Abdessadeq, Sofiia, and Michelle met at Marymount University on August 23rd, 2016. We instantly clicked since that first day and our friendship has been flourishing ever since. Together, we got to experience what I’d call an authentic U.S. exchange experience as we shared memories not only on campus, but also while traveling along the East Coast and through the Midwest. By the end of the exchange, the three of us were adamant to reunite as soon as we could. After almost three years of regular Skype calls (this was, by the way, very challenging due to our different time zones), we managed to reunite last summer in Europe and travel to France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Spain.
Since we only had a short time we had to make the most out of our trip, so we planned everything beforehand. Our itinerary started with a classic four-day stay in the French capital before we headed to Belgium, Holland, and Normandy, to finally split in Spain in order to fly back home. The first days of our meeting felt surreal, we were overwhelmed with all the things we had to catch up on. We had countless conversations; some were serious, others were mundane. We found an ineffable joy in recalling our memorable moments as Global UGRADs with the most minute details. It was almost unbelievable how our friendship remained unblemished even after three years of being scattered all across the globe. Neither jet lag nor sore feet could hold us back from savoring each moment of our trip! We sang and babbled about all that had happened in our lives since 2016. Being together felt like home.
Our reunion was a reminder that Global UGRAD is more than an exchange program – because if it wasn’t for that semester, we would have never been able to meet the people that we proudly call best friends. We might live in diametrically opposed countries, but the multicultural atmosphere that Global UGRAD granted us has taught us values that transcend our cultural backgrounds, the distance, or even the time zone differences. Thanks to that, we manage to keep our friendship going strong and we’re looking forward to our next meeting!
Written by Abdessadeq Ourkiya (Morocco), Sofiia Pylypiuk (Ukraine), and Michelle Ceren (El Salvador), 2016-17 Global UGRAD students at Marymount University