Steven Richardson graduated in 2016 with a major in International Relations.
I currently work at Youth For Understanding USA (YFU) in Washington, D.C. as a travel assistance coordinator. YFU USA is a non-profit international educational organization with partners in more than 60 different countries. Interestingly, YFU was founded in Michigan following World War II to bring teenagers from war-torn Germany to the United States to live with a family and attend high school for a year. By teaching a group of young people how families lived together in the United States, the hope was that they would be motivated to go back to Germany and rebuild the country as a democracy.
In this position, I manage all students, both foreign and American, who travel through the Chicago region on their way to host families or back home. On any given day, there may be up to 90 students connecting through the airport. I also manage all remote staff who assist the students inside the airport.
My GVSU degree has undoubtedly prepared me for this job. Since we work with 60 different partner countries (i.e. YFU Denmark, YFU Japan, etc.), I have been able to apply my cultural and political knowledge and language skills. Outside of my formal role as a travel coordinator, I have been asked to help translate German student profiles, and discussed ways to promote travel to less-popular countries such has Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. I even apply what I learned at GVSU in my personal interactions with the highly diverse population of Washington, D.C. on a daily basis.
I am forever indebted to the professors who have instilled within me a passion for understanding other parts of the world. Now, I am able to help young individuals from around the world have the opportunity as well.
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