Announcing the 2012 Ambassadors of the Year

carolina stephen
Carolina Sanchez-Hervas Stephen Briles
IES Abroad Rome – Fall 2010 IES Abroad London – Fall 2010

IES Abroad would like to congratulate the two recipients of the inaugural 2012 Ambassador of the Year award: Carolina Sanchez-Hervas and Stephen Briles. Carolina is a Fall 2010 alumna of the Rome program and senior at Rhodes College in Memphis. Stephen is a Fall 2010 alumnus of the Study London program and senior at Indiana University in Bloomington. Acknowledged for their commitment to the promotion of study abroad as well as clear demonstration of intercultural competence, Carolina and Stephen have exceeded expectations. Both held internships while studying abroad, adapted well to the local culture, and have spent the last year volunteering for numerous IES Abroad Ambassador activities. As a thank you, the Ambassadors of the Year will receive framed award certificates as well as an invitation to the IES Abroad Annual Conference in Chicago this October, among other recognitions. 

Carolina and Stephen are part of a group of approximately 700 alumni volunteers known as IES Abroad Ambassadors. These outstanding students are selected by Center staff to become Ambassadors of the programs they recently attended. Their most significant contributions include responding to student questions via phone, email and Facebook, composing packing lists, and attending study abroad events. To be considered for the Ambassador of the Year award, a nominee must serve as an Ambassador for at least one year and submit a 2-3 page essay. This year, after reviewing 21 impressive nominations from Ambassadors at 17 US colleges and universities, it was determined that not one but two Ambassadors have displayed exemplary enthusiasm for—and growth from—study abroad.

While studying in Rome, Carolina made a lasting impression on the Center staff and the organization with which she interned, Slow Food Rome. Slow Food is an international non-profit organization that advocates for good, clean and fair food and farming policy. Over the course of her internship, Carolina visited restaurants that held Slow Food ideals, met with chefs, and collected data. She was then named the US Ambassador to Slow Food Rome and has organized Slow Food events in Memphis that involved locally sourced food. In addition to her internship, Carolina’s homestay and IES Abroad Italian-taught courses contributed greatly to her cultural immersion. Since returning, Carolina has tirelessly touted the benefits of international study at Rhodes Study Abroad Fairs, as a Rhodes International Peer Advisor, and through phoning campaigns as an IES Abroad Ambassador. She regularly responds to emails from students who contact her through the IES Abroad website, showing both her passion and maturity in these interactions. Says Carolina, “It is incredibly rewarding to know that my experience abroad can serve to improve others’ study abroad experience.” 

Stephen has shown similar fervor when it comes to sharing his experience studying with IES Abroad, stating, “I have confidence that I can take what I learned during my time abroad in London and be a leader in applying that thought process within the US. “ He supplemented his coursework in London with an internship at the Royal Academy of Arts, an independent art institution in Picadilly, London, founded in 1768. As an intern, Stephen immersed himself in the culture of the British workforce, assisting the press department in promoting upcoming exhibits. Upon returning, Stephen became an Ambassador with a level of dedication that has gone above and beyond. He took the initiative to present four info sessions about the advantages of studying abroad to his pre-law fraternity, College Democrats Club, and other classmates at Indiana University. He has also attended IU Study Abroad Fairs, moderated Facebook pages for admitted London students, and answered emails from prospective students. Conscious of the intercultural competence he has gained, Stephen declares, “London was an incredible city to learn not only British culture but several other cultures from around the world.” 

Also among the finalists for Ambassador of the Year were Heather Bayko, IES Abroad Paris (2009 Academic Year) and University of Tennessee-Knoxville alumna, and Bethany Johnson, IES Abroad Barcelona alumna (Fall 2010) and senior at University of Minnesota.

We would like to thank ALL of our Ambassadors for their volunteer efforts in support of the IES Abroad mission. 

Congratulations, Carolina and Stephen!

For a full list of current IES Abroad Ambassadors, please click here.

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