UCM Welcomes Exchange Program Participants
Contact: Jeff Murphy
Warrensburg, MO (Nov. 15, 2013) – Adding a global perspective to the University of Central Missouri, two international students are studying on campus this fall as part of the U.S. Department of State’s Global Undergraduate Exchange Programs (Global UGRAD).
Muhammad Rizwan Awan
Muhammad Rizwan Awan is a participant in the Global UGRAD Exchange Program-Pakistan. Anton Protasov joined UCM as a participant in the Eurasia and Central Asia Program.
The Global UGRAD Program-Pakistan builds the capacity of a diverse group of youth leaders from underserved populations across Pakistan. Through U.S.-based training and practical experience in leadership positions, community engagement, and in their professional fields, undergraduate students gain the skills needed to implement long-term civic and economic changes in their communities, building stability through increased local capacity and cross-cultural understanding.
Through semester-long programs of study, exploration of U.S. culture, and integration into American communities, Global UGRAD-Pakistan students develop a broad nuanced understanding of U.S. values and become citizen ambassadors who support expanded diplomatic and development partnerships.
In addition to their academic studies, the students from Pakistan perform community service and explore American traditions through the unique Cultural Passport to America program. While interacting with Americans in the community and on campus, these students also develop a more well-rounded perception of American culture. They go on to share their understanding of the U.S. with friends, family and others in their communities back home. These students also become “ambassadors” for Pakistan giving presentations about their home country and culture as at local schools, Rotary clubs, homes for the elderly, and other locations, reaching thousands of Americans each year.
“Since we are living in a technologically well-knit and globally connected world, it therefore had been my passion to interact with the people of different cultures, backgrounds, inspirations and aspirations as well. For me, it is a lifetime achievement to be selected as a participant of Global UGRAD-Pakistan,” Awan said. “UCM provided me various opportunities of social activities and sports to get involved within. There is a lot of cultural diversity and different fabric of living society which can only be observed after getting mixed with the international student including the Americans. I am also grateful to my host family for their cooperation, courtesy, hospitality and generosity. Because of them I experienced American family values and living style."
Featuring many similarities to the program for Pakistan students, the Global UGRAD Program in Eurasia and Central Asia advances youth leadership and promotes mutual understanding by providing either one semester or one year of non-degree U.S. study to undergraduates from 12 countries of the former Soviet Union. In addition to their academic studies, these Global UGRAD participants also perform community service, explore American traditions through the Cultural Passport to America program, and gain professional experience.
The Global UGRAD Programs are highly competitive, averaging 3,000 applications per year with a 5 percent acceptance rate. They are programs within the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and are administered by the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX). Since 1992, nearly 4,000 participants have completed the program, increasing diversity on more than 140 campuses through the continental United States, Alaska and Hawaii.