Huckabee-Washington Reflects on Gilman Experience
Huckabee-Washington Reflects on Gilman Experience
By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager
Cheryl Huckabee-Washington recently reflected on her experience in Barcelona after earning the study abroad opportunity through the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship program.
The Q&A below is part of the follow project report required by the interns in the Gilman program.
My responsibilities took on new and exciting directions. My duties mimicked a very fruitful collaboration with the CEO of a newly developed App to assist business with Executive Recruitments and Event Planning. I began with conducting a SWOT analysis which served as a roadmap to carefully craft various quality controls techniques which would help put the product in the marketplace a with greater success and minimal risk.
We conducted focus groups of the product’s viability and tweaked the App as needed for a more International functioning appeal and usage.
I found an assistant to train and help with the office Admin duties while the CEO was concentrating on outside marketing opportunities.
Worked on presentation to pitch App to the EU leaders and businesses.
What did you enjoy most about the experience?
I really enjoyed the energies of working within an incubator with such diverse and driven entrepreneurs. So my experiences transcended more than just my particular focus and objectives. There were opportunities to collectively interact with others in a collaborative manner since breaks are most common place in their work culture.
What advice would you have for others pursuing a Gilman scholarship or other study-abroad opportunities? Particularly for a non-traditional student?
The Gilman will provide an epic opportunity to the non-traditional students who maybe are retraining or retooling to keep pace with the current International competitive marketplaces. It can be a real game changer for one’s career directions.
The support from the Gilman Scholarship team is excellent. The fact that Gilman identifies and supports students from the diverse pool of our country’s citizens speaks volumes to the intent of facilitating the growth of our nation’s commitment to international collaboration both culturally and economically.
What was your impression of Barcelona? What did you enjoy most about the city? What was most challenging?
Barcelona is an exquisitely magical and beautiful city. The weather in the fall and winter was just great. Barcelona is on the Mediterranean coast. I lived only 2 blocks from the beach. The architecture just amazing -- Antoni Gaudi impressive works are viewable around the city. Barcelona is very vibrate, alive with events, (I saw Madonna in concert), music and nightlife such as a Flamingo Dancer’s show, Tapas bars, oh how authentic. The art and culture there is full bodied, I went to museums and saw works from Picasso and Dali. I took a cooking class to learn how to make seafood paella which included shopping for the ingredients.
Health care was excellent and better structured in cost. Some of our prescription drugs are over the counter and much cheaper there, however, many were manufactured by the U.S. pharmaceutical companies I found that most interesting.
No personal firearms allowed -- makes a difference in crimes which have hand guns. Downside is the many pickpockets; they have a certain acceptance which I found unacceptable.
What was your impression of the Barcelona/Spanish culture?
There are many types of people from various cultures around the world who are wonderful, inviting and accepting not just the Spanish or native Catalonians. So much universal acceptance of lifestyle choices, open displays of affection not in an offensive manner. Barcelona has very impressive environmental policies which all citizens gladly participates in so it is very clean. There are the Spanish culture and the Catalan culture which is more unique to Barcelona. The dynamics of the history and co-existing of the two nationalities are very interesting.
What were some of your biggest takeways from the experience? Did you make some business connections? Will you be going back or doing more traveling in general?
My greatest takeaway was how glad I was that I applied for the Gilman Scholarship and was selected. As a non-traditional student it took a tremendous effort to clear my scheduled at home, business, civic, and personal responsibilities to go. I was the only intern which still had course work to complete I was doing my Capstone class also working back at home remotely.
Yes, I did manage to secure some working partnership which I am fostering now that I am back for the future and I am so absolutely thrilled about the possibilities of continued working partnerships.
Yes, I will go back, my home placement also secured a great mutual friendship so I would want to visit her and my many other wonderful people who just open up their hearts, and homes to me. Also I have invited them to come to the U. S. and visit with my family and me.
Glad to be back?
Yes, there is no place like home, however, home can also be where one heart is and the heart can hold many special places for wonderful experiences past, present and future personally and professionally.
Thank you Gilman, Bellevue, and BarcelonaSAE