Tommaso on Birkenstocks and the Potential Within Everyone


Tommaso Bulfone is a 3rd year Human Biology and Society major and Global Studies minor! He is a member of the ghU committee and GROW team this year! In addition to being involved in GlobeMed Tommaso is also a guide for Outdoor Adventures, an intern at TEACH, and is currently working on stroke rehabilitation research.


“A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.”
―Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Saint Exupery is neither Martin Luther King nor Gandhi. I am neither Paul Farmer nor Obama. Let’s be honest: when talking about international aid, one might find it quite ridiculous that I, a broke college student and avid wearer-of-birkenstocks, want to join the conversation. I am reminded of this skepticism by the snickers and condescending smiles I receive whenever I talk about my dreams of pursuing global health, or my upcoming trip to Uganda. However, I like to think Saint Exupery and I see things the same way. He asserts that whatever one may be is irrelevant, because what defines us is our potential and what others perceive that to be. We may be a humble pile of rocks (even though I doubt you, reader, are a humble pile of rocks), but we cease to be just a pile of rocks the moment anyone sees the Cathedral we can be. In my case, I ceased to be just a broke college student the moment Globemed saw me as a global activist.

I am lucky to be part of Globemed at UCLA. When people believe in each other, there are no limitations to what they can do, who they can be, and the things they can create. Globemed provides me with opportunities that I never imagined I would have. Globemed is a space where my ideas about Global Health are heard, and instead of a passing nod or a smirk, I am given the tools I need to create initiatives and act on my ideas. Globemed allows me to be more than a broke college student with plans for the future and a head full of ideas, Globemed sees me as the activist I seek to become – by providing me with the opportunity to travel to Uganda with a wonderful GROW team that believes in each other.


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