|Yours truly in Marrakech, 2012.|
Algiers, Algeria is home to Andrew Farrand '03. He's lived there since 2013, after almost a decade in Washington, D.C., punctuated by frequent travels and over a year living in Morocco. His love of languages has led to fluency in French and intensive study of Arabic, with stints in Damascus and Amman—and even a summer in Tanzania studying Swahili. "I owe Catherine Eiff for all that," Andrew says. "She was my French teacher through much of Upper School, and offered me my first trip abroad: an SP exchange visit to France. That trip was when I first realized I had a knack for languages, and that it was a path to a whole world out there."
Today Andrew works as a Program Manager in the Algerian office of the National Democratic Institute. (NDI is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that works on five continents to strengthen democratic institutions.) Highlights of his work include advising Algerian political parties on integrating public opinion research, such as surveys and focus groups, into policy-making. (Algeria, a constitutional republic, has a multi-party political system with numerous parties.) Andrew also trains young party leaders and civil society activists in political organizing and communication techniques.
Daily life in North Africa has its challenges, Andrew reports, "but then again, back home I didn't have a view of the Mediterranean out my window every morning, so there are perks." He credits his years at St. Paul's for helping him get there. "Traveling in countries with less developed education systems, you realize how valuable critical thinking and writing skills are. I was lucky to have them drilled in at an early age."
Andrew, a magna cum laude graduate of Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, has just completed a practical guide for expats relocating to Algeria, and blogs about his travels at Ibn Ibn Battuta.