When Thin Nadi San, from Myanmar, arrived in Texas at the start of the fall semester to attend the University of Houston-Victoria as part of a federal exchange program, it was almost like an experience out of the country. body.
“It was my first time in the United States and I thought it was a dream,” San said. “I almost couldn’t believe I was here and going to study here in Texas. Being here alone is a great opportunity for me.
The university hosted three exchange students from different countries as part of the Global Undergraduate Exchange Program, also known as the UGRAD Global Program. The program is sponsored by the United States Department of State with funding provided by the United States government and is administered by World Learning, an organization that focuses on international development through education, sustainability and development programs. exchange. For fall 2021, the UHV welcomed students from the Dominican Republic, Montenegro and Myanmar.
The UHV has been welcoming students from the UGRAD Pakistan program since spring 2017, and this is the second time that the university has welcomed students from the Global UGRAD program. The last time the UHV hosted students in the programs was in 2019. Due to the pandemic, the UHV did not welcome UGRAD exchange students in 2020.
In addition to welcoming students for fall 2021, the university will host three students from Global UGRAD World Learning and one student from UGRAD Pakistan for spring 2022, said Ludmi Herath, director of international programs at UHV. .
“It’s amazing to have students from the Global UGRAD program,” Herath said. “The UHV has welcomed many amazing students over the years. Not only do these students defend their country while in the United States, but they automatically become UHV defenders in their home country.
Students in the UHV program spend one semester at the university. While at UHV, students take classes, volunteer and participate in student activities.
Thin Nadi San
San, a business management student, said she found out about the program through a classmate from her home country. While at UHV, San was able to learn about the differences between higher education in the United States, such as the ability to choose some of his courses and create his own class schedule and one-on-one tutoring. She was able to hone her time management skills as well as work on her communication skills.
Being part of the Global UGRAD partner has opened her eyes to different experiences in education and will help her in her professional career, she said. San plans to pursue a master’s degree in commerce and create a volunteer program. She is also ready to study again in the United States.
As an introvert, studying abroad has helped her come out of her shell. It also helped that most people in the United States were friendly and helpful, she said. She enjoyed meeting students and people from all walks of life and different cultures, and learning and understanding these different cultures.
“This program boosted my self-confidence and helped me become more independent,” San said. “I got to come here and see what I was capable of while traveling, which is one of my hobbies. I can go home and be more confident. I feel like I’ll be different when I get home after this. Now I won’t be afraid to try other new things.
Erinson De Lana De Los Santos
Erinson De Lana De Los Santos from the Dominican Republic will complete his studies in Physical Education after completing his time in the Global UGRAD program at UHV. It was also his first trip to the United States. Studying at UHV and learning different perspectives on education – especially physical education and public speaking – has been a great experience, he said.
Being part of the program at UHV helped him find new interests, such as flag football, a sport he learned and played during his time at UHV. He also enjoyed participating in student activities on campus, which also helped him meet more people. Studying in the United States also gives De Lana De Los Santos the opportunity to improve his English skills, he said.
De Lana De Los Santos obtained her degree in physical education before studying at UHV under the Global UGRAD program. He would like to share his Global UGRAD experience to help encourage students to apply and develop their knowledge and skills. He would also like to create a program for children to help them train them well in sports and recreation.
“Being here has helped me in my personal development,” he said. “You have to do so much on your own and challenge yourself to grow as a person and gain independence. Due to traveling, learning about other cultures and making friendships, I can say it has been the best experience of my life.
For Martina Mickovic from Montenegro, the opportunity to travel to the United States has been the dream of a lifetime. The English major first heard about the Global UGRAD program from her teacher, who encouraged Mickovic to apply. She was more than happy to be accepted into the program, she said. When she found out that she would be placed at UHV for a semester, she immediately researched the university, Victoria and the area.
Texas was a great place to start a visit to the United States because there are so many different cultures in the state, she said. Being in Victoria was also a good thing because the university was not too big which she liked because the size of the city was also not very big and reminded her of her home. The folks at the university and in Victoria were also very nice and kind, which made it easier to adapt.
While at UHV, Mickovic was able to work on her public speaking skills, which she struggled with due to anxiety. She was also able to work on her English, one of the four languages she speaks in addition to Italian, Russian and Montenegrin, the language of Montenegro. Upon her return home, she plans to pursue a master’s degree which will help her write. Mickovic enjoys writing poetry and short stories and would like to one day teach at a university. Being at UHV helped her hone her writing skills, she said.
“The cultural exchange here is a great opportunity for anyone who wants to learn and experience different cultures,” said Mickovic. “I really enjoyed my stay here.
The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in schools of the arts and sciences; Business Administration; and Education, health professions and human development. UHV offers face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an education site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to raise awareness of state colleges and universities and the important role they play in providing high quality education and accessible to an increasingly diverse student body, as well as contributing to the economic and development of the state.