Employee Spotlight: Rayshauna Gray
April 4, 2014

Originally from Chicago, Rayshauna studied Philosophy and Literature at North Park University. Before joining gphomestay last year, Rayshauna oversaw the housing arrangements for over 4500 students from around the world. In her spare time, Rayshauna attends lectures and interviews thought leaders throughout New England for her blog while volunteering with Boston’s Museum of African American History and creating public awareness campaigns for legislation with the National Organization for Women.

 

1. What is your name and title?

Rayshauna Gray, Residential Manager

 

2. If you had to live the rest of your life in a place that you have never lived before, where would you live?

Iceland

 

3. What other languages do you speak?

Some French, Spanish and ASL

 

4. Please describe a time when you experienced culture shock in a funny way.

I used to run a dorm in Central Square in Cambridge, MA and I used to prepare the breakfast. One morning I had a French student, a Swiss student and a student from Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) all at one table and they were speaking French. It was just a really touching moment to see three students (with vastly different experiences) from three different cultures communicate.

 

5. What’s something about American culture that you have found others outside of America find weird?

How many of us have never left the country. And how much we like cheese. Especially being from Chicago, where the pizza has three inches of it!

 

6. If  you were a superhero, what would your super power be?

The power to speak all languages. I would translate all the books ever written and help chronicle oral traditions.

 

7. If you could travel back in time to any point in history, when and where would it be?

Probably the Romantic era when some of my favorite paintings were created. So Western Europe during the Romantic period.

 

8. Where is your family heritage from?

My family has been in the country for just under three centuries. There are some Irish cousins somewhere in there. I’m from Chicago but I have southern roots – Mississippi and Alabama to be exact.

 

9. If you could physically transport yourself to any place in the world at this moment, where would you go?

I’d go to Berlin.

 

10. If you could be instantly fluent in one language that you currently do not speak, which would it be?

German.

 

11. If you could easily visit one known planet, which one would you go to?

Jupiter. I want to go to that storm that’s been brewing for centuries.

 

12. If you could eat one food in any quantity for the rest of your life with no ill effects whatsoever, what food would you choose?

French fries

 

13. If you had to spend all of your vacations for the rest of your life in the same place, where would you go?

Chicago

 

14. Why do you like working in international education?

I grew up in an all-Black area of Chicago where we shared our cultural traditions, with relatively the same history and even though I had a rich experience growing up I knew that there was something outside of my experience. I like the idea of bridging gaps and helping people become global citizens. At 14, I signed up to go to a high school clear across the city because it was different and so diverse. My commute was 2 hours each way, but worth it. I have a heart for this because I believe in multiculturalism.

 

15. What do you think is the biggest benefit of hosting a student?

The moment you think you know everything- you’re done for. I think a lot of people host because they want a friend for their children but it encourages me when I hear about hosts who have had their lives changed by a student. I like it when they have a rich experience because of someone they invited into their home from around the world.

 

16. What do you think is the benefit of studying abroad?

I think that you never know who you are until you’re not in familiar surroundings. It tests your mettle.

 

17. If you could rule any country with any celebrity which country and what celebrity would you choose?

I would want to rule Ireland with Colin Farrell.

 

18. If you could see any three musicians in concert, who would they be?

The people that I would love to see in concert are Mahalia Jackson (http://youtu.be/PRVzOV5ZaLs), Son House (http://youtu.be/MDCNbacVt5w), and Jascha Heifetz (http://youtu.be/6q-Zqz7mNjQ)

 

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