"[The Middle East] was a place where things happened. It was a place where there were revolutions and wars," she says. "It felt like an amazing, almost epic novel, especially coming from Minnesota where the history is not that epic. I found that fascinating."
Lewis & Clark College did not have an Arabic program, so after her return to the United States, Boehland enrolled in transfer classes at Portland State University. For the rest of her time as a student, she rode her bike an hour each day to take Arabic. She says that after her graduation in 2005 recruiters from the Central Intelligence Agency approached everyone in her Arabic class about possible work.
Boehland decided to work for nongovernmental international organizations instead. She spent three years at Human Rights Watch in New York City, followed by a year and a half on a Fulbright grant studying Iraqi refugee issues in Jordan.
Then she took a job with Save the Children working in the West Bank and Gaza for a year. Now she's just completed her first year at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Mass. – but rather than spending this summer interning at a corporate firm, as did many of her classmates, she worked in Kabul at the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.