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Haley Gerlofs

Haley Gerlofs

Studying abroad in Jordan through the GVSU program did more for me than just improve my Arabic. The month I spent abroad in Amman certainly involved learning Arabic in the classroom and in everyday situations. But it was so much more, as I was put to the test every day to do simple things, which was educational and humbling.

The best and most important things I took away from my month in Jordan was my respect for the Jordanian culture. Studying in Jordan taught me to be more independent, to be more open-minded, and brought me to some of the most beautiful places on Earth.

The first step after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in international relations and a minor in Arabic was participating in an internship program through the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations in Washington, D.C. I was placed with a small organization called Arab America. I had the opportunity to attend lectures and have discussions with key players in U.S.-Arab relations from the State Department, the Arab League, various embassies, and local organizations.

After returning home from D.C., I moved to Bilbao in the Basque Country of Northern Spain for 7 months. I taught English to all ages, from 7 to 55, in local schools, after-school academies, and as a tutor. Living in the Basque Country was great for an international relations graduate, as the political and cultural history is unique.

After returning from the Basque Country, I worked for AmeriCorps VISTA in Refugee Resettlement at Bethany Christian Services. I loved putting the knowledge I learned from study abroad and at GVSU to use by helping settle refugees from across the globe. In July 2017, I accepted a long-term position with the American Red Cross as an Account Representative in Atlanta, Georgia.

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