Dear UGRAD Post,

Alex in NYCI visited one of the most famous cities in the world during my spring break.  I visited New York City.  I got a chance to visit the “Top Of The Rock,” the Empire State Building, the American Museum of National History and many more fun places! I was surprised by how  big New York is.  The “Top of The Rock” and The Empire State Building gave me a breathtaking views of New York City at night and during the day. I was amazed how the city is organized. The architectural buildings really impressed me.  I also has the chance to see the variety of living creatures at the American Museum of Natural History. I learned so many interesting things! There were many funny animals that I didn’t know even existed before, which I found to be really interesting. Inside the museum there was also a show on how the earth and the sun were created and will be destroyed.  This gave me new information that I didn’t now before as well. My trip to New York was so amazing; I can talk all day about my time there.  It was a great opportunity for me to explore another part of the United States.

– Alex Naphasouk Sithpraxay, Laos, Humboldt State University


Dear UGRAD Post,

During my spring break I visited Boston. I went with a group of friends from Philippines. We went to Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It was a great experience. I visited two of the most prestigious schools in United States. I could walk around the halls and the classrooms and saw the snow for first time. It was wonderful!Jimmy Boston

For lunch we visited the Quincy Market. It is an amazing place where you can find food from many countries. After the lunch we explored the city, noticing the beautiful architecture. I learned about the city’s Irish influence and I could see it everywhere in the colors of the Boston Celtics and in the catholic symbols of the parishes.

I also had a chance to meet up with two Salvadoran friends and a friend from Costa Rica. What I enjoyed the most was the subway (in Boston, it is called the “T”), and it was the first time that I used this kind of public transportation. It was really amazing; there were people in some stations playing string instruments like guitars and harps. The people were really friendly and there is always a nice place in the city to relax.

Jimmy BeachNext, we went to a beach near Boston. It was really fun. The water and the sand were really cold, for us I think it was funny because we are used to experience a different kind of beach, where the water is always warm. We stayed there for a while and then just walked around the city. When I was leaving Boston, I was saying goodbye to a place with the hope to visit again.

– Jimmy Alvarado, El Salvador, University of the Incarnate Word



Dear UGRAD Post,

My trip to California was AMAZING! I’ve been planning to go there for more than 10 years, and finally managed to do it, I have to say, thanks to the UGRAD program.

First of all, I went to two really incredible and famous plays: “The Nutcracker” and “The Christmas Carol”. They were surprisingly great! It’s amazing how much you can get from those plays, and how deeply absorbing they can be. I will never get tired of saying that art is something that just can’t be ignored, and will always please mankind. I think these kind of plays, and the way they are displayed, can only be found in the U.S., so that is why it helps me relate it to U.S. culture.

The Charles Dickens’ Fair is a really interesting fair where people dress as if they were in Anderson Jailthe 1800’s. It’s supposed to make you feel as if you were back then, so hundreds of people just dress like that and speak in weird accents and it’s really fun. They have games, shows, and lots of food! If you lose in one game, you go to (fake) jail! We also visited the DeYoung Museum, which was really special. Lots of history is stored in the museum, and also lots of new forms of art, including Modern art and some photography that depicts social issues, which was really interesting to see in person. Pictures revolved around topics from racism to environmental issues.

Finally, we visited Six Flags Magic Mountain Park and it was exhilarating! Something this big is not achievable in my country or anywhere near where I live, so it is something you have to see and experience if you like adrenaline. They have many of the best roller coasters in the whole U.S. (faster and longer in time), and it is just breathtaking.

Anderson Six Flags

– Anderson Ferrer Hernandez. Venezuela, Montana State University


Dear UGRAD Post,

DSCN2052We visited New York City during our spring break.  We got a CityPass and visited The Metropolitan Museum, The Museum of Natural History and The Museum of Modern Art.

I loved MET! We spent about five hours at the MET and it wasn’t enough… We ended up not seeing the Asian section which is honestly one of the top five reasons why I’d come back to New York. We went to the “Top of the Rock” observatory and the Empire State Building observatory. I managed to see the FRIENDS building in Greenwich Village, and as you probably know by now that I’m a huge FRIENDS fan, so that was cool. I also ran into a YouTube star, Laina. Definitely check her stuff out, she’s hilarious!

– Martina Abat, Montenegro, St. Cloud State University


Dear UGRAD post,

IMG_1932I had a wonderful spring break. After all midterm assignments, I was really ready for a break. I went to New York City for four days and headed back to DC to attend the “Stars” Re-entry workshop. I feel so thankful because both my trip to New York City and the workshop were so amazing that I could never forget. The image of the city is always in my mind since the very first days I started to learn English by reading books about the US and watching American movies. Central Park, Empire State Building, Wall Street, Times Square, Broadway and more, now I can feel, see and experience all with my own eyes.

I feel empowered when walking out of the subway station to the Times Square. It was like my dream finally comes true. All the lights, people and the bustling energy spread through all the streets.  The Ellis Island was closed due to the damage of the Sandy hurricane so I couldn’t get on the island to see the Statue of Liberty from close distance.  Anyway, cruising around the island and further to the East River was really fun.  I also watched Broadway show for the first time. “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is an amazing play.  I watched the movie before so now I could see the creativity and innovation that the play brought to the story. At the end of the show, I had a chance to take picture with the leading actress of IMG_2016the play, Emilia Clarke who is currently starring in the famous TV series “Game of Thrones.” 

My spring break would be incomplete without the UGRAD Re-entry workshop. Only in two days and a half but the workshop has become a life changing experience to me. I met wonderful people, enriching my knowledge and perspectives. Being inspired by my friends’ stories, I was more eager to contribute to my community when I come back.

Thank  you, UGRAD and World Learning for giving me this wonderful opportunity. I have grown up a lot. The journey is still ahead but I’m ready for it.

– Tien Thuy Tran, Vietnam, American University


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