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GSA Voices videos showcase study abroad highlights

A filmmaker’s documentation of her year abroad in Egypt and a Fulbright teaching assistant’s rap about his time in Turkey clinched the two winning places in this year’s IIE Generation Study Abroad Voices video challenge.

Generation Study Abroad Voices competition winner Colette Ghunim's video documented her year of study abroad in Cairo, Egypt.

"In my first semester of study abroad I learned more about myself and the world than in all the other years combined"

The second annual competition held by IIE in partnership with the New York Times aimed to highlight how studying abroad has benefited students, as part of IIE’s five-year initiative to double the number of US students studying abroad.

“You represent what is the finest of our country and a hope for the world we share”

Colette Ghunim, who received a Gilman Scholarship to spend a year at the American University in Cairo, explained how during her time abroad she created videos for a third grade classroom in New York, acting as a travel correspondent for a youth education organisation.

“By engaging with youth that were eager to learn about the region and culture, I was also forced to reflect on my study abroad experience on a much deeper level,” she said.

Ghunim’s video also outlines how her daily experience of sexual harassment in Cairo inspired her to return to Egypt after graduating create to her first documentary, ‘The People’s Girls’.

And Devin Sommer’s rap documents how the Gilman and Fulbright programmes opened up opportunities that he didn’t expect to have as a student, having spent his freshman year waiting tables to put money towards his rising student loan.

The two award winners with IIE's Allan Goodman.

The two award winners with IIE’s Allan Goodman.

“In my first semester of study abroad in Turkey I learned more about myself, the world and my place in it than I did in all the other years combined… and I think future generations will have a similar experience,” Sommer said.

In the video, he raps: “Navigating language is a world to uncover; didn’t really know my mother tongue until I learned another.”

Presenting the awards at the GSA Summit in Washington, DC last week, IIE president Allan Goodman summed up the goal of the initiative: “Generation Study Abroad is aiming to make a statement about the world we share and the America that the rest of world ought to see.”

“You represent what is the finest of our country and a hope for the world we share,” he told the winners.

The two winners took home $1,000 and an iPad, as well as being invited to the GSA Summit as official Generation Study Abroad Voices.

See the winning videos and runners-up here.

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