Connecticut College News
Ms. Felfle Goes to Washington - by Julie Pereira ´1002/16/2009
For three years, the junior from Barranquilla, Colombia has been a force at Connecticut College. An economics and international relations major, Alexandra Felfle has been involved in everything from Student Government to Invisible Children. But perhaps the most exciting and interesting thing about Felfle was her fall semester away at Georgetown University in Washington DC, where she focused on economic and public policy. With frequent and eye-opening visits to government offices, Felfle had a "life-changing" experience. She recalls watching presidential debates at the Hawk n´ Dove, a famous DC haunt, with senators as her own personal commentators, and witnessing Hillary Clinton on a business lunch on Capitol Hill. "That experience was completely irreplaceable," Felfle said. Possibly even more irreplaceable was the fact that one of her roommates was a former intern of President Obama´s, which enabled them to witness the first bailout pass from the gallery. "I was at the Georgetown Library, and everyone was very excited," she said about being in DC on Election Day, "but I had a test the next day, so I was studying!" She left the library however, once then-Senator Obama won the state of Virginia. She described the moment that she exited the Metro at her stop as one that she will not likely soon forget. "I got to my stop which is Capitol South…and it was like ´doors opening, please mind the gap and ladies and gentlemen, Barack Obama is the new President of the United States´…There were tears in my eyes and there is no way to describe that everyone was outside, screaming, happy, hugging each other…I had never felt that before in my life. Everyone came together and there were no party lines, race, gender…everyone wanted this to happen." Thanks to the University Presidential Inaugural Conference, she was there to witness the historical Inauguration firsthand. She "personally feels a connection" to the new president, because of his father´s start as a foreign student studying in America, much like Felfle herself. "The United States is a world power, and… the Inauguration was very important for me because of the fact that not only was he the first African-American president of the United States but the fact that it symbolizes that [the American people] decided to elect an African-American president.…[That] says a lot not only to the people of the United States but to the world.…The world now knows that the US wants to see change and that it doesn´t want to be perceived in the way that it had been perceived all these years…The world now knows that the people of the United States are tired." Felfle plans on using this experience to help with her CISLA project, which focuses on the United States and Colombia Free Trade Agreement. She intends to focus on the role that international organizations such as the World Bank, the IMF, and the Inter-American Development Bank as well as big banks such as Citi, play in free trade agreements. "A lot goes into play when free trade agreements are signed…and I think that it´s not always smart to say ´oh, it´s a free trade agreement, free trade is good.´ There are a lot of things you need to look into to see if the country is actually ready for a free trade agreement. Colombia, to be completely honest, although it would benefit our nation we have a long way to go before we get there. We´re still a developing country and a lot of people would lose their jobs." Felfle is looking to further her firsthand experience with international organizations and is currently pursuing internships at companies with international interests for the summer.