Study abroad is unique in that you can mold it into anything you want. Depending on your academic and professional background you can create the most spectacular program to promote your goals. Because of this mentality, I am very happy and proud of my experiences abroad, consequently, I am very thankful for the Gilman Scholarship for making this happen.
My goal is to work in global health specifically in the Middle East. I hope to work with an NGO such as World Health Organization (WHO) or United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). With this idea, I knew I had to be exposed to the culture, language, and many issues faced by millions in the Middle East. I took all these goals and turned them into accomplishments while abroad. I lived fifteen miles from the Syrian border, which was filled with both Syrian and Palestinian refugees. This allowed me to immerse in their culture and the native Jordanian culture. I became friends with everyone, learned how to haggle at the local markets, and found all the best places to eat and hang out. Ultimately, I felt like a local.
With this exposure, it really helped me practice my Arabic. Especially because many different dialects were spoken. This allowed me to speak with everyone and understand daily issues many faced in underserved areas around the country. Might it have been from fleeing war, persecution, or simply having a lack of access to health care. I listened and learned.
These newly acquired skills then allowed me to work in underserved communities all-round the Kingdom of Jordan. Since I lived in an area with a high concentration of refugees and underserved communities, there were many NGO’s from all over the globe coming into the country. Literally over 20 NGO’s within a block radius of where I lived. I instantly visited each one handing over my resume until a few reached out with positions open for me.
This landed me as a translator for foreign physicians. I would travel across the country to refugee camps and free clinics translating for a variety of specialties. I would later teach preventative medicine to local refugees in the city. These experiences have truly concreted my desire to pursue a life in global health. In addition, it has allowed me to make connections with everyone I met, all prepared to make me part of their teams.
I hope after reading this you understand that study abroad can play an essential role in your life. It can help pave the way to your dream career. I am not saying that you will not have fun because I made sure I did. Just make sure to take full advantage of your situation because you may never get another chance. As I am approaching the start of graduate school, I am so happy to be a Gilman Alumnus filled with experiences abroad. Many people are amazed and fascinated by my experience. This, of course, has given me a completive edge in my applications, making me a very unique applicant. But more importantly, it has made me a global citizen, an essential characteristic of the future leader I strive to be.