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Meet our Global Citizen of the Year Awardees who are changing the world through study abroad in their own unique ways—from living a zero-waste lifestyle to educating students in low-income communities.

headshot of yesenia ayala

2017 Global Citizen of the Year Award Winner

IES Abroad Santiago | Grinnell College

As a first-generation college student, Yesenia Ayala understands the barriers that many low-income students face when pursuing higher education.

While in Santiago, Yesenia interned with Belén Educa, a Chilean non-profit organization that serves low-income communities by providing high-quality education to students. Learn more of Yesenia's personal experiences in the United States and abroad, as well as her plans for furthering her impact.

I strongly believe that working with communities creates a bigger impact than working for them. 

Yesenia Ayala, 2017 Global Citizen of the Year Award Winner
2017 Finalists
kathleen blehl headshot

"The Influencer"
IES Abroad Milan
Villanova University

Dayna Mathew headshot

"The Advocate"
IES Abroad London
Loyola University Chicago

Marie Salem headshot

"The Volunteer"
Buenos Aires
University of California - Berkeley

Lucy Sternbach headshot

"The Storyteller"
IES Abroad Granada
Yale University

Will Turett headshot

"The Researcher"
IES Abroad Vienna
Williams College

I plan to continue to advocate for our youth around the world and teach them that with determination, effort, and compassion they can be anything despite all doubt that they have experienced in the past.

Sydni Williams, 2016 Global Citizen of the Year
Sydni Williams headshot

2016 Global Citizen of the Year Award Winner

IES Abroad Madrid | University of Michigan

From Detroit to Madrid, Sydni followed her commitment to improve youth education around the world. Discover how her internship with the Social Services Center of Los Yébenes in Spain reinvigorated her passion – one which inspired us a student-focused, mission-driven, organization. 

2016 Finalists
Hannah Dallman smiling abroad

"The Educator"
IES Abroad Cape Town
Gettysburg College

John Luke Hawkins headshot

"The Activist"
IES Abroad Cape Town
Hope College

Reed Foster posing in nature abroad

"The Anthropologist"
IES Abroad Buenos Aires
Occidental College

2016 Honorable Mentions
Ileana Exaras headshot

"The Musician"
IES Abroad Vienna
Lehigh University

Sophia Iosue headshot

"The Volunteer"
IES Abroad Vienna
Harvard University

Alice Woods headshot

"The Advocate"
IES Abroad Cape Town
University of Miami