Sitting on the beach by the light blue sea watching the sunset, I suddenly realize that this beautiful view does not inspire me as much as my Global UGRAD experience. As a Global UGRAD alumna, I can say that those ten months of volunteering, traveling, and exploring a new system of education were tremendously important for my personal growth.
While being in the country of my dreams, the United States, the idea of creating an English school in my home city came to my mind. I wanted children and adults to have a chance to learn English for free. I wanted everyone to have an equal opportunity. In Ukraine, this is difficult because of the lack of people who want to teach for free. Unfortunately, foreign language tutoring costs a fortune in my city. As soon as I came back home, I began working on putting my ideas in practice, and I accomplished my goal. Now, dozens of people are immensely happy because I helped them get the opportunity not only to learn English, but also to broaden their horizons and develop themselves in a new way.
While teaching, I share with people about many of my unforgettable adventures in the United States interacting with people from other cultures. I explain why language learning is an important part of reaching a lot of goals. My story of success does not finish with English school. It is just one part of a big adventure that began after completing the Global UGRAD Program. I would never have believed that one day I would be nominated to become an American Educational Ambassador in the city of Cherkasy, but it happened. I feel so blessed to represent opportunities to study in the United States to hundreds of people. I cooperate with many educational institutions and the media and share my story about how a young girl came to study to the United States and became successful without paying any money. It sounds fantastic! I meet so many interesting people who have a huge potential to make a difference in this world. I get many questions how to become a student in the U.S.
Global UGRAD helped me become a person I could not have imagined before. I am sure that the future is full of possibility. Once a UGRAD, always a UGRAD.
By Mariia Makarenko, 2018-19 Global UGRAD student from Ukraine at Missouri State University