IES Abroad Holds Inaugural CommunitIES Day of Service

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IES Abroad

At IES Abroad, we take the idea of community very seriously. After all, we encourage our students to dive into their communities abroad in order to immerse themselves in their local culture. This sense of global community is part of what inspired a renewed commitment to, well, the globe.

Our Global Good Commitment is multifaceted, but centers around bringing the entire IES Abroad family together as agents of change. And on October 19, 2021 we came together for the inaugural CommunitIES Day of Service, where we took time out of the work day to give back.

We had an incredible day, with more than 50 IES Abroad staff members from around the world volunteering in some capacity. Whether it was an individual endeavor, or a group effort, the sense of teamwork and togetherness was incredibly strong! Check out a few highlights below. 

CommunitIES Day at our Centers

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"We have been recycling paper and bottles at our Center for many years now, but our building has not offered a proper German recycling set-up until now. We lobbied to have a bin for plastic and packaging (in German called “Gelbe Tonne,” or yellow bin, because the bin is literally yellow), and we finally received the news last week that we will be provided with one very soon. We are really glad that our office has been able to take a step in the right direction when it comes to separating our garbage and recycling as much as possible." - Heather Ellis, IES Abroad Berlin.

Explore Berlin


"Our staff, faculty, and students held a food drive to support the work of our long-standing community partner, Centro Sant’Antonio, which runs a soup kitchen for those in need. We will also be holding a bake sale on October 27 and 28th with all proceeds going to Centro Sant’Antonio." - Elyse Resnick, IES Abroad Milan

Explore Milan


"We helped the French association ‘Les Restaurants de Coeur' distribute hygienic products and warm food to Parisians. The goal is to help people and families who do not have the means to eat properly. We helped with the distribution in the north east of Paris, as well as preparing the materials and food that were sent out by vans in the evening to several locations throughout the city." - Seth Fisher, IES Abroad Paris

Explore Paris

Quito & The Galápagos Islands

"In the city of Quito, we did a garbage cleaning at one of the capitals biggest urban parks close to the IES Abroad Center. We also invited the Center's faculty. At the Galápagos Islands, on the Island of San Cristobal, we have an extension with one staff member, Cristina, who is our Galápagos Student Affair Coordinator. Since we have currently students on the island, they have planned also some activists after the semester break, like painting a childrens’ playground and picking up garbage at the beach." - Tania Ledergerber, IES Abroad Quito

Explore Quito


"Three staff members and two students have been volunteering at Oficina Verde (University of Salamanca Environmental Section) where we helped clean and prepare their ecological urban garden. It was great to be in contact with plants and fruits! We also had the opportunity to haverst local vegetables." -Yolanda López, IES Abroad Salamanca

Explore Salamanca


"Seven staff members spent the day working with the city's Forest and Agriculture Department. We cleared protected city land of an invasive species of common milkweed to make sure that other plant species have a chance to thrive there again. We look forward to more opportunities to work with the city's department in the future, and to involving students at the next CommunitIES Day." - Kaja Ciupinska, IES Abroad Vienna

Explore Vienna

CommunitIES Day at our Chicago Office

Greater Chicago Food Depository

"Chicago staff members volunteered to repack food at the Greater Chicago Food Depository, which acts as the hub for a network of more than 700 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and other programs in Cook County. The GCFD is a member of Feeding America, the national network of food banks. During our session, we helped prepare 4,560lbs of limes, 4,404lbs of bread, and 7,470 meals." - Jody Madler, IES Abroad Chicago


"Our Adopt-a-Beach team met at 31st Street Beach in Chicago. With our own supplies in hand, we spent more than two hours picking up trash, collecting 10 full bags of garbage in total. It was a gorgeous day to give back to our community!" - Alyssa Byrne, IES Abroad Chicago


Lakeview Food Pantry

"A mighty group of nine of us volunteered Lakeview Food Pantry (LVP) for the afternoon! In addition to being a food pantry, LVP also provides mental wellness and social services to the Chicago community. Some of us worked with food, ensuring the quality of produce before it can be shared with clients, while the other half of us sorted through donations of personal care, household, baby, and pet items. We also had the chance to interact with regular LVP volunteers and staff are now all officially considered LVP volunteers should we want to pick up shifts in the future!" - Shaina Moran, IES Abroad Chicago


CommunitIES Day Throughout the United States

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Since not all our U.S. staff are in Chicago, they found their own local opportunities for giving back as well, including:

  • Created greeting cards to provide encouragement to children, families, seniors, and veterans in hospitals, schools, senior living, and rehabilitation centers through the Cardz for Kidz program
  • Cleaned up the shoreline of Boise River 
  • Distributed hygiene bags to individuals experiencing homelessness in San Francisco
  • Did pro-bono marketing for an upcoming online art auction fundraiser in support of Hope on Haven Hill, a local Rochester, New Hampshire-based organization that supports pregnant and parenting women with substance use disorders
  • Helped with road cleanup and helped film a documentary
  • Participated in Native Seed Harvesting at the Kane County Forest Preserve in Geneva, Illinois
  • Did a shift in The Hub, a volunteer-run coffee shop at the Volunteer Center of Washington County in West Bend, Wisconsin
  • Distributed cold weather supplies (a bag with hat, glove and scarf) to individuals experiencing homelessness in Chicago
  • Provided dinner for a women and children’s shelter
  • Read books to children virtually in Fulton County, Georgia through the Book Buddies Reading Program
  • Made pillowcases for deployed troops, wounded troops and caregivers, and Veteran care packages through Operation Gratitude-Sleep Tight (Pictured: Alison Wilkins, IES Abroad's Senior Manager of Financial Planning & Analysis and daughter with pillowcases they made)
IES Abroad Global Good Commitment


At IES Abroad, we know that study abroad changes lives, and changed lives change the world. To recognize and champion the work of our students, staff, and vast alumni network, the Global Good Commitment was created.

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