Four months after completing his time as a Brandeis University student-athlete in 2018, two-time UAA Most Outstanding Running Event Performer Irie Gourde began a 6½-month research internship in Tanzania. His interest in global issues is an extension of his studies and his own experience of living in three different countries before entering college.
THE ROAD TO BURKINA FASO
Gourde was born in Portland, Oregon, but that was just one of three very different places he lived.
As he was finishing middle school, his mother was offered a job in the State Department as a foreign service officer, a position that would entail a significant move and lifestyle change. “At that point, we didn’t know where this job would lead us. Job assignments were given through a type of lottery system, so there was a lot of uncertainty as to where we would even be sent,” Gourde said. “One option was for me to stay in Portland with my grandparents, which may have been the more secure choice, but my household growing up was mostly just me and my mother, so I felt like I should go with her on this unexpected journey. I was also interested in the idea of traveling abroad, though I didn’t fully appreciate what that would entail at the time.”
Gourde had never traveled outside of the United States for any significant amount of time before this point. He spent some time learning about some of the countries on the assignment listings. As it turned out, his mother’s assignment would be in a place Gourde was completely unfamiliar with, Burkina Faso. “I had never heard of it,” he said. “I researched its history, its language, everything I could find out about it.”
To Read Full Story, Click Below: