San Francisco is undoubtedly one of the most photographed cities in the world, with its iconic Golden Gate Bridge or the appeal of Silicon Valley; many visitors arrive with preconceived expectations.
When I arrived at San Francisco International Airport to start my Fulbright grant, I was no different. Since then, I’ve discovered that my Fulbright grant has given me an opportunity to get to know the city better and far beyond my expectations.
My Master of Science Program in Human Resources Development at Golden Gate University is focused specifically on labor relations and conflict resolution, and my research in alternative dispute resolution methods has provided me with potential solutions for workplace conflicts. Considering the volatile labor climate in Southern Africa, my intention is to eventually apply these methods and techniques back home.
San Francisco has also proved to be an ideal host community with its rich cultural diversity and large immigrant populations. After my arrival, I was able to assimilate fairly well and soon found myself volunteering for a local photography co-op called Inks of Truth. This group aims to shed light on some of the city’s social challenges such gentrification through artistic production and community activism. I took pride in the fact that this experience allowed me to share my views as a Namibian Fulbrighter and global citizen, with like-minded community leaders and activists.
My Fulbright experiences in San Francisco have helped me to transform in many in ways both personally and professionally. Not only have I grown to better understand the American lifestyle, but I’d like to believe that I’ve also helped dispel many myths and misconceptions about Africa, such as it’s a continent filled with corrupt leaders and starving children, through interacting with fellow students and by volunteering. Lastly, my Fulbright experience at Golden Gate has reinforced how important it is to stay informed about the latest developments in my field, something I intend to continue doing long after my grant has ended.