“Global Glimpse really opened my eyes to the privilege I had living in the Bay Area – and that even though we live in totally different parts of the world, we’re still human beings with the same drive to be successful and to make the best life for our families.”
Rachel Chang grew up in Fremont, CA – a predominantly Asian-American community where she shared the same background as her classmates and friends. At the age of 16, Rachel received the opportunity to travel to León, Nicaragua on one of the first Global Glimpse trips in 2008. It was her first time traveling alone without her family and her first time traveling to a developing country. Little did she know that Global Glimpse would forever change her outlook on the world and inspire her to pursue a career in social impact.
“An amazing part of my trip was that I got to connect with people from different backgrounds, and these were students that I probably never would have interacted with before Global Glimpse… We were able to leave our contexts behind in the Bay Area and just learn about each other.”
Ten years later, Rachel thinks about her Global Glimpse trip often. The most memorable moment for her was “Living Like a Local” Day, where she spent the day with a local host family in the outskirts of León without any electricity or running water. She formed a deep connection with the matriarch of her host family and was touched by how quickly she found common ground with someone whose life looked vastly different than hers on the surface. Her delegation’s trip to el basurero – the municipal landfill where people live and work – exposed her to the dynamic connection between humans and the environment.
Rachel returned home from Nicaragua with a strong passion and desire to pursue her interests in environmental issues and social impact. She was accepted to her dream school – the University of California, Berkeley – where she studied Business Administration and Energy & Resources. She also got involved on campus and joined Net Impact Berkeley, a student-run management consulting firm specializing in social enterprises.
“Without Global Glimpse, I probably wouldn’t have thought about joining Net Impact Berkeley. Ever since my trip, I have felt this strong sense of responsibility and drive to understand deep social issues.”
As part of Net Impact, Rachel worked on a variety of projects for clients as large as Fortune 500 companies, to local nonprofits that needed support to improve their performance and sustain lasting social impact. She served as the VP of Project Development and grew into a leadership role that allowed her to source and work directly with clients to promote social good. During her senior year, Rachel became Net Impact’s President, and led a 45-person organization while spearheading major projects and managing four committees.
After graduating from UC Berkeley, Rachel’s success at Net Impact Berkeley led her to launch her career at Kiva, a platform that connects people around the world to alleviate poverty through micro-loans. She now works as a product manager on a groundbreaking initiative to support financial inclusion for millions of marginalized citizens in West Africa – a role that combines the passion and experience that Rachel learned as a Glimpser 10 years ago.
Upon reflecting on her trajectory, she realized that everything she’s been drawn to has been centered around social impact. “When I think about that one defining moment in my life, it was definitely Global Glimpse,” she says. Wanting to give back, Rachel recently joined Global Glimpse’s Bay Area Regional Leadership Council (RLC), a diverse network of cross-sector professionals who build awareness around Global Glimpse programs while also supporting program expansion, fundraising, and network development.
“As I was hitting my stride in my career, I started to reflect a little more about what brought me here, and it was definitely Global Glimpse. I really want to express my gratitude for the organization because it provided me with such an amazing experience. Thanks to Global Glimpse, I will forever have empathy and a drive for social impact engrained in me wherever I go.”
As an RLC member, Rachel now volunteers her time and resources to provide others with the same Global Glimpse experience that transformed her life when she was 16. She believes that it is vital for students from all backgrounds to have the opportunity to step out of their comfort zone and see the world, and is proud to pay it forward to the next generation of leaders.
Rachel is just one leader out of the 5,000+ Global Glimpse alumni since 2008 who have returned home and are committed to giving back to their local and global communities.
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