From Where I Stand: December 2020 Edition

Augusto Barón, Honduras, West Virginia University, Global UGRAD 2017-2018

Back when I returned to my country, I was just in time to retake my university duties. Quite literally, the next day after my landing I was in a health clinic working. Back to the old grind, but with fresh perspectives on what I could do and would do. A mindset I’ve lived with ever since.

This photo is in my room, quarantined. Surrounded by what means the most to me, which are positive connections I’ve built within myself and with people around me, and beyond that what has further empowered me as a leader, a professional, and as a human being.

I stand here working, trying to leave the world at least just a tiny bit better than before. I stand here having been able to represent my country in various international events, as the founder of a public health-oriented organization “ColectivoSalud,” as part of the Steering Team of the Global Youth Alliance for Kindness, as a medical intern who is proud to serve his country, as one of the Youth Champions of the Global Youth Compact on Humanitarian Action, but above all, I stand as a friend.

A friend grateful for all the amazing people I have in my life, including those that I met during and through my Global UGRAD Program, and are still alongside me (I reunited with one last year, actually!), even if virtually, giving me a reason to smile even when the world frowns.

Vatsalavong Vongsayalath, Laos, New Mexico Highlands University, Global UGRAD 2019-2020

First of all, after coming back from the USA, I would honestly like to say that the Global UGRAD Program improved and changed my way of living in a very positive way. The experience I have gained is a priceless experience giving me new hope and passions to bring back to help my community – especially in the education field. These include helping children to access and learn through the internet and serving Laotians living in remote areas by improving access to professional knowledge regarding agriculture.

Those are what I’m doing now and I would like to attach my photo that show my feet while I was walking recently on a lane through my community to a small school to teach English during my summer time.

Tamara Sofranic, Serbia, University of Evansville, Global UGRAD 2015 – 2016

It has been four, almost five years since I took part in Global UGRAD, which changed my life, connected me with my new, lifelong friends, and helped me become a global citizen.

After  Global UGRAD I returned to my homeland and earned my bachelor’s degree in psychology. In a period of one month, I graduated, got married to my long-time love and moved to Poland! The thing that made me forever grateful for taking part in this program is that one dear Global UGRAD friend came to my wedding all the way from Kazakhstan!

I started my career in a U.S. company based in Poland and worked on helping new grads start their careers. It was a fruitful and exciting period in the lovely city of Krakow. After a year we moved to Sydney, Australia where my husband was offered a job. I continued my career working with young people as a career coach, helping them identify where their potential lies and what professional pathways are best for them.

Although I moved from Serbia, and did not have much time to make an impact in my home country, I have been actively volunteering with a large Serbian diaspora, at the “Serbian Festival Sydney,” which is completely run by volunteers. Through community work I now have the opportunity to help preserve my peoples’ culture, heritage, traditions and folklore far away from our home country.

Although I keep my feet on the ground, I feel like my home is the whole world – thus the photo of me and a bird, both ready to travel the globe.