Exploring the U.S. with CEA Funds!

This semester, World Learning provided Global UGRAD students the opportunity to apply for a Cultural Enrichment Allowance (CEA) to explore U.S. culture by attending musicals and concerts; going to museums and theme parks; visiting monuments, and more. Below are some of the cultural areas in which students gained knowledge.

The Environment

Zheng Liu, China, Florida Gulf Coast University

I visited the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. The time being exposed to the nature is to be treasured. Exploring nature should be high on the list of priorities. No matter how much success you want to achieve in the future, protecting the environment is your duty.


Marcelo Orellana Delgado, Guatamala, Boise State University

Following the answer of one American student to “What is the most emblematic place that a foreigner should visit in United State and why?” from OPAL Module 2, I visited two amazing National Parks whose beauty everyone should know. This experience is not only summarized in the views that can be appreciated, but also in the community created with the people with whom you camp, cook, and do dishes. 

U.S. History

Joshua Cahatol, Philippines, Northern Michigan University

One of the most memorable experiences I’ve had was visiting the Statue of Liberty. For many years, this image has been the one that defined the U.S. for me – a land of the free, a land where liberty enlightens all, a land where dreams could come true. As I gazed at the scenic view of New York, I was reminded of the symbolic and historical significance of how 13 colonies declared their independence. My journey here in America is complete after coming here.



Alina Rojas Jimenez, Costa Rica, St. Cloud State University

I visited George Washington’s Mount Vernon. It showed me the reality of the enslaved people the ex-president owned. We learned about the cruelty in U.S. history in a realistic way, which I learned to value a lot. This tour gave me great insights and encouraged me to think and learn more deeply about power relations and racism.

Space and Technology

Mengly Ky, Cambodia, Juniata College

I visited the U.S. Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. I got a chance to learn how the U.S. navigated through World War II with its advanced air technology.




Gulzora Mirzaeva, Uzbekistan, University of Mississippi

I visited the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. It was amazing to learn about how NASA functions. I also watched a 3D documentary about traveling to different planets in the orbit.


United Nations

Khin Whathann, Burma, Iowa Wesleyan University

Every decoration in the United Nations building has meaning. They left the ceiling unfinished because the goals set by the UN have not yet been achieved. I took a picture in front of the portrait of U Thant, a Burmese diplomat and the third Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1961 to 1971. He was the first non-European to hold the position. I am so proud to be Burmese.


Zhyldyz Mamatova, Kyrgyzstan, Iowa Wesleyan University

I wanted to visit the United Nations not just as a tourist, but with a goal to become a part of this community. I attended a forum which helped me improve my analytical and critical thinking skills. We discussed the implementation of social projects for victims of violent extremism and religious discrimination.


Sasun Minasyan, Armenia, Grand Valley State University

Since I am a photographer, visiting the National Geographic Society and Museum was a dream come true! THANK YOU! I visited the exhibition of “The Untold Story of Titanic.” The Titanic was something I’d been interested in since childhood. Now, I got the chance to see the real remains of the ship, and items that were used during the filming of the movie Titanic!


Meriem Saoud, Algeria, American University

I don’t think I have been this interested and invested so much in something  since I arrived in the U.S. like I was during the Warner Bros. Studio tour in Los Angeles, California. The one thing I remember from my childhood that made me so happy was when my mom put a movie on for me to watch with her. They didn’t have to be Disney movies for me to enjoy them (although I did watch a lot of those). Movies made me imagine a different reality. They shaped my views and made me interested in storytelling. Whether they were the famous Hollywood movies or the famous old comedies in Algeria, I have always loved the feeling of watching a movie. Going to Warner Bros. Studios and getting the chance to see how movies are made was the best experience I had in the U.S. after being on the red carpet covering the premiere of a movie in DC. Thank you for all the opportunities you gave us to get where we had never imagined we could get and for that I am very grateful to World Learning


Kudzai Munyavi, Zimbabwe, Lewis-Clark State College

As a huge basketball fan and player, I visited the Brooklyn Nets home ground at the Barclays Center. Just being in the confines of an NBA arena was more than a dream come true and for that I am very grateful.






Khatthaphone Tamongsoumuangxay, Laos, Old Dominion University

American football is inseparable to U.S. culture. Every game is a game of not just the players but the families who gather to watch their favorite team. At ODU, we felt the excitement fill the campus during the international students’ tailgate march. They shot a cannon to mark the beginning of a cheerful game.


Thu Nguyen, Vietnam, Loyola University Chicago

Are Asians in the U.S. similar to Asians in Asia? To answer this question, I visited the Little Vietnam and China Town in Chicago. I enjoyed the food and learned that many people try their best to keep their culture alive. They celebrate American holidays like Thanksgiving while also celebrating their own countries’ holidays like the Lunar New Year Eve.




Bhim Tamang, Nepal, New Mexico Highlands University

I attended the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta—the biggest balloon fiesta in the world. People from everywhere come to see it. I also tried enchiladas, a typical Mexican cuisine. Although it was completely different from what I am used to, it was tasty.