Alumni Spotlight: Nicaragua

Guisselle Celis, 2019 Global UGRAD alumna  (Nicaragua)

Hello everyone! I’m Guisselle Celis, a Global UGRAD alumna from Nicaragua. During my Global UGRAD experience, I was lucky enough to attend Presbyterian College during the 2019 spring semester in South Carolina.

I still can remember the day I received the email confirming that I had been selected as one of the program’s recipients, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited and terrified at the same time. This was the first time I ever traveled alone and my first time away from home. Funny enough, while reading one of the pamphlets from the U.S. Embassy about cultural shock and missing home, I remember thinking “why would I miss home knowing that I’ll be back after a semester?” But I’m not ashamed to admit that my first week in Clinton, SC was tough. I’m happy to report, though, that the feeling of anxiety only lasted for about a week.

Besides having the opportunity to learn and strengthen my academic skills, Global UGRAD was a full, life-changing experience. For the first time, I learned what academic

Guisselle at Presbyterian College

freedom looks like; I met some of the greatest, most brilliant young people whom I now get to call my best friends; and it allowed me to self-reflect on what I wanted to do long-term (in addition to all the traveling I was able to do with my mates).

Coming back home was hard. Reverse cultural shock is another thing I didn’t expect to experience but after bonding with people who live on the other side of the globe, it was inevitable. I’m glad to report that I’m still friends with everyone despite the different time zones, and I’m planning a trip to India in 2023 to meet my best friend after three long years.

Guisselle and other Presbyterian College Global UGRADs dressed in the traditional clothing of their home countries

As this cohort’s fall semester students are in the midst of their experience, I started to reflect on what the Global UGRAD scholarship meant for me. After coming back home, I graduated in Political Science and International Relations, with a stronger conviction of what I want to do in the future.

I got the opportunity to work at the American Nicaraguan Foundation as a grant writer, where I learned and contributed to Nicaragua’s social development through multiple projects focused on poverty reduction.

I’m now working as a marketing coordinator at Mercon Coffee Group, where I’m also contributing to local development through CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiatives, in addition to my brand-positioning-related duties. In the future, I hope to continue working within the social development sector, which is why my next plan is to earn a Master’s degree in International Development.

They say that we’re made of little pieces from everyone we meet and engage with, and I’m proud to say that, thanks to the Global UGRAD Program, I’m now made of pieces from all around the world. Although it’s been over three years since my UGRAD journey came to an end, it still has a special place in my heart.

Once a UGRAD, always a UGRAD!