The next generation of young global citizens believes this is more than just the world—they believe it's our world. This is especially true of our students, who are passionate about contributing to their local communities abroad through service and an action-focused attitude toward social justice.
We're thrilled to announce that Breana Ross (IES Abroad Cape Town Customized Program | University of Miami) has been named our 2018 Global Citizen of the Year for her dedicated work with students from high-need townships in South Africa. She, along with the three Finalists, embody the best of global citizenship through their desire to not just explore the world, but to give back to it through purposeful action.
Students who applied for this award represent 17 of our IES Abroad Centers worldwide. To apply, students submitted personal statements reflecting on how their experiences abroad demonstrate their global citizenship by answering the following questions:
How have you changed the world through study abroad?
How have the world and study abroad changed you?
How will you sustain or continue your impact?
Here's how to selection process works: A jury of over 30 IES Abroad staff from around the world reviewed all applications. The highest-scoring students became semi-finalists, whose applications were then reviewed by a smaller committee that selected the Winner and Finalists.
We are continuously amazed by how exceptional our students are. Read more about this year’s Global Citizen of the Year and the three finalists below, all of whom have already made—and will continue to make—their marks on the world.
“I think my experience abroad can be summed up with three main points: a passion for service brought me to South Africa, bridging my culture with others led me to have powerful experiences, and my thirst as a writer and storyteller allowed me to share those experiences with a global audience.” - Breana
Breana set out to engage in the community when she studied abroad, and she eagerly learned from the students she interacted with. What I most appreciate about her story is how she has taken what she learned about the mutual exchange of learning in South Africa to reframe her community involvement back home in the United States. Breana is inspiring and definitely deserving of the Global Citizen of the Year award.
“Leaving my beautiful, wealthy neighborhood to go to deprecated neighborhoods and learn about the realities of Buenos Aires, developing relationships with the underprivileged people and listening to their stories, having conversations with my roommate about her internship – which was about underprivileged people’s living conditions – made me think more and more about environmental justice problems that exist in Argentina, in Turkey, in the world.” - Idil
“While in China, I engaged and collaborated with local business professionals regarding company structures and operations as compared to the United States. Having the opportunity to exchange this in-person dialogue was an eye-opening experience on both ends and taught me the value of collaboration in facilitating new ideas for process improvement across cultures.” - Jeremy
“Service Learning was designed to provide moments like these – those that highlight your privilege, your obligations, and your duty as a Global Citizen to treat each human with humanity. My life ought not to be worth more than a migrant’s, and their needs and dreams do not come second to mine.” - Phoebe
After studying abroad in Christchurch, New Zealand, Mallory Rotondo (IES Abroad Christchurch, Spring 2014 | Purdue University) went on to become an early intervention speech-language pathologist. Read on to hear how this IES Abroad Scholarship recipient’s study abroad experience gave her the skills necessary to be a more understanding clinician.
Jeff Rosenthal (IES Abroad Madrid, Spring 1982), had an unforgettable experience studying abroad in Madrid, thanks in part to his warmhearted homestay mom, Señora Carmen. Jeff shares, in his own words, how he returned to Madrid to find his homestay residence was still the home he cherished and remembered.