Win a trip with a Pulitizer Prize winner

Since 2006 Nick Kristof has been running a Win-A-Trip contest. And the trips are not to resorts or 4-star hotel sites.  Think Cameroon or Central Africa.

He’s not sure where the 2011 trip will go but here is the kind of person he is looking for:

The truth is, I’m not entirely sure – except that I want someone with excellent communication skills, who can blog and vlog (video blog) in ways that will capture the interest of other readers. If you’ve done blogging, vlogging or journalism, be sure to mention that — in sparkling prose! Ditto for anything else that makes you special or will make your voice more memorable.

And here is how to apply:

You can apply either with an essay of up to 700 words, or a video of up to three minutes, or both. Send the essay to winatrip@nytimes.com. Post the video on my Youtube channel, http://www.youtube.com/NicholasKristof, next to my own video invitation for applications. In either case, explain why I should pick you.

Read all about the trips in his Sunday, Dec. 12 column and Dec. 11 blog

One of the nice things about Kristof’s column was his call to young people to get out into the world and do some good before they settle into their jobs. (This is the same advice I gave my students at George Mason University.)

If you’re graduating from college, think about the Peace Corps, Princeton in Africa, or other chances to work or live abroad. I recently met Molly Fay, who spent a year after college in Kenya helping with “camel clinics” — health clinics that travel to remote villages by camel. That experience transformed her life. She resolved to become a doctor and is now at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

He also suggested that maybe high school seniors might want to take a “gap year” between high school and college.

He is right to say that most colleges will defer admission if the student is doing something worthwhile. My older son took a year off between high school and college to work as a scuba diving instructor in the Dominican Republic. That one year matured him more than any amount of time in college could have. (One tends to “grow up” quickly once he realizes he has people’s lives in his hands.)

I took a gap year myself, working for the Future Farmers of America youth organization and then picking peaches on a farm in France. My eldest son is taking a gap year in China right now.

I have always liked Kristof’s writings and insights. This column just confirms my high opinion of him.

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