On my way to Denmark from France, while planning a reunion in the United Kingdom with my American friend for the following year, I had a carpe diem moment: I felt how incredibly beautiful it is to be able to study abroad and explore the world and its diversity.
To study abroad is a luxury indeed if we take into account the financial resources one needs to have in order pursue this dream. But, for the distinguished talents and passionate visionaries, there are scholarships which turn their study abroad dream into reality. I’ve been one of the lucky ones and my international voyage started from the Global UGRAD Program.
Global UGRAD gave me skills and tools which helped me to succeed in my career and education. After Global UGRAD, I was awarded with prestigious and competitive international scholarships from the British Council and the European Commission. The British Council’s scholarship nominated me among world’s top 100 most talented student journalists and gave me the chance to attend the Future News Worldwide conference at the Scottish Parliament. At the conference I was able to receive exclusive coaching from editors and publishers from the world’s leading media organizations such as Google News Lab, Facebook, CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera and Reuters. The European Commission’s scholarship fully funded my master’s studies in Denmark and the United Kingdom. Now I am spending my first year of my masters in Denmark, studying Journalism, Media, and Globalization at Aarhus University and the Danish School of Journalism and Media (DMJX). Next year onwards I will continue my studies at Swansea University in the UK studying a War and Conflicts Reporting specialization. I don’t think all of this would be possible for me to do without my Global UGRAD experience.
Two years have passed since Global UGRAD, and I still remember everything as it was yesterday; the first time landing in the U.S. and visiting Pittsburg State University. I remember my first time seeing my dorm room and the thrill of being able to live on campus and experience American college life. I remember my first time seeing the squirrels running freely on a green lawn in the university park while heading to lectures. I remember my first time attending inspiring lectures from my American professors. I remember attending an international students’ gathering at Pittsburg State University, when for the first time in my life I understood what it feels like to be a part of the world. I remember the kindness of the American people and their free spirit.
Global UGRAD taught me how to be an independent, open-minded, global thinker. Global UGRAD taught me to take risks and to follow my dreams, even if I am facing lots of obstacles. Global UGRAD taught me that each human being is unique and everything is possible if he/she works hard for it and never gives up. Global UGRAD gave me friends from different parts of the globe. Global UGRAD showed me how beautiful the world is!
Thus, I want to thank the U.S. Department of State, World Learning, and the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia, for giving me the opportunity to become a Global UGRAD.
No matter where the life will take me, I’ll always be a UGRAD. Once a UGRAD, always a UGRAD!
Written by Salome Pkhaladze, Georgia, a 2015-2016 Global UGRAD student at Pittsburg State University