Alumni Update: Jacky Salazar, Guatemala

From the moment I started my first class at American University, to the time we took the stage at the End of Program Summit in DC, and through my very last community service hour I felt this amazing experience made me grow both personally and professionally.

Of course coming back to Guatemala was nerve-racking and I have to say it was a bit more difficult than I had anticipated. In spite of it all, I knew it was the opportunity to have a brand new beginning, because for the first time in my life, I had a clear idea of the career path I wanted to follow and the kind of contribution I wanted to make in my country.

Jacky (middle) working on USAID’s Nexos Locales project

Consequently, the first step I took was applying for my dream job at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for a project in the region and… I got it!

The fun part is that I get the chance to travel to communities and to meet mayors, council members, former and current ministers, the U.S. Ambassador, and even the head of USAID Guatemala. My most memorable moment so far has been presenting before the Mayors of 10 cities (including my hometown) about Solid Waste Treatment Planning, a component that I have been very proud to lead since the past year.

I strongly believe that I would not have made it this far without everything I learned throughout the Global UGRAD Program. Now, I look forward to continuing to work to achieve all my goals and hopefully in the near future be the head of my own non-profit organization.

So, thank you very much to the Global UGRAD staff, the people at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and everyone who makes the program possible. It made such a positive impact in my life. To all the Alumni and future Global UGRADs, I’d like to say: dream on, and keep working until your dreams come true.

Written by Jacky Salazar, 2016-17 Global UGRAD student from Guatemala at American University