Why We Do It Wednesday – Alex Pratt

API employees work tirelessly in the U.S. and abroad to serve our participants and ensure they have the best international experience possible. At API, we all share stories of personal transformation by international experience- we remember our first days abroad, our first meals, and our first international flights. We have these stories of transformation in common with our API alumni who study, work, intern, and teach abroad all over the world. In our new series, “Why We Do It Wednesday,” we’ll share a brief glimpse into why API employees love to work at API- through the eyes of our alumni.

This week we profile Alex Pratt, an API alum from Oklahoma State University who studied abroad in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates this past year.

Alex at the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi

Alex at the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi

“I chose to study abroad because I wanted to challenge myself in a way I had never been challenged before and I wanted to branch out and accomplish something none of my peers were even attempting. Studying abroad was an easy decision for me. I wanted to face the challenge of moving across the globe and dive into a completely different culture than I was familiar with. I chose to study abroad for an academic year rather than a semester because of the challenge. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do anything I put my mind to, and I felt that living in a foreign environment for a full academic year would give me the greatest sense of accomplishment….In my community, international experience is hard to come by. A majority of the people I know do not even have passports. Not that that is a bad thing, but it shows the lack of international experience in the community itself. I was born and raised in Kansas, and being landlocked in the exact center of the United States brings its own challenges to leaving and gaining international experience.

While I was abroad, I utilized [leadership skills, like] my creativity when deciding to spearhead a language program for exchange and local students. Nothing like it had been done at my host university [AUS], and our program was incredibly successful. We eventually had to begin turning people away because there was no longer any room where we held our meetings. Our creative marketing program that utilized posters, emails, and flyers was more successful than we hoped and we became flooded with participants. The exchange office at my host university was very excited about the program and advocated that we hand the reigns over to next years’ group of exchange students.” 

Alex at the American University of Sharjah

Alex at the American University of Sharjah

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