Melissa Eljamel, YFU USA National Volunteer Advisory Council Great Lakes Region “At Large” Representative is passionate about exploring cultures and sharing her own mixed heritage. She has hosted three students and been an area representative since 2011.
Michigan – Great Lakes Region
"At Large" Representative
Born into a family of recent immigrants (her paternal grandparents fled the Russian pogroms in the 19th century and her mom emigrated from Germany after WWII), Melissa is passionate about exploring cultures and sharing her own mixed heritage. At Middlebury College, she majored in German and Literary Studies and studied abroad in Mainz, Germany. Upon graduation, she lived overseas, first as an au pair, then as an intern at a publishing company, a program coordinator assistant for an international professional exchange organization, and later a business manager for a software company. In Germany she also continued her own cross-cultural education, befriending many in the Arab community and ultimately marrying a Palestinian student.
After six years in Germany, she returned to the US and worked as a project coordinator for Harvard Translations Agency in Boston. She completed a Masters in Higher Education Administration at the University of Michigan (UM), and has worked there since 1995. While at the UM, Melissa has helped international students navigate the American healthcare system, directed study abroad programs, taught modules on cross-cultural communication, and led a group of students to Morocco.
Her hobbies and volunteer work also focus on cross-cultural understanding. She has been an ESL and German language instructor/tutor, organized community of cultures days at her children’s school, learned Arabic, and is deeply involved in YFU. She has hosted three students and been an area representative since 2011. Melissa’s other YFU roles include orientation volunteer, international student profile writer, outbound student interviewer, YES Cluster Leader, and BUBW chaperone.
She lives in Ann Arbor with her husband, Akram, daughter Mekarem (21) and son Khalil (17).