For many Global UGRAD alumni, the End of Program Workshop hosted in Washington, DC is one of the highlights of their Global UGRAD program. For the first time in three years, World Learning was able to host the workshop in person!
Students arrived in Washington, DC on November 12 and began with a dinner featuring two student speakers, Lucy Khama Kalindekafe from Malawi and Mark Vodyanyi from Ukraine. They talked about what Global UGRAD meant to them and how their experiences in the United States have impacted them.
Lucy reflected on how her life changed by being accepted into the program. She said, “A year ago, I would have never imagined being in this place that I am in right now, I’m sure most of us can agree. Coming to America to me, was just a movie title, I didn’t think I would be uttering those words in August 2022.”
She went on to say that “being a [UGRAD], has exposed me to the greater good and taught me about a new specialty within the field of radiology, here in America. I believe it would not only help me with my career goal, which is to work with mothers, and children in medical imaging, it will also help Malawi as a whole because I will be one of the few specialists in the field.
Mark stated the importance of UGRADs in their local and global communities: “We as Global UGRAD participants are responsible for the life of our communities, cities, countries, and the world overall. I feel obliged to those people who do not have my education, skills, abilities, and financial status. This feeling of obligation runs at all levels. Also, it works for the whole nation about which I am not just a presenter – I can be obliged to either history or God – but finally, I am committed to my country’s existence and future.”
The next morning began with a tour around the city, stopping at famous sites such as the White House, Lincoln Memorial, and the U.S. Capitol. For some, it also included stops at smaller, less visited memorials such as the Japanese American Memorial. The tour concluded at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, one of Washington’s newest museums.
The workshop itself kicked off on Monday, November 14 with students engaging in team-building activities, leadership workshops, and action planning for their return home at the end of the semester. There were also many break-out rooms where they could learn about personal branding, emotional intelligence, and grant writing. Specifically, in the grant writing section, students were curious about ways to utilize their networks to find grants or get funding for projects they might have in the future or even for projects they have already been working on.
The workshop ended with dinner where the winners of the photo contest were announced and the “Take the Stage” event. “Take the Stage” is an event where students showcase their cultures through dance, song, and other cultural presentations. Many people dress up in their traditional clothing and wave their flags as they share their incredible talents. It was one of the highlights of the week and everyone had a lot of energy and support for one another. The week came to a close as UGRADs said goodbye to their new friends – there were many hugs and tears. It was amazing to see so many friendships and connections form throughout the week!
Read about one of the friendships formed through Global UGRAD, by checking out this blog article featuring two of the participants from Kenya and Panama, “How two Global UGRAD students formed a fast friendship.”