Keep Striving: One Nicaraguan Alum's Journey to Fulbright

Eimeel foto
Eimeel Castro, Nicaragua, 2008-2009 UGRAD Alum

The UGRAD experience has been life-changing for me. It not only broadened my cultural horizon and stimulated my motivation on studying history but, most of all, it showed me I could explore and engage my potential to the fullest. When I came back from my one-academic semester at Nazareth College (Rochester, NY) in May 2009, I started sharing my experience with other students and volunteering with high-schoolers as their mentor. It was the way I could not only share the wonderful features from the program but also the opportunity to positively impact someone else’s future. For five years, working alongside people who were struggling to stay at school due to economic deprivation revealed to me the important responsibility I had in my hands, which was trying to be a support for others as my professors and other adults had been to me.

Thanks to these people’s kind and support, I finally graduated with honors in 2011. I started working and teaching at the university; another rewarding experience in my life. I am certain all the self-reliance, independence and curiosity for life were stimulated since my UGRAD experience. After having gained some practice as historian, there was the idea in my mind about the necessity for professionalization. I wanted to better understand the history of my country and my region, but there are no master programs available in my country so I had to wait until I fulfilled all the requirements for a program abroad.

The defining moment came last year when I decided to apply for a Fulbright scholarship. It all seemed blurry and difficult at first but I had the feeling I could not deny to myself the attempt, even though the result was uncertain. The process was long and exhausting since I had to work all day and study at night for all the exams I needed it to take. I received the news that I was a finalist last fall and I barely believed it when I read the email. I am content and nervous for this new adventure and I smile every time I think about all I learned from my UGRAD experience, the way it helped me grow personally, all the knowledge I acquired and all the changes it helped foster in my life. I probably will never stop learning from it.

Dear UGRADs: my message to you all is to keep striving. Life is generous and effort always pays at the end.

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