but traveling around Nicaragua or India/Bangladesh, or Vietnam/Cambodia is more affordable. You may also be able to get a job or volunteer position teaching English. And for that matter, there are many opportunities to leave your comfort zone without leaving this country — tutor in a prison, or in an inner city school. Over the years, I’ve heard from a number of win-a-trip applicants who, disgusted by my poor judgment in failing to pick them, went off on their own journeys and had life-shaping experiences. So if you don’t win my trip, win your own! You may also find ideas for places to volunteer abroad at omprakash.org or idealist.org.

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