Americans in Switzerland: Meet Gilman Scholar Dalal Orfali

Dalal came to Switzerland as a recipient of the Gilman Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. We caught up with her to learn more about her experience here and with the program.

Dalal is a communications student from the University of Illinois at Chicago studying international studies and multilateral diplomacy at World Learning’s School of International Training in Geneva. Raised in the Middle East, Dalal speaks Arabic, French, and Spanish in addition to English. She hopes to leverage Geneva’s international environment to enhance her understanding of multilateral political issues and clarify the language of diplomacy and international affairs for communications work.

From Dalal:

Dalal in Bern’s historic old town, before visiting the U.S. Embassy Bern for its Independence Day celebration.

I would highly encourage every student to do a semester abroad. Traveling to a country and living there long enough to do laundry is essential to develop a real open-minded mentality and a perspective about the new environment. I would help students who are interested in going abroad and tell them about steps I did.

“I think I realized my potential after my trip to Switzerland. I am more encouraged now to apply to big names and organizations for a career that can utilize my knowledge, my interests, and my languages all at the same time. The time I spent here made me think of new possibilities and ideas for my post graduate studies. This trip was definitely an inspiration on all aspects!

“If I could bring something back with me to the U.S., it’d be the ability to communicate in several different languages. There’s always a way to communicate –if not English, then French, and if not that then even German. It’s truly impressive.”

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program provides undergraduate students of limited financial means scholarships to study abroad, internationalizing their outlook and preparing them to thrive in the global economy. For more information, see the Gilman Scholarship’s website here.