My name is Madeleine Rojas and I’m from Panama. I participated in the Global UGRAD Program in 2017-2018. I remember like yesterday my first day at the American University (AU) – it was the best semester of my life. My Global UGRAD experience changed me forever! Studying abroad is not just an experience or a trip, it’s your entire life being uprooted and placed down in an entirely unfamiliar country with people you do not know but who will become your closest friends. After the program, I came back to Panama and continued my studies in International Business. I am now in Washington, D.C. again, doing an internship with The Washington Center.
Being in the American education system taught me how to go out of my comfort zone and find balance while having to focus on homework, classes, volunteering, and networking. The skills I learned during my Global UGRAD experience have helped me in my adult life. While on-program, I met people from all over the world, especially during the End-of-Program Summit. After Global UGRAD, I am inspired by people’s stories and their dreams, but most importantly how I can make a positive impact in their lives. I am now working on a project about Improving Access and Food Quality among Ngäbe Buglé School Children enrolled in the public school System in Panama. I can only say that coming to the U.S. as an international student was a life-changing experience that I will never forget.