IES Abroad’s 2013 Ambassador of the Year Returns to Granada

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Jill Kruidenier
June 24, 2014

One of our 2013 Ambassadors of the Year, Danielle Lichliter from Penn State University, put her prize to good use last month by visiting Granada, Spain, where she studied abroad in Spring 2011.

According to Center Director Dr. Javier Martínez de Velasco, “It was great to have her here. We took her out to lunch, and she came to the Center right when we were opening our student watercolor exhibit, so I was able to recognize her in front of everyone.”

We asked Danielle to share some memories of serving as an Ambassador as well as her visit to her old stomping grounds in Southern Spain.

IES Abroad: What did you enjoy most about the IES Abroad Ambassador Program?
Danielle Lichliter:
The best part about the Ambassador Program was helping calm the nerves of soon-to-be study abroad students. I understood the types of emotions they were going through, and the concerns that they had about the unknown.

Sometimes, I would just answer a few questions via email with potential students, but other times I would be able to meet in person or chat on the phone with a prospective student. Their excitement, curiosity, and eagerness always shined through, and I really felt like I was able to support them. 

IES Abroad: How did being selected as an Ambassador of the Year impact you, both personally and professionally?
DL: Being nominated as Ambassador of the Year has been a huge honor and really inspired me to continue to explore my passion for international experiences. This award has reminded me that in order to continue striving to be the best global citizen I can be, I need to frequently seek out opportunities to interact and engage with other cultures. I am looking forward to integrating this into my professional work, as well as finding personal opportunities, such as conversation partners as well. 

IES Abroad: What was it like to attend the IES Abroad Annual Conference?
Attending the IES Abroad Annual Conference [in October 2013] was incredibly inspiring, and I loved seeing how many other people are also passionate about becoming and developing global citizens. I am definitely planning on getting involved in the field of international education in the future, and this was a hugely beneficial professional experience.

IES Abroad: Tell us about your visit to Granada.
When I returned to Granada, I had the opportunity to stay with my IES Abroad host family. I feel incredibly fortunate that I was able to see [them] once again—a little piece of my heart will always be in their apartment in Granada!

When I returned to the IES Abroad Center, I was flooded with tons of wonderful memories—from dancing flamenco with my classmates to attending a clown workshop to chatting with my economics professor after class. 

Thank you, IES Abroad, for continuing to open my eyes!

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Jill Kruidenier

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