Nasiba Chowdhury is a recent immigrant from Bangladesh, and describes her experience growing up as being conventional and counter to her values of freedom and individualism. Her involvement in Global Potential and the opportunity she gained to travel to Haiti came after great resistance from her parents. She advocated with great passion and with the support of Global Potential to achieve her goal of traveling to Haiti. She is a recent recipient of the QuestBridge scholarship, connecting the world’s brightest low-income students to America’s best universities and opportunities. This is one step closer to her goal of becoming a medical doctor.
Katherin Jose is a senior at New Design High School in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, NYC. She joined Global Potential in January of 2015 and was selected to travel to Nicaragua during the summer. Week 6 Blog, Nicaragua by Katherin Jose: “Wow it’s here… the day I thought would never come is here; and I’m upset more than anything that I’m leaving a major part of who I am here in El Almirante. I could never consider this an experience or just part of my resume, but part of my story and who I am as a person. I got the chance to build great relationships here with the other individuals who I came here with and those who live in the community. I’ve learned, I’ve taught, I’ve grown and I’ve been challenged more than anything. Until we meet again Nicaragua, I could never forget you.”
Ruth Prophète came from Haiti to participate in an exchange and intercultural program in New York and DC as part of Global Potential’s Youth Ambassador Program – Ayiti (YAP) funded by the U.S. Department of State. My name is Ruth Prophète, 16 years old and live in cap-Haïtien. Since I was little I dreamt that I would participate in the development of my country, YAP gave me the opportunity to do so. I like to read, listen to music and adventure. My project is to help kids in my community follow their dream, explore the talent they have, and help them to move forward so that other people can discover their talents.
Brieanna Griffin is a rising senior at Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University. She is majoring in Global Studies and Anthropology, while also working towards a minor in Arabic Studies and certificates in Islamic Studies and TESOL. Last summer, Brie traveled to Stonetown, Zanzibar, where taught English at a public school through America’s Unofficial Ambassadors. She developed her teaching skills, learned about the history and practice of Islam in Zanzibar, and developed lifelong friendships with her Zanzibari students and colleagues. After graduation, Brie plans to teach English in the Arab world, and then attend graduate school. She hopes to find work in the field of diplomacy after graduate school. Click Here to Learn More.
Samantha Falvey is a New Jersey-native, and a senior at The College of New Jersey. She is studying history, as well as American Sign Language and Arabic. After graduation, she plans to start graduate school with the goal of becoming a history professor. Sammi served in Tajikistan with America’s Unofficial Ambassadors, where she taught English at the Dushanbe Boarding School and the University of Commerce. When Sammi isn’t teaching or studying, she enjoys reading on her mom’s patio, having barbecues with her family, and visiting local fairs and carnivals. Click Here to Learn More.
Alexandra Green is a sophomore at Washington College. She is originally from Collegeville, Pennsylvania. At Washington College, she is a double major in International Studies and Business Management, and a French minor. Upon graduation, Alexandra hopes to work abroad in the field of women’s empowerment. Alexandra traveled to Morocco in summer 2015 through America’s Unofficial Ambassadors’ Summer Service Internship program, where she taught French in the village of Tarmilaat, and English at the Al Akhawayn University Azrou Center for Community Development. In her free time, Alexandra enjoys running, volunteering, and participating in Model United Nations. Click Here to Learn More.
Rob Handerhan is from Woodbridge, New Jersey. He is a senior History major at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), with a specialization in the History of the Islamic World and a minor in Arabic. Rob traveled to Tajikistan in the summer 2015 with America’s Unofficial Ambassadors. Rob taught English and planned cultural events at the Bactria Cultural Center in Dushanbe, while also working at IRODA: one of the only centers for children with autism in Central Asia. Following graduation, Rob is interested in pursuing post-graduate studies, although he first hopes to travel widely and work for a non-profit organization that is committed to peace-building and cross-cultural understanding. In his spare time, Rob works to develop his Arabic and Persian language skills, and he enjoys juggling and performing with the TCNJ Circus Club. Click Here to Learn More.
Katrina Marks is a senior at Villanova University where she studies Communication, Humanities and Chinese. She comes from Kent City, Michigan and has travelled throughout Europe and China. Last summer, she interned at the Forum for African Women Educationalists in Stone Town, Zanzibar while also conducting research for her senior thesis on the collective memory of the East African Slave Trade at Christ Church Cathedral. Katrina loves to travel and to write about her experiences, and hopes to continue this after graduation by seeking a graduate program in Public History and Cultural Heritage abroad. Click Here to Learn More.
