End of Program Workshop: Fall 2023

World Learning hosted the fall 2023 Global UGRAD End of Program Workshop from November 8 to 11 in Washington, D.C. The event saw 145 Global UGRAD students from 51 countries participate in an event that is not only the highlight of the semester but also a uniquely UGRAD experience.

Students participate in a team-building activity during one of Si Norton’s leadership sessions.

Workshop sessions began on Thursday, November 9. Following insightful opening remarks from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and World Learning, as well as fun icebreaker activities led by workshop facilitator, Si Norton, students learned about different leadership styles and engaged in interactive activities to identify and hone their leadership skills. In the Exchange Alumni information session, students learned about the opportunities available to them through the robust alumni network managed by the U.S. Department of State. The final sessions of the day were smaller, interactive breakout sessions on the topics of personal branding, fundraising, and emotional intelligence. Each session provided unique learning opportunities for students, and they gained valuable skills that will be utilized upon their return to their home countries.

Students pose in front of the Capitol Building during the D.C. Monuments Bus Tour.

Following a busy first day of workshop sessions, students were able to explore Washington, D.C. on a bus tour of the city. The bus tour visited famous landmarks 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. Accompanied by World Learning staff, as well as professional D.C. tour guides who presented countless interesting facts and stories, students learned about the nation’s capital and documented their enjoyment through numerous pictures at each monument and memorial.

The second day kicked off with an impactful presentation on diversity, equity, inclusion, and access (known as DEIA+). Student engagement was evident through their numerous questions and points of discussion. Day two also featured additional concurrent breakout sessions on mentorship and networking, public speaking, inclusive project design for community development, and project management strategies. To close out the programming for the day, students participated in interactive sessions on community mapping, action planning, and reverse culture shock. Students connected deeply with the latter topic, as this unique reaction is something many of them may experience upon their return home.

Cambodian students play and dance to the Khmer flute during Take the Stage.

The workshop concluded with a closing dinner, featuring a presentation of the winners of the photo contest and the “Take the Stage” event. “Take the Stage” is a celebratory performance of song, dance, poetry, and fashion that allows students to showcase their cultures, countries, and personal talents. Eleven countries were represented through group or individual performances. The vast majority of students, whether performing or not, dressed in traditional attire and enjoyed sharing stories and photos. Students enthusiastically cheered performers on, and almost every performance turned into an auditorium-filling dance party!

Students dance during Take the Stage.

Throughout the workshop, students not only strengthened their professional skills but built camaraderie with their fellow UGRADs. Following this once-in-a-lifetime cultural and professional experience, students will return to their home countries with broadened skillsets, unforgettable memories, and many more connections around the world.