World Learning held its virtual End of Program (EoP) summit from November 8 -12. Global UGRAD students from all over the United States tuned into Zoom sessions hosted by facilitator Si Norton on topics ranging from building leadership capabilities to action planning/ community mapping. Traditionally held in Washington, DC, the virtual format of the summit served as a constant reminder of the Global UGRAD Program’s role in fostering cross-cultural understanding and preparing students for leadership positions in a post-pandemic world. Let’s hear from a few students about what they learned from the Virtual EoP summit and the skills they will take with them upon return to their home countries.
Tifany Batista, Panama, Endicott College
Tifany says the EoP helped her consider her current leadership qualities and how she could develop those for the future. During the leadership session, Si asked the group to think about what kind of leader they want to be, a question that “stood with me,” Tifany says. She states she wants to be a leader “that is available and helps others showcase their strength and talents while supporting each other when it comes to their weaknesses.”
Some of that support came from other participants in the EoP sessions, one of whom said it is important to recognize your own hard work and success. “One of my peers talked about how sometimes the best way to be productive is if you reward yourself after you finished something you have worked hard for…[to] motivate myself and celebrate my good work.” Tifany and her fellow Global UGRAD peers recognize that stepping back to appreciate the incremental progress made throughout a project is a key part of maintaining resilience through the ups and downs of implementing a challenging task.
Tifany views the EoP summit as a rewarding way to wrap up her study in the United States. “It was definitely different since we couldn’t do it in person…but it gave us a lot of good resources, got me thinking about how to apply what we were talking about in my life, workplace, and community.” Tifany is especially excited to begin community service projects related to youth mental health services back home and use her Global UGRAD experience as a base of knowledge to get started.
Carlos Victor Hugo Alvarado Conde, Guatemala, Saginaw Valley State University
Carlos also has fond reflections of the EoP summit. He enjoyed the Action Planning and Community Mapping session the most, saying, “I learned to format and translate all the knowledge that I have learned in the United States. Here in the U.S., I have learned about politics, culture, economics, technology, and development, so it was extremely helpful to know how to generate an action plan to develop an idea.”
Carlos hopes to develop a technology education program in his community in Guatemala. “What inspires me every day is to contribute to the development of Guatemala to lift millions of people out of dire conditions” using the United States’ technology development as a model. He also found the Leadership and Emotional Intelligence sessions informed his ability to “know how to generate an action plan to develop [his] idea.”
Though he would of course have liked to meet his peers face-to-face, Carlos found the virtual summit an effective way to wrap up his time in the United States, and is looking forward to applying this new knowledge to his future academic and professional activities.
Great job to Tifany and Carlos and all the Global UGRAD students who attended the summit and congratulations on finishing your study abroad experience in the United States. Please keep in touch with us here at World Learning and let us know about your future success!