Alumni Update: Serena Awad, Palestinian Territories

In my whole life nothing has changed me like participating in Global UGRAD – if I am comparing my life before and after it is obviously not the same. Talking about the experience I have gained and the people I knew would not be enough on this page, I think I could fill a book. It’s been a year since I returned home and a lot has happened. Being an exchange student gave me many opportunities in different aspects.

The highlight of these many opportunities is that I was selected to be one of the organizers for Hult Prize 2020 at my university, The Islamic University of Gaza. The Hult Prize is an international competition in cooperation with the United Nations, and an initiative of former U.S. President Bill Clinton and Holt International Business School in the United States. I was selected to present at the final ceremony to an audience businessmen, investors and professors. Without the training and workshops from the Global UGRAD Program, I wouldn’t have had the courage to stand in front of so many people and speak comfortably.

I am spending every second here in Gaza to encourage people to apply to the Global UGRAD Program. Just two days ago we had an information session for people interested in applying this year, and I feel so satisfied to talk about it and share my stories. This was an amazingly life-changing experience. In the end, I cannot be more blessed or thankful, and as much as it hurts to finish the exchange year, you will forget the pain when you see how many advantages it gives you.

And I can’t relate more to this quotation: “Exchange is not a year in a life, but a life in a year.”

Serena Awad, 2018-2019 Global UGRAD, Palestinian Territories, Bennett College

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