Current Student Spotlight: El Salvador & Albania

The Global UGRAD program opens doors for participants to pursue passions and causes important to them. This semester, two UGRADs have shared their personal experiences and represented their home countries in unique ways. Whether it is speaking at a fundraising event or co-starting a blog featuring international students, these students have taken advantage of opportunities during their Global UGRAD programs.

Hazel Susana Segovia smiles before giving her speech at the Glasswing Gala

Hazel Susana Segovia from El Salvador at Vermont State University – Castleton

“As a UGRAD student, one of my most exciting experiences was speaking at the Glasswing Gala in New York.

Glasswing International collaborates with educational institutions to support children’s growth in high-risk regions of Latin American countries. Since I joined as a Glasswing student at the age of nine, their support has allowed me to continue improving. Through a Glasswing project, I taught English lessons at the public school I attended. By participating in their extracurricular activities during those years, I discovered my passion: languages. As a result of that, I’m currently a third-year student pursuing an English degree.

Each year, Glasswing organizes a fundraising event where an outstanding student is invited to share their story about working with Glasswing and how it changed their life. I got the chance to be that guest this year. I was asked to discuss how Glasswing played a significant role in my life and how it made it possible for me to pursue new opportunities like Global UGRAD.

When I return to my country, I will continue to volunteer with Glasswing so I can change the lives of many children. My story serves as an illustration of the positive effects that organizations working to improve academic opportunities can have on thousands of young people worldwide.”

Rejana Avdiaj from Albania at the University of Northern Iowa

Instagram account featuring the stories of international students Rejana Avdiaj has interviewed

“I teamed up with another international student at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) for an interesting project. We’re embarking on a ‘Global Adventure,’ interviewing students from different countries about their home countries and featuring them on our blog, YouTube channel, and Instagram account. Originally conceived as a school assignment for my digital advertising course, the idea took root as I contemplated how I could showcase my own culture. Being the first Albanian many in this Iowa community had met, I felt a responsibility to represent my country.

As I brainstormed content, I realized the significance of sharing cultures and decided to extend this opportunity to other international students. My primary audience was the UNI student body, and I also included other UGRADs interested in showcasing symbols of their countries, such as flags. The interviewees were primarily international students from our community, but I even had the chance to connect with UNI alumni.

Rejana Avdiaj poses with other international students and mascots at UNI

The process involved filming and editing interviews, writing blogs, and featuring the content on our website and social media platforms. This undertaking wasn’t just a task; it was a passion project that proved immensely rewarding throughout the journey.

One source of pride is the global reach of our website, evident in analytics that show views from around the world. Beyond engaging with international students, we connected with their families, cousins, and friends. The success of this project is not just measured in numbers but in the meaningful connections forged and the cultural exchange that transpired.”