End of Program Workshop

Exploring the Tidal Basin and monuments

World Learning successfully hosted the Spring 2023 Global UGRAD End of Program Workshop from April 4 to 7 in Washington, D.C. For many Global UGRAD participants, this event is one of the highlights of their time in the Global UGRAD Program.

The first day of the workshop was primarily occupied by students arriving in Washington, D.C. from their host universities around the country. The full cohort of Global UGRADs, 159 students from 52 countries attending 39 U.S. host institutions, attended the workshop. Early arrivals participated in an optional guided walk to the White House, while many students used the time following their arrival to explore the National Mall and D.C.’s food scene.

Teambuilding activities at the workshop

Workshop sessions kicked off on Wednesday, April 5. Throughout the packed schedule of the day, students participated in sessions focused on analyzing and building upon their skills and preparing them for their upcoming returns to their home countries. The lead facilitator of the workshop, Si Norton, led students through a number of team-building activities designed to not only get them thinking about their plans for the future but also to get them acquainted with fellow UGRADs whom they had never met. Additional sessions focused on leadership, action planning, and community mapping. Highly valued by the students was the final session of the day, reverse culture shock, where they learned and thought critically about this unique phenomenon that each of them will likely experience upon their return home.

UGRADs at the U.S. Capitol

Following a full first day of workshop sessions, students were able to unwind and explore Washington, D.C. on a staff-led bus tour of the city. The bus tour stopped at famous sites such as the Lincoln, Jefferson, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Franklin Delano Roosevelt memorials, as well as the U.S. Capitol and the White House. World Learning staff shared interesting historical and cultural facts during the tour, and the students’ enjoyment was evident in each of the numerous photos they took.

The second day was just as eventful as the first, beginning with an in-depth and interactive session on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Following this insightful session, three concurrent sessions were held in separate break-out rooms. These sessions focused on corporate and foundation relations, personal branding, and emotional intelligence. Each session provided unique perspectives for students and instilled valuable skills that can be utilized in their home countries. Specifically, in the corporate and foundation relations session, students learned how to utilize their networks to locate funding for projects and how to identify, cultivate, and maintain relationships with funders throughout the lifecycle of their projects and beyond.

UGRADs posing near the Washington Monument

The workshop concluded with a dinner, during which submissions for the photo contest were shown and the winners announced, and the “Take the Stage” event. “Take the Stage” is a celebratory event where students showcase their cultures, countries, and personal talents through a variety of performance methods. During this workshop, 18 countries were represented through group or solo performances of song and dance. Many students dressed in traditional attire and showed their flags in full support of this once-in-a-lifetime display of diversity. Students loudly cheered the performers on, and several groups invited the audience to join in – it didn’t take long for the auditorium to become a dance party!

Global UGRADs from Indonesia perform during “Take the Stage”

As the Spring 2023 edition of the End of Program Workshop came to a close, Global UGRAD students said their goodbyes to their newfound friends, exchanged contact information, and shared many hugs and tears. World Learning staff were proud to see the exchange of ideas and culture as well as the foundation of new friendships and connections that occurred throughout the workshop. As students return to their home countries, packed alongside the many other memories they made throughout this semester, they take with them the incredible End of Program Workshop experience that they will never forget.

UGRADs in the audience dance along during a “Take the Stage” performance