by Valdina Tchoute

From a young age, I have wanted to connect with other cultures — connect with the people, the language, the identities and even the tragedies that have shaped them. Because I was a foreigner myself, I felt a special connection to people who were not from the United States and their reasons for immigrating here. Of course, most people’s stories were not the most joyous, and even from a young age I knew the world was not either. Some were escaping a deteriorating political state, poverty, war and countless other atrocities in their home state and the U.S. was the only country they could escape to.

My own family came to the U.S. because of our corrupt government in Cameroon that failed to create jobs or opportunities for its citizens and embezzled money, allowing the rich to get richer. At a young age, I knew I wanted to help the people who could not leave their countries and prosper as much as I could. I wanted to find out how I could work with organizations that gave back to these communities, whether it was creating local jobs for a small village or finding an irrigation system that could be connected to areas that lacked clean water so the people didn’t have to suffer.  Lack of clean water kills almost 1.7 million people a year, mostly in developing and third world countries because their government does not have the resources to regulate water sanitation. 

That is why I want to make that my goal when I achieve my dream job of working for the Foreign Service Office and becoming a U.S. diplomat. I want to actively aid the US in helping other governments better provide for their citizens. Diplomats, or Foreign Service Officers, are the intermediaries between a foreign state and their home state. They represent their nation abroad as well as negotiate and interpret important information to maintain peacekeeping, human rights, environmental issues, trade and other aspects of that nature. I would like to advise top officials in the U.S. about what is going on in these countries and what agreements and treaties would be best to implement in specific situations and overall how to better the well-being of the nation that I am assigned to. 

The United States is the most powerful nation in the world, and I believe it is the only one that can effectively provide less developed nations with the resources and materials it needs to strive and improve their economy. Improving their economy will have a domino effect in that it will increase income and higher living standards. When income increases, the government can now focus on allocating the increased funding towards health care, education, and in the case of poverty ridden countries, water systems. I want to play a role in helping people regain hope in their government and feel safe in their home country.