NESA UGRAD: The Journey Begins

This August, nearly eighty participants on the Near East, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa UGRAD program landed in the United States to begin their NESA UGRAD journeys. Their first stop? The nation’s capital.

World Learning hosted two arrival orientations in Washington, D.C. where students were welcomed by an excited program staff. Jamie Sharpe and Melissa Speed, Program Officers from the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, also joined the orientation, providing valuable insight and anecdotes.

Over the course of three days, NESA participants engaged in sessions introducing them to the U.S. academic system, the value of community service, tips to find internships and more. In addition to the workshops, students quickly bonded with one another through ice-breaker games, dinner receptions, an evening bus tour of the city, and cultural presentations. They spent their last evenings on a boat, cruising the Potomac River. It was a beautiful evening filled with music, dancing, and of course – selfies.

By the end of the orientation, the NESA UGRAD students – representing 26 countries- formed a very tight bond. Saying good bye was hard, but with goals set and expectations high, they left D.C. for their host institutions ready to make the most of this year.

NESA students: it was our pleasure to spend time with you during your first weeks in the United States! Seize all the amazing opportunities ahead of you. This is just the beginning of an incredible journey.

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