My name is Sibongile Hokonya, and I participated in Global UGRAD during the 2017-18 program year. Recently, myself and some fellow international exchange alumni celebrated International Education Week (IEW) in style. It was such a refreshing time here in Harare as the Global UGRAD and Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSI) alumni came together to celebrate IEW at the new United States Embassy in Zimbabwe. The International Education staff organized a reception to solicit alumni suggestions as the Public Affairs Section seeks to establish a cross-program mentoring program. We were excited about the mentoring program as it will allow us to broaden and deepen local connections with like-minded people. In addition, ideas on how the Embassy can engage with alumni were also shared; these ranged from supporting alumni projects to assisting with additional funding opportunities that the alumni can explore.
The Cultural Affairs Officer, Jason Roberts, was present during the meeting and encouraged us to network outside of U.S. Embassy-initiated programs. Alumni had the opportunity to interact with him, sharing their U.S. experience and future goals. The reception was fruitful. Alumni were motivated to create stronger networks as well as to start mentorship programs amongst themselves in addition to the mentors from the U.S. Embassy. The Global UGRAD and SUSI alumni also got a chance to tour the new state-of-the-art U.S. Embassy. The alumni from Zimbabwe are grateful for the opportunity to meet up and share ideas whilst celebrating IEW.
Sibongile Hokonya, 2017-18, Zimbabwe, Carroll College