Our first-ever 2016 Global Citizen of the Year is Sydni Williams (University of Michigan | Madrid, Academic Year 2016-17)!
After reviewing 54 powerful, insightful, and incredible submissions from students participating in study abroad programs from 19 Centers around the world, it's time to get to know our first-ever Global Citizen of the Year Winner and Award Winners.
"When I sought out to change the lives of children who the world deems less-fortunate (I deem them to be just as fortunate as anyone else), I didn’t realize that mine would be changed too."
"My time studying abroad was the epitome of experiential education because the only way to truly learn is to be immersed in history and people and to challenge history one experience at a time."
"For me, personally, I supported the movement in terms of a fight for justice and equality. Yet at first, I did struggle to know if supported the concept of a free education, and even if that concept was possible."
"My semester abroad allowed me to travel to places that I never could have experienced without the determination of a global citizen to experience and learn from another culture."
"I learned that one does not have to be a politician to instigate change, rather one can influence through the most powerful tool, music."
Sophia Iosue (Harvard University | Vienna), Honorable Mention
"During my time in Vienna, I bypassed the news headlines, the policy changes, and international fear of the unknown. I made friends with boys who are my age, who left their families in an attempt to make something of their own future, and who are continuing to work hard to succeed in a new environment, as my Italian grandfather did just a few decades ago."
"Stand-up comedy had always been in the back of my mind as something I would like to try, but never would, because it made me too vulnerable. Living abroad inherently makes you vulnerable–it teaches you to embrace vulnerability."
The Global Citizen of the Year Award highlights the importance of cross-cultural engagement, recognizing an IES Abroad student who impacted their community abroad through academic, philanthropic or personal efforts; learned about themselves through cross-cultural interactions; and will apply, or is already applying, what they’ve learned abroad to continually bring global perspectives to their academic, social and professional interactions.
Congratulations to our Winner Sydni Williams and all of our Finalists and Honorable Mentions! Read more about our 2016 Global Citizen of the Year Winners and Award Winners, and learn how they're changing the world through study abroad.