Gale Workman, a professor emerita at Florida A&M University who went on her Fulbright to Canada in 2007, reflects on her service trip with Fulbright alumni to Albania.
Gale Workman has traveled to over 70 countries but she had never been to Albania. So when she saw that the Fulbright Association had an upcoming Service Corps Project in Albania, she signed up to join fellow alumni in Gjirokastra, a World Heritage Site.
Working with Cultural Heritage Without Borders, the team of Fulbright alumni was trained in restoring 400-year-old Ottoman-era buildings. They worked alongside local artisans, architects, archaeologists, mayors, religious leaders, and tradespeople.
According to Gale, “We worked very hard and our days were sometimes physically tiring, but it was always mentally energizing. We really got to know the people who live and work there… a fascinating way to experience the Albanian culture firsthand.”
“I didn’t realize how much fun it’d be to spend two weeks on this team,” Gale continued. “When you travel with fellow alumni, there is no ‘get-to-know-you’ time… you pick up immediately.”
The experience was “not like tourism of any other kind,” remarked Gale. In fact, she stayed in touch with the team’s tour guide and recently learned that, thanks to her encouragement, he was applying to U.S. colleges. “He asked me for a letter of recommendation. My experience being able to mentor him has had a real impact on his life.”
“If you like working in teams who care about making the world a better place, enjoy sharing meals an ideas with people from different cultures and want to touch the future, this is the way to do it.” Consider joining Fulbright alumni on one of our upcoming Service Tours! Visit our Travel page to learn about new trips.