Explore! Experience! Engage!

Radovan Cvorovic, Montenegro

It is almost the end of the year – the end of an amazing chapter in my life – a chapter during which I could call myself a UGRAD (although, I will always be one)! It has been a life-changing experience for me and I couldn’t be more grateful for everything I was able to do, and if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t change a single thing!

First Impressions: Along with all other SAM UGRADs my journey began in August. I arrived at the campus of Old Dominion University late at night with nothing but one suitcase and the hope for an amazing year. Soon I realized it wasn’t going to be that easy, but regardless of the struggles I went through in the first couple of weeks, I knew I would get out of this experience as much as I put into it. I changed my perspective and attitude and kept thinking:

Radovan1“If I go outside to find friends, there will be no one there!

If I go outside and be a friend, friends will be there!”

So I started doing everything that was offered to me – from hiking trips sponsored by the Sport Center to attending events geared specifically toward international students. At one of the meetings I started the biggest leadership role I have done so far!

Global Monarch Club: As I was seeking friends, one of the clubs that grabbed my attention was Global Monarch Club (GMC), whose motto is “Connect Globally, Engage Locally.” The first club event at which I volunteered was the International Tailgate. It gathered people from all over the world in a colorful parade of flags. That day I didn’t just represent my country and World Learning, I came to the conclusion that being a leader is a thing I want to do!

GMC Exec Board and International Sport Tournament: When spring semester started I continued to be an active member of the community, but what I didn’t know was that my contribution had been noticed. As a result, I was offered an executive member position on GMC as Director of Social Gatherings! I was grateful but also aware of the responsibility I was undertaking. When a friend and fellow GMC member proposed organizing an International Sports Tournament,  I knew it was time for me to step forward and take charge. We spent many hours with the rest of executive board Radovanplanning the event, but it was worth it! The event was a real success and gathered about 200 people. Thanks to the coordination and communication of our team all unexpected situations were solved instantly and everything went smoothly. Participants thanked us for the event, during which they had fun and were given a chance to meet new people!

Conferences and Academic Success: As a reult of my participation in GMC gatherings I was invited by the GMC adviser and ODU Office of Intercultural Relations to give a speech at the NAFSA Regional Conference in Williamsburg, VA. It was both an opportunity and a test since I hadn’t given a speech in English before! Other GMC members and I delivered speeches that the audience accepted very well and they gave us amazing feedback!  I knew I was going down the right path. After an amazing mid-year workshop with World Learning staff I participated in a second conference, this time at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. The conference was called the International Student Leadership Conference.

I have learned a lot throughout this year. I had a chance to study and work in the most amazing labs. I have been to three conferences, which improved my public speaking and leadership skills. I have been a participant and organizer of multiple events on campus. I have met and become friends with people from all over the world with different backgrounds, cultures and languages. I have traveled throughout the U.S. and seen the most amazing cities! It was my dream and I have achieved it!

My Tips for Future UGRADs: Spending a year in the U.S. will be a life-changing experience! If you are about to start a year abroad there is no reason for fear and doubt – You wouldn’t have been chosen if you were not ready!

Explore! Experience! Engage! Achieve!


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