My name is Fernanda Alina Polanco Avendaño, and I am from Nicaragua. I had the chance to be part of the Global UGRAD Program around 2015-2016 in Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU). Thanks to my Global UGRAD journey, my life became more fruitful and significant in all aspects. I got to meet other Global UGRAD friends from my home country, with whom I still contact. I also made international friends that made my stay an enriching experience, as I learned from their cultures and developed my social skills.
Talking about my teachers and the student community at SVSU, I can say that there was no better place for me to study. They prepared constant activities for international students to keep learning while having fun. I am really grateful because they always made me feel at home. Today, I can still say, “It’s a great day to be a Cardinal!” In 2019, I took part in a university fair organized by EducationUSA in Nicaragua in order to represent my former college. SVSU kindly sent beautiful souvenirs for me to give away as gifts as I talked about the academics offered and how life is at this university.
In terms of the accomplishments I have achieved after the Global UGRAD Program, I can name a few. In 2017, I traveled to South Korea under the GKS program to do a research project related to education. Then, in 2019, I was able to finish my degree in English Education. After, I worked for a year and a half in a school that teaches through an alternative approach called Reggio Emilia. This really gave me a better understanding of what teaching philosophy I would like to implement in my teaching style. In addition, thanks to a program called CARCIP, I could learn more about English Didactics and even earned a TEFL certification that enhanced my knowledge on specific areas of English teaching.
Currently, I am working for Escuela Vera Angelita located in the rural area of my city, Matagalpa. This will be the first school in Nicaragua following the model of Education for Sustainable Development. Teachers and students at this school will have more tools and knowledge to help the surrounding communities access information and quality education. Moreover, the school focuses on women’s empowerment and will be only for girls. I am really excited, and I can’t wait for the school to open next year. As for now, I am planning English lessons for the coming year.
There are several goals I desire to accomplish in the future, but the one I hope to achieve soon is a master’s degree in Educational Technology. I would love to keep working in the rural area and have the chance to start a project in which I can teach children and teens how to use computers or tablets to improve their learning process at school. I hope this idea materializes soon.
Fernanda Alina Polanco Avendaño, Nicaragua, Global UGRAD 2015-2016, Saginaw Valley State University