My love for geography, culture, and languages brought me to the GLN. Over the past year, I have grown immensely professionally and personally as GLN’s Program Coordinator. I began each day with the question, “If no one culture or language is more important than the other, how can that be expressed through my contributions to the program while improving operations?” I accomplished this by drawing on my lived experiences and educational background to support GLN’s 80+ classes, thousands of students, teachers and volunteers each semester.
I used my platform as GLN’s Program Coordinator to demonstrate to others that there is no one image of an American as there is no one image of a Colombian or Kenyan or Korean. It has been my intention to learn about other cultures as much as I share about my dynamic American culture. The GLN’s mission brings together a network of highly talented and selfless givers from around the world, who I thoroughly enjoyed interacting with including tourists, immigrants, first-generation Americans and the wider community. The in-office team of volunteers impressed me each semester with their dedication, bright spirits and desire to learn. Some of my fondest memories at GLN include encouraging in-office English language learners with the same zeal that I did foreign language learners. I came to appreciate that confidence is a crucial part of the language learning experience.
I was able to improve countless professional skills and improve my spoken language skills in French while learning Arabic and Swahili for the first time. I had a great time learning outside of the GLN classroom as well. I had a blast eating American donuts, drinking Peruvian coffee, and dancing Angolan Kizomba with my GLN friends from around the world. I was fortunate to be surrounded by an open-minded and muli-cultural community during a highly divisive time in our country.
The biggest challenge during my time with GLN was our transition from in person to virtual classes at the beginning of the unexpected Coronavirus pandemic. The flexibility demonstrated by all members of the GLN to continue and conclude all Spring 2020 classes was a testament to the commitment of the in-office team, students, volunteers and teachers. The introduction of virtual and personalized learning has allowed GLN to reach even more language enthusiasts. It is a common GLN practice to ensure all challenges are met with innovative and quick solutions.
It is my hope that everyone who has worked with me has gained at least one skill from me as I have gained from them. I am grateful to the entire GLN network for trusting me to lead such a dynamic team over the last year. It is important to remember that no effort is too small as we use language as a tool to help fix our world, one person at a time.
Asante, Shukran, Medase, Merci!