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Besides nervously checking my grades and seeing how well I did academically last semester, I have just been relaxing back home in Shanghai and also catching up on all the TV dramas I have missed. Although Shanghai is extremely cold these days, I still love it because I get to reunite with families and have my favorite food – hotpot!

During break, I watched an excellent movie that was once brought up in my IR 316 Gender and Global Issues class, “the Whistleblower,” starring Rachel Weisz. This film is based on a true story and is about a female police officer (Rachel Weisz) from the U.S. volunteering for an U.N. peace mission in Bosnia. She thought she was joining the best police force and working for the right cause. However, later she finds out about many U.N officers working together with local human traffickers and trafficking girls across borders themselves. A huge conspiracy web involving both the bad guys and the good guys is slowly discovered by our heroine who cares and sympathizes for victims of human trafficking. At last, she reveals this scandal to the world by going to the press.

The hard facts that showed up at the end of the film about the officers involved in the trafficking not getting punishments back in their own countries left me speechless and disappointed. I had little idea how corrupt the U.N. could be and how some people could do horrible things in the name of peace-keeping. Although I learned about how prostitution can happen more often around military camps in my gender class, seeing it was certainly much more surreal than just reading about it. This film taught me to always look beyond the surface because the front is sometimes deceiving, and to never to be too sure about anything. This was definitely a lesson learned in a hard way.

Another year, and another new semester is just around the corner. To be better prepared for this next round, I have already been buying textbooks online and previewing all the available syllabi. I will be taking a very exciting international relations class called “Intelligence and Espionage (IR 304).” Intelligence has always been a mysterious but attractive field to me. Now, finally, I have one of the best opportunities to unveil its mysteries without exposing myself to too many dangers. Perhaps it’s because I have seen too many spy movies and dramas, but I want to get to know intelligence for real. It might turn out to be a disappointment, or it might be something even more exciting! I cannot wait to find out. I will keep you posted!!


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