Black History Month: Celebrating OpportunitIES by Elevating Black Voices

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IES Abroad
February 1, 2024
Angela Tetty with arms out sitting on rocks

We believe it's important to celebrate and elevate Black voices all year long, and Black History Month is a reminder to not only shine a light on these important voices but to emphasize the importance of diverse perspectives, cultures, and ideas within study abroad. 

It's students like Ameer Dunston, who discovered in Cape Town that his perspective mattered beyond his home country, or Nneya Richards, who realized that study abroad opens up the world to possibilities, or Breana Ross, who explored the complexity of her identity—they are the reason we do what we do. 

Students tell it best, which is why we've collected blogs, social media posts, and more from our students making Black history abroad, so that you can experience the real life POV and behind-the-scenes look at the study abroad experience. 

✈️🤳🏾Follow the Study Abroad Journeys of Black Student Creators

Our 🌸Spring🌸 IDEA Social Media Correspondents are making the most of their semester and documenting their experiences. Follow along as they begin their semesters abroad! 


🧳Hear From Students Who Have Been There

From navigating making friends to exploring new cultures, hear from some of our students about their opportunities abroad. 

Selfie photo of a Black student wearing a fun Betty Boop Jacket in a car

"I am truly blessed to say that I was a student at Oxford, and I hope that many others in my community are able to say the same in the near future. The only way to enrich education is to saturate it in all cultures, especially the ones it derived from/exists because of. It would be a great sight to see people of all ethnicities and backgrounds sharing their experiences with each other, and I will never lose faith in seeing that day come." - Timaria H. (Howard University | Oxford Direct Enrollment - St. Catherine's College | Fall 2023 Correspondent) 

Read Timaria's Story

Sumaya Elkashif, a feminine presenting student with blonde curls stands in the streets of Buenos Aires.

"Being abroad comes with these extreme highs and extreme lows, and it's about finding which place you feel best in. And I think the base of it is finding your community, so I found people of the Afro-diaspora. I went to their Afro-french events, and I felt at home and I felt supported and protected, and I think that anywhere I go as long as I always find my Afro-community I feel like there's someone that understands me, and that supports me." (Sumaya E. | Howard University | IES Abroad Paris | Spring 2022 | Social Media Correspondent)

Watch the Trendsetters & Trailblazers Panel 

"In my time in Europe, something I was especially aware of is people's attitude towards race in Spain and Europe in comparison to the United States. As expected, I found that racism takes different forms than in the United States, however, there are consistencies in their ability to recognize racism." (Shane Y. | University of Connecticut | IES Abroad Paris | Spring 2020 | Social Media Correspondent)

Read Shane's Blog

Jordan sweet

"The many friendships I made in Milan are friendships that I will cherish forever!" Jordan S. (University of Illinois, Chicago | IES Abroad Milan | Fall 2022)

Check Out Jordan's Semester in Milan on TikTok

✨Connecting with Jannella Pérez Torres

We had the chance to chat with Jannella Pérez Torres, Howard University alumna, IES intern, and recipient of the Patricia Roberts Harris (PRH) Fellowship at Howard University. Jannella ventured abroad with us for an internship at Superacció in Barcelona, Spain. Jannella shared her thoughts on the importance of providing access to study abroad opportunities for students of color, challenges she faced, opportunities that IES Abroad and the PRH fellowship brought to her, and emphasized the potential impact of sharing these experiences for other students contemplating studying abroad. 

Jannella Perez Torres Headshot 2024
“The Patricia Roberts Harris Fellowship (PRH) is an amazing program for Howard University students who are looking to serve either domestically or internationally. The program is run by Mr. Jerome Haynesworth, who has really helped me professionally and especially in my career. Jerome was able to coordinate the stipend for 16 students to intern abroad. Usually when these students are interning abroad, they have to pay to get there. ”
Jannella Pérez Torres | IES Abroad Barcelona | Summer 2023

💻Join Us for a Virtual Panel With Our Black Correspondents & Alumni (Feb 21)

Collage of Black students

As part of our campaign, OpportunitIES: Expanding the World of Study Abroad, we're aiming to share the many opportunities that students encounter throughout their study abroad journey and encourage future students to study abroad. 

As we explore what study abroad brings to students and how it impacts their identity, join us on Wednesday, February 21st at 2pm CDT for an exciting panel, hosted by Ashley Simmons, our IES Abroad Brand Coordinator and IES Abroad Granada alum, discussing the experiences of some of our Black alumni. Here are the panelists!

Take Me to the Event Details

Our Diversity Commitment

We’re proud that our students are as diverse as the countries where they study abroad. 

It's the reason we launched our Initiative to Diversify Education Abroad (IDEA) in 2008 to make studying abroad a learning experience accessible to all students, creating a student body that reflects the diversity of both the U.S. and our college student population.

  • Through this initiative, we have developed and expanded our financial and informational resources, collaborated with new partners who join us in our dedication to diversifying education abroad, and increased the enrollment of diverse and underrepresented students in our study and intern abroad programs.
  • We have also built a legacy of partnership with Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-serving Institutions (HSIs) spanning more than 50 years, which includes generations of graduates of these schools among our 120,000+ IES Abroad alumni.
Black History Month collage of students

At IES Abroad, we appreciate leaning into the discomfort and challenge that happens at the edge of our comfort zone—a space that we know through study abroad is the perfect opportunity for growth. The reality is that even as an organization with a longstanding, concerted effort toward diversifying our work and our student body, there’s always room for growth.

Participating in Black History Month is just one of the ways IES Abroad continues its commitment to diversity. Learn more about our Diversity Commitment and explore our diversity resources
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