Alumni Update: a Letter from Hangzhou, China

Dear friends,

Greetings and hugs! Time flies! Since the fall 2013 Global UGRAD Program, it has been over two years. I miss every member of the 51-person UGRAD family and my host college, Presbyterian College! I appreciate this great opportunity given by the U.S. Department of State and World Learning and treasure the inspiring exchange experience. Although time is slipping away quietly, most of us have graduated and started a new chapter in our lives, and I still firmly believe that the time during the Global UGRAD program will never be forgotten and the inspiring experiences will continue to encourage us.

How can I share this meaningful experience with my friends and encourage them to pursue their dreams? That was the first and biggest question I faced when I returned to China.

With an unexpected meeting with my home college professor, I shared my Global UGRAD experience with her. She was really interested and asked me to contact my U.S. host college. I started taking an active role in the communications between my host college and my home college. In the fall of 2014, my home college professor paid her visit to the Presbyterian College in the U.S. and the professor from Presbyterian College also came to Hangzhou. Finally in 2015, after the two visits, both colleges established a formal exchange program! From my point of view, I feel it is quite exciting because my fellow college friends can now have the same wonderful experience that I had and can expand their horizons, promote cultural exchanges, and facilitate mutual understanding. More importantly, they can learn about the unique culture of community service at Presbyterian College – to learn how to share and help each other rather than to take or only focusing on study. These are what I learned from UGRAD especially when I volunteered at the Presbyterian Home and the Confucius Institute.

Being a Global UGRAD alumna is an honor and privilege for me. I understand the importance of assisting people and sharing happiness with them. Since then, even back in China and after graduation, I still seize opportunities to volunteer and I will continue to help people within my capability. Currently, I am in my hometown, Hangzhou, China. My hometown is famous for beautiful West Lake and soon it will hit the international stage. In 2016, it will host the G-20 Summit and in 2022, it will host the Asian Olympic Games. It is a golden opportunity for me to facilitate international cultural exchange and communications. I cannot wait to participate and volunteer in those two big events. As a native Hangzhou person, I expect you to come to Hangzhou and join in those events. I shall be a tour guide and introduce you to the beautiful scenery and the delicious food!

Participating in the Global UGRAD Program is the most important experience in my life. Not only did it broaden my horizons,  it also set my mind on a career related to facilitating communication between countries. With an ambition of being a cultural ambassador between China and other countries, I have devoted myself to foreign communication and cultural exchanges. Although it has been almost two years since I was on the program, I truly believe that “once a UGRAD, always a UGRAD.” Thank you again for offering me this unique opportunity and I wish for all of you and your family a happy and prosperous 2016!

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