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    Posted March 17, 2014 by
    Seattle, Washington
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Why study abroad? Ask Michelle Obama

    How Study Abroad Inspired Me to Make a Difference

    Born in Sudan, my family and I created a home in Seattle after we arrived as refugees. I am a senior at the University of Washington studying International Studies and History with concentrations in China Studies and Middle East Studies. I have lived in China for over two years and spent time in the Middle East, Europe, and other parts of East Asia. I am fluent in Tigrinya, Mandarin Chinese and English, and proficient in Arabic. I have served a number of positions in different countries, including interning in Economic Section of the US Embassy Beijing, serving as a field researcher in rural China, and a volunteer with organizations in rural Jordan.

    I look forward to attending John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies’ Master of Arts program this coming fall in order to explore my interests in Sino-Arab affairs.

    My love for study abroad and passion for all things international came from studying abroad with a Seattle-based organization called One World Now! (OWN) during high school. OWN serves predominately underprivileged high school students of color in the Seattle and Hawaii by providing language training, leadership training, and study abroad scholarships. I received a scholarship to go to China for one year. It transformed my life and the trajectory I was heading. I think the important thing about OWN’s work is that it starts with students at the high school level. Studying abroad at a young age inspired me to go to college, seek out more opportunities in college to study abroad, and be a role model for my community by being global leader.

    My vision is to seek out experiences during graduate school that will empower me to effectively be of service to my country as a Foreign Service Officer. My inspiration for service comes from my parents, who were both soldiers in the Eritrean Independence War and a deep appreciation for the opportunities I have had since arriving in the U.S.
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