Alumni Update – Guatemala

Hector stands at a podium in front of the UN flag and Guatemalan flag

On August 18th I will commemorate 2 years since my arrival for the wonderful Global UGRAD adventure. These past years after I came back have been quite challenging, but with all the knowledge and experience obtained during the exchange program I have been able to overcome any adversity and open myself for new horizons.

Reflecting about the program I realized that the old version of me that left my country never came back, and that is what is so wonderful about the program – it naturally allows you to find yourself, challenge your stigmas and beliefs, and build up a broader consciousness about yourself and the world.

Another fundamental element that I deeply appreciate from Global UGRAD is that it allowed me to really work on my dreams, passion, and everything I love, in the academic, professional, and personal areas.

Since I started college, Model United Nations has been one of my favorite spaces to develop relationships, knowledge and experience, and I came back to my country so inspired by what I learned during the program. In the company of peers from four Guatemalan universities, we established a new Model UN for Guatemala and Latin America called MINUG (Inter-university Model UN).

Working in what you love is not actually working; I feel I am dedicating myself to enjoy and nothing else. But the Global UGRAD experience is so generous that I didn’t only get academic and professional experience, I didn’t only meet friends and peers that I love with all my heart from so many countries, it also opened the door to work for the U.S. Embassy even when I still have a couple more semesters to go in my university.

Distance from my family and friends was an investment, but stepping out of the bubble, embracing the world’s diversity, and building up knowledge to put in practice is an investment for a life time – for me, for my country, and for the world.

I miss you my fellow Global UGRADs, you all live in my heart and I am certain that we will meet again.

Once a UGRAD, always a UGRAD!

Hector Raul del Valle Muñoz, Guatemala, Global UGRAD 2018- 2019, American University