In Their Own Words: Updates from Honduras

Gerson Guevara, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities

After participating on the Global UGRAD Program in 2008, I returned to Honduras with a completely different perspective and ideology, and I was an entirely different person. I began working as a teacher in a bilingual school in the mornings, and in the afternoons after school, I continued with my studies at university. I became involved in more activities at the university and ran a workshop to motivate students from my university to participate in the program. In the classroom, I encouraged my students to make a difference and to believe that a change is possible. I was also part of the group who won the Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund project in Honduras in 2011, and having participated in this project encouraged me even more to pursue a better education so I can help my country to improve.

That same year, I decided that it was time for me to continue my learning experience and applied to a new program. I was selected to go to France to teach Spanish for one academic year (2011-2012). This wonderful experience helped me to learn a couple of new pedagogical tools that can be used in class to improve the teaching-learning process, as well as some interesting teaching methods. During this period, I applied to the University in France and was accepted at the Université de Versailles. So I worked and studied at the same time. I have been a very active student in my university in France by being on hand to welcome international students and help them to start university life.

The Global UGRAD program also helped me not to be afraid to raise my voice to defend mine and other people’s rights. For example, I was an active member of the LGBT movement in 2013 that supported the “Marriage Pour Tous” (marriage for everyone) law in the streets of Paris. I would also like to encourage equality in my country and around the world. I am also active with regards to world issues, and am part of the Young Friends of the Earth environmental group, and we were present at the COP 21 in Paris last year. In addition, I was awarded an ERASMUS grant to study in the United Kingdom as part of my degree in 2014 and returned to France in 2015. I am currently working in the tourism industry in Versailles so I can gain more experience. I would like to continue my studies so I can become an English linguistics professor at a university in Honduras and gain as much experience as possible so I can share it in my country.

Andrea Maria Nuñez Rodríguez, Barnard College

It’s been quite a while since my ugrad experience finished. Since then a lot has happened. A few days after my arrival I focused in completing my studies in order to do that, I moved from La Ceiba to San Pedro Sula. After finishing my classes I got an internship in Habitat for Humanity Honduras. Here I developed several housing projects which are in the process of being certified by the Social Housing Programme , Bonus Savings and Credit (ABC ) led by the Government of Honduras . This internship was a requirement of my home University, to graduate as an architect. After completing a 3 month internship I got a permanent job at Habitat, and I am currently designing 4 more housing projects, with which it is projected to help approximately 97 families, throughout the country. Habitat for Humanity Honduras has supported more than 23,000 Honduran families in the construction or improvement of housing, benefiting more than 115,000 Hondurans. An average of 3 housing solutions are built every day.

As some of you may know, I have always been interested in art. I am a self-taught artist and although I can’t devote completely to art due to various circumstances, this year I decided to participate in the National Exhibition of Art 2016. The National Exhibition of Art at the Sampedrano Cultural Center, is an annual event with participation of plastic artists nationwide that aims to stimulate and promote artists in the creation of works that enrich and vitalize the development of this art expression, as well as gather and create a cultural heritage. This year 102 artists participated, and a total of 152 paintings were submitted to the contest, from which 80 of the paintings where selected to be part of the exhibition. My painting titled “Escarlata” was selected, and exposed for a month at the Sampedrano Cultural Center gallery.

As well, during my UGRAD experience at Barnard College, I took a course named Urban Planning for Climate Change at Columbia University. My final assignment for this course was a Case Study on Urban Energy, Mitigation, and Adaptation Policies in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This case study will be published in Chapter 8, Urban Energy Supply Sector, of the Second Assessment Report on Climate Change in Cities (ARC3-2) by UCCRN, Columbia University Earth Institute. The Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN) is a consortium of individuals and institutions dedicated to the analysis of climate change mitigation and adaptation from an urban perspective. Parallel to the ARC3-2 report, UCCRN is launching a Case Study Docking Station (CSDS), an online database of case studies with climate action of cities across the world, where you can find the case study I developed. The report is on track to be released later this year, as well I am expecting to graduate this November.

It’s been a busy year, and I am grateful that my UGRAD experience became a milestone for my academic and professional life, as well as to all I want to accomplish.

Grecia Romero Sabillon, Humboldt State University 

Hello there! UGRAD is one of the best experiences that I have had – it changed my life.
I returned home almost 4 months ago – time really goes so fast – and my perspectives about my country, my culture, etc. have changed in some way and I like that.  I can see a world in front of me full of opportunities to help and to do something good. Now every time I talk with a young student or a kid I try to encourage him or her to look for this kind of opportunities, to go outside and dream and think bigger; that is the start to change the country that we love even though the hard situations that happen around us.
Recently, I had a chance to share a little bit from my experience studying abroad with a group of around 50 high school students, but mostly I tried to encourage them to do the best in wherever they do, to not be afraid and fight for their dreams, and to take an opportunity they could have in front of them. It was a great experience, there is never enough time when it comes to share about many things I learned


I will always thank to World Learning, The U.S. Embassy, the UGRAD program, for giving me this scholarship, I have a head full of colorful memories that continue to remind me the responsibility I have with Honduras and to remind me awesome people I met there that encourage me to be better.


about life in The U.S. Also, I was able to share my experience in a panel for students in my university who went to study abroad, the idea was to motivate the other students to apply for scholarships and that they could see how awesome this could be.

I am so blessed to be part of an organization that we created with some UGRAD friends from Honduras and other people when we came back, it’s called GUALA. It is about create hand and forearm prosthesis using 3D printing technology. It’s been such a challenge but I really enjoy the time I spend in these activities, we can see the results: smiles, hope, hugs, thanks; and that is just enough motivation to continue with this. We are able to see how much necessity our country has in the health area.

Justo Henriquez, St. Cloud State University

My name is Justo Henriquez  I am currently working for a multinational company called C&W Business, as a Sr. Product Manager, responsible for the Unified Communication and Collaboration Products Portfolio, which are sold across 23 countries (LATAM and Caribbean), currently living two weeks a month in Miami and the rest of the time I am in one of the 23 countries, depending on any special request from the local teams.

We, as a company, are expanding and the next step is Europe, we are launching some of my products in England and Netherlands, so pretty much we are working 24/7 in order to have everything ready.

These photos – of them was taken during a technology event in Barbados, where I was doing a DEMO for some of our customers and the second one was taken in Colombia, during a private even with 100 participants from south America, mainly focused on how to integrate our technologies into their companies.





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