Amaris Prince is a junior studying English and Education at Guilford College. Last summer, she interned with America’s Unofficial Ambassadors in Tajikistan. Amaris worked with the Bactria Cultural Center to teach English and plan different cultural events. In her free time, Amaris enjoys singing, dancing, and working with kids. After graduation, she hopes to volunteer with the Peace Corps or earn a Fulbright Scholarship. Ultimately, she would like to work in the government or higher education to devise education policy. Click Here to Learn More.
Teresa Pichardo of New York volunteered in Ghana, where she especially enjoyed sharing her Deaf identity with deaf and deaf-blind children she met there, as well as with her hearing volunteer peers. Since her time abroad, she has been such a wonderful ambassador, sharing her volunteer abroad experiences not only with us, but also to her alma mater in New York and even at an event at the UN!
Amber Buckley-Shaklee – Eager to make a positive impact in a community overseas, Amber was selected for a Wofford Global Service Fellowship to volunteer abroad and to motivate others to follow her lead. Amber has a physical disability and used a power wheelchair to explore the community and coast of Lima.
School: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Exchange program: Volunteer abroad in Lima, Peru Disability: Muscular myopathy and epilepsy
What motivated you to want to volunteer abroad as a Wofford Fellow? – I have been very fortunate in my life and want to make a positive change in others’ lives. While I have numerous volunteer experiences domestically, I sought the opportunity to volunteer abroad to get a better understanding of international issues and to have the opportunity to work hands-on with people from other countries.
What kind of volunteer experience did you choose? – I traveled to Lima, Peru to volunteer with a senior center in a local suburb. As part of the program, we spent several days each week working with seniors at the center, preparing and serving breakfast and lunch, socializing and playing games with the seniors, and helping with upkeep at the center. On the other days, we visited seniors in their homes. This gave us the chance to check on the well-being of the seniors and to see if they needed any assistance with anything in their homes. This was probably my favorite part as it gave us the opportunity to see the community and see how and where the seniors lived. The seniors, especially those who did not have family living nearby, loved having visitors and were very welcoming, giving hugs to the volunteers every morning.
Did you use any disability-related accommodations for your exchange? – I needed several accommodations for my exchange, the most important of which were personal care attendant services, access to an accessible bedroom and bathroom, and access to accessible transportation. I worked with the exchange organization, Cross-Cultural Solutions, to arrange accommodations before I left. I received a discounted rate for my PCA and had several discussions with the organization in the US and their staff in Peru to go over the accommodations I would need. I found it was very helpful to be straightforward about everything I might need and try to arrange as much as possible before I left so there for fewer difficulties when I got to Peru.
What was it like to be a visitor to Peru with a disability? – When traveling, I just take the mindset that things will not be perfect and I have to be adaptable since countries do not have the same laws and infrastructure that we have in the U.S. Having a visible disability seemed to make an impression on the senior citizens. I don’t think they are used to seeing people with disabilities out and about as much, or maybe they don’t get volunteers with disabilities very often. They’re used to seeing people use hospital-style wheelchairs, so I got a lot of comments and questions about my power wheelchair.
Do you have a favorite memory? – Besides working with the seniors, I enjoyed being a tourist in Lima, and my favorite adventure was visiting the “Water Park.” It’s a giant park with several different types of water fountains and shows. I also loved visiting Lima’s beautiful coast.
How did your experience volunteer abroad affect you? – Volunteering gave me the opportunity to see how seniors (many of whom are impoverished) live in Peru. I also had the chance to learn a lot about the history of Peru and the widespread violence that took place in the 1980s and 1990s, which helped me appreciate what the people in Lima and throughout Peru have lived through. I think it is always important to learn about the experiences of people from different places, which is why I plan on giving presentations about my Wofford Fellowship experience at my university’s disability services and study abroad offices.
The Harris Wofford Global Service Fellowship offers individuals the unique opportunity to participate in an international volunteer service through one of several partner organizations. Cross-Cultural Solutions (CCS) partnered with Mobility International USA (MIUSA) to select Amber as a Harris Wofford Global Service Fellow.