Honoring Immigrant Heritage Month at IES Abroad

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IES Abroad
June 14, 2021

June is Immigrant Heritage Month, and at IES Abroad we work to weave the stories of immigrants and their experiences throughout what we do as an organization. Chicago, where our main office is headquartered, is home to a diverse population of immigrants from all over the world. And while there are many benefits to living in a more diverse community—international food, museums, cultural festivals, and, most importantly, points of view—we also see the unique challenges these communities face, from discrimination and xenophobia to violence. 

As global educators, it's our duty to incorporate support and resources for immigrant and first-generation students into our work. We create programming and coursework specifically focused on immigration, publish the stories of student bloggers who come from immigrant families, and offer robust scholarship and aid that helps make study abroad an accessible reality for everyone. This month we wanted to highlight and celebrate these efforts, and inspire each of us to think about the incredible ways that immigrants have contributed to our communities and our culture.

Whether it's amplifying the viewpoints and stories of immigrants, or looking at the benefits of immigration on a global scale, we see the power in appreciating and celebrating a diverse array of experiences both at home and abroad. After all, we are educating future global leaders, and we know those leaders will have a vested interest in protecting and promoting all of the cultures of the world. 


Thoughts from Our Students

Grace and Guilt in Studying Abroad

"I know my parents are supportive, I just know they would have never dreamed of this. Their dreams are a little different and I know they are living through me but coming here just motivates me, even more, to give them the world. I just had to go see it for myself."

Raisa Haque, (IES Abroad Barcelona, Fall 2018 | University of the Pacific)

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Predeparture thoughts from a callejera

"My dad had joked, 'Vanessa anda con pata de perro.' The literal translation is 'Vanessa goes around with a foot of a dog.' Colloquially, it means 'someone that is always wandering on the world,' thus my dad recognizes my love and need to travel."

Vanessa Morales (IES Abroad Berlin, Spring 2018 | Haverford College)

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Being a Sojourner in Granada

"During the first day of my Anthropology of Migration class at the University of Granada, my professor asked us what it meant to be an immigrant in Spain. During this class we discussed the difference between a migrant, an immigrant, a foreigner, and a tourist."

Andie Ayala (IES Abroad Granada, Spring 2018 | Princeton University)


How Yazmin studied immigration in two continents

Our 2019 Global Citizen of the Year award winner, Yazmin Baptiste, explored immigration in not one but two IES Abroad programs. In Rabat and Rome, Yazmin was able to work with immigrants and refugees through Foundation Orient-Occident. It was an experience that allowed her to broaden her U.S.-centric idea of immigration and see the real-world implications of concepts she had studied in the classroom. 

Read More About Yazmin

How Christian decided to do an international internship

During his senior year, first-generation Latinx student Christian Canizal decided to do an internship in Barcelona. In an interview with Hernando Sevilla-Garcia, Senior Diversity Relations Manager at IES Abroad, Christian talked about the benefits of doing an international internship, how his "Why not?" motto defined his senior year of college, and how he got his parents on board with the idea of interning in Spain.

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Incorporating Immigration Studies into Coursework

Due to the cross-cultural nature of our academic programs, there are so many courses that address the topic of immigration. From using a historical lens to view shifting immigration trends over time, to a political science focus on the power dynamics at play with immigration policy, below is just a selection of some of that coursework, and the programs that highlight these topics.

Nice, France

The Business, Sustainabilty & Immigration Program uses Nice's position as an intersection of commerce and culture to examine the rapidly changing dynamics of the Mediterannean. Course offerings include International and Intercultural Management and Immigration in the Mediterranean Basin.

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Granada, Spain

Our program in Granada explores the intersection of European and Arabic cultures. Course offerings include Spain and the International Economic Institutions and Democracy, Gender and Multiculturalism. There's even a field trip to Morocco (depending on the term) that focuses on expanding the themes of multiculturalism and immigration in a real-world setting. 

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Rome, Italy

In Rome, there are a variety of programs that look at immigration in the Italian capital city. The Sociology & Religion program in particular has a diverse and fascinating breadth of courses offered, including Valuing Diversity? Italian Contemporary Immigration and Integration Policies and The Wall: Borders, Violence and Separation in the Contemporary World.

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“It was interesting to see how the civil society in Morocco works so differently from the nonprofit organizations in America, and how different countries with different cultures tried to manage the same problem.”
Yazmin Baptiste, 2019 Global Citizen of the Year

Explore more of our programs by area of study, check out our resources for first-generation students, and learn more about our scholarship and aid offerings.

IES Abroad News

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IES Abroad regularly publishes news stories, articles, student stories, and other helpful study abroad content. Stay up to date on the latest from IES Abroad by reading our recent posts.

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