Celebrating Trendsetters & Trailblazers this Black History Month

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IES Abroad
February 23, 2023

Last week, all of us at IES Abroad got together to discuss our commitment to being an anti-racist organization, and what that looks like in practice.

We leaned 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.

As Black History Month comes to a close, we invite you to join us in celebrating and elevating Black voices all year long, and continuing the conversations that challenge and better us and our world.

Check out some of our favorite stories from this month below, including this one from Noelle Baldwin (our very own Associate Director of Diversity Recruiting & Advising) in which she asks, “How will you look back on Black history this month, and beyond? How can that work impact our tomorrow?”

IES Abroad Colleagues Reflect on Their Experiences Abroad

At IES Abroad, we have incredible colleagues who can speak to the many ways they made Black history abroad—just like our students and alumni. Here's what they had to say:

Sumaya Elkashif in posing Paris

February 27th, 1 p.m. CST | Trailblazers & Trendsetters: Making Black History Abroad

A panel of alums join our Diversity team as they sat down over Zoom and talked about “Trailblazers & Trendsetters: Making Black History Abroad” – watch the recording.

The Power of Trusting Yourself: Traveling & Abundance

IES Abroad Brand Coordinator and Spring 2016 IES Abroad Granada alum, Ashley Simmons, reflects on her study abroad journey and travels during a solo trip to Hawai'i. Ashley remarks on the power of self-trust to help her navigate the world and welome abundance into her life and story as a Black woman. 

Noelle Baldwin headshot

My Sankofa Story: Celebrating Black History Month by Remembering the Past

Noelle Baldwin, IES Abroad Associate Director for Diversity Recruiting & Advising, curates this open letter to staff, faculty, students, and more while sharing her own thoughts on the history of Black empowerment and life. Noelle's story is a wholesome and heartfelt examination of her past, carrying the philosophy of Sankofa at the forefront for a more inclusive future. 

Jordan Sweet TikTok

Allow my study abroad experience to inspire you!

Check out IES Abroad Milan Fall 2022 Correspondent Jordan Sweet's TikTok about his experiences studying and interning – including walking in Milan Fashion Week! 

Intergenerational Black Experiences Abroad: A Celebration of Black History Month

This past dialogue focuses on the Black student experience and perspective as well the impact of study abroad on personal and professional endeavors. We hope their stories, advice, and perspectives will inspire more Black students to make study abroad a reality.

We’re proud that our students are as diverse as the countries where they study abroad. Learn more about our Initiative to Diversify Education Abroad and explore our diversity resources.

Participating in Black History Month is just one of the ways IES Abroad continues its commitment to diversity. For more than 50 years, we have partnered with Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) to educate their students all over the world through study abroad and internships. Eager to take it a step further, we formalized this commitment and launched our Take Off with IES Abroad initiative in 2017, providing dedicated tools, information, and outreach to students and their schools.

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