Long before they arrive in the United States, Global UGRAD students spend countless hours contemplating what they hope to experience during their exchange program. Now that all the fall 2023 UGRAD participants are settling into life at their host institutions, World Learning asked them to list the things they most hope to do or experience during their time here. What is on their “bucket list” for this semester? Keep reading to find out!
Rachel Mecaela Baxal, originally from the Philippines and studying at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay (UWGB), cannot wait to experience the seasons and local attractions! “I depart in late December, so it’s likely I will experience snow. It’s also to my advantage that I’m in one of the coldest states, so I’m looking forward to building a snowman and snow fairy!” She also hopes to visit nearby Wisconsin Dells, the “Waterpark Capital of the World.” In addition, Rachel was already able to cross one item off her bucket list: “Sing a Filipino song and showcase Filipino talent in front of a crowd!” She accomplished this during a karaoke event on campus and “the crowd loved it!”
Muylin Saing, who hails from Cambodia and is attending Grand Valley State University, really wants to try an American apple pie! “Growing up, I watched a lot of cartoons and the characters often ate apple pie. I’ve never had a pie before so I really hope to taste it someday. Luckily, my roommate has invited me over to her house in Chicago for Thanksgiving and said she’ll have her mom bake me one!” She also hopes to visit an apple orchard and pumpkin patch to experience the fall and farm aesthetic.
Paul Romero, originally from El Salvador and studying at Georgia College & State University, is an avid reader and plans to venture to many bookstores while he is here. “I love reading, but in my country there are not many bookstores. I want to visit some huge bookstores here and spends hours on them. He is also excited to experience Halloween for the first time! “This is the biggest thing I want to do on my bucket list. My favorite holiday is Halloween; however, it is not celebrated in El Salvador, so I watched a lot of movies and series about Halloween instead. I’m really excited to finally celebrate.”
Anano Natchkebia, from Georgia and attending Grand Valley State University, is excited to immerse herself in music and culture around the United States. “I cannot miss a chance to go to Chicago to experience its rich culture and great food! I have studied music for several years and one of my favorite genres is blues. Chicago is not only a birthplace of the blues, but also home to thriving jazz scene.” She is also looking forward to Thanksgiving, noting that “It is not only about delicious traditional meals (which I’m looking forward to tasting), but also a sense of togetherness and gratitude.”
World Learning is excited to see all the fun activities and adventures Global UGRAD students cross off their bucket lists throughout this semester